Children with sensory processing difficulties often benefit from the implementation of a sensory diet, specifically chosen to meet their needs. Specifically chosen activities are incorporated throughout the day to help regulate their nervous system and therefore their behavior, focus and attention. We all use sensory strategies to help ourselves regulate. We may do something with:
*our body (aerobics, running, dancing, yoga)
*or our hands (stress ball, knitting, doodling)
*or our mouths (eating, chewing gum, drinking)
*or our ears (listen to music or a fountain)
*or our eyes (wear favorite colors, watch an aquarium or running water).
Some sensory diets are very systematic, while others are more flexible. It often takes some experimentation and detective work to discover what works best for you child. For example, one child we worked appeared to do just fine in school, however by the end of the morning her sensory system was overloaded and she but tended to fall apart the minute her mother arrived to pick her up. Her mother was successful in heading off explosions by 1) having a starburst to give her daughter if needed for the walk to the car, 2) having a chewy snack and a drink with a straw waiting in the car, 3) using headphones with a Therapeutic Listening CD (for modulation) in the car on the trip home, and 4) allowing some ‘nesting’ time at home, with blankets, pillows, etc. while looking at books or watching a tape. Before school and later in the afternoon, physical activities providing proprioceptive input were used ( ie jumping on mini tramp or hoppity ball, digging in garden, playing with bop-it bag, etc.).