"Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a complex neurological condition that impairs the functional skills of 1 in 20 children."
Sensory Processing Disorder is when the brain filters, organises and processes information taken in through the senses differently to what is typically expected. This causes the reaction in a person with SPD to not be as expected.
Some children with SPD are labelled as "the naughty child", "the fidgeter" or "the child that can't keep still". Other children who have SPD, but can go under the radar, are known as "the floppy child" or "the child with low energy".
There are the 5 senses that we are all know - Olfactory (Smell); Auditory (Hearing); Gustatory (Taste); Tactile (Touch); and Visual (Sight).
Plus there are another 3 internal senses - Proprioception (Body awareness); Vestibular (Balance) and Interoception (Internal sense that tells you if you are hungry, need to go to the toilet or if you are feeling hot or cold)
We all have days where we are overwhelmed and don't cope well with information that we take in through our senses. If however any of the above is affecting the way a child copes with everyday life then seeking a diagnosis from a professional such as a Paediatrician or Occupational Therapist may be your next step.
Strategies that help children with Sensory Processing Disorder involve helping to provide the sensory input they need to calm their central nervous system. In particular activities that use their proprioceptive and vestibular senses can be very powerful.
Proprioceptive sensory receptors are located within the inner ear, joints and muscles. These receptors send information to the brain through the central nervous system to let the brain know where the body is in space. Activities that involve pulling, pushing or stretching muscles and joints can provide a calming affect on the child.
Vestibular receptors are located in the semicircular canals of the inner ear and detect rotational movement. Gentle back and forth movement are calming such as rocking, swaying and swinging. While spinning round and round is alerting.
There are so many wonderful activities that are easy to integrate into a child's life that help make their day go smoother. I have created a downloadable PDF so that you can print it out. There are activities for school that teachers can implement and for home.
Staying calm and regulated can help all children get through their day but it is particularly important to a child with Sensory Processing Disorder. Here are 35 fun activities that can be used in the classroom and at home.
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Download our free guide to help make mornings, afternoons or school days easier for you and your child. These activities are easy to implement and will help your day go smoother.