These tips are simple, easy to adopt, and require little to no financial investment. What’s more, each one presents an opportunity to have fun and connect with your sensory child. But first, let’s take a look at SPD and how it affects people.
What is SPD?
SPD is a condition that often affects children with learning and processing challenges. Your child might have SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) as well as autism, ADHD, or Asperger’s. Sensory processing is when your nervous system gets messages from your senses: sight, touch, smell, sound, and taste. But with SPD, the messages can be overstimulating or understimulating. So the individual with SPD might overreact or not react at all.
Symptoms of SPD might include:
If your child has SPD, their affected senses might include taste, smell, touch, sight, sound, spatial orientation, hunger and thirst, and joint or muscle movement.
Whatever their particular challenge, these five tips can help you reduce sensory sensitivity in your child.
How to Reduce Sensory Sensitivity
A sensory integration exercise is a task that helps children comfortably engage their environment. This might be a game or toy, like a fidget toy, or a physical exercise.
Certain physical activity helps reduce sensory sensitivity, especially:
Heavy lifting - It might sound funny, but heavy work activities like lifting stacks of books, digging and raking in the garden, and pushing a wheelbarrow can help kids with proprioception challenges–the ability to sense location, action, and movement.
Balancing and Jumping - A big or little trampoline, a playground seesaw, or a fun rocking toy can all help children with vestibular challenges–the ability to sense gravity and balance.
Free Play for Tactile Processing
Free play is just as exciting as it sounds. And it can get as delightfully messy as you want! Let your kid spend some time with some mucky mud, fine sand, slippery slime, or endlessly entertaining play dough. These activities help with tactile processing, and they’re a heck of a lot of fun too.
Don’t forget; the kitchen might be a great source of inspiration here. Your sensory child might enjoy feeling flour, digging for dried beans, or helping you need the dough for your world-famous cinnamon rolls!
Headphones can be used in a couple of ways. At times, your sensory child might enjoy wearing headphones as a means of softening outside noise and giving them a break from distracting sounds.
You can also use headphones to help your child rest and relax while surrounded by soothing input. Your child might enjoy listening to rainstorms, crackling fireplaces, crashing waves and chirping seagulls, or their favorite happy tune. Some children even enjoy classical music! Our EarBuddies are an adorable, sensory-friendly option that many kids (and adults) take with them everywhere they go.
Who doesn’t love a taste test? With this exercise, you can have fun introducing your child to new flavors and textures. You can also turn it into a fun game where your child closes their eyes and tries to guess the flavor of the item they’re trying.
Maybe it’s peach yogurt or dried pineapple. Or perhaps it’s noodles with tomato sauce and sourdough bread. Once again, the kitchen is the perfect space for sensory exploration, food preparation, and all-out experimentation!
Aromatherapy is very popular right now, and you might even have some oils around the house already. There’s a seemingly endless variety of scents: from mint julep to lavender to peppermint and everything in between.
Children with SPD can practice getting used to new smells, but they can also use an aromatherapy oil they love to mask scents they find unpleasant.
Conclusion: 5 Tips to Reduce Sensory Sensitivity
Understanding SPD can be challenging for people unfamiliar with how it feels. But as the parent of a sensory sensitive child, there are many things you can do to help them make peace with their surroundings. And hopefully, you both have tons of fun in the process!
At Sensory Scout, our products are specially designed to support sensory kids on their journey. From Fidget toys to sensory swings to our wireless EarBuddies, we’re here to help parents and kids make the most of this curious, wonderful world we all share.