How to Play With a Child Who Has Sensory Processing Disorder
Play According to Your Child’s Needs
If your child is a pressure-seeker, they might crave things like bear hugs or even roughhousing. A lack of body awareness can create issues for pressure seekers because they might overstep boundaries during play with other children.
For pressure seekers, consider the following to help improve body awareness and create safer interactions:
- Using clay or play dough, experiment with various creations and consider how much pressure or force is required to make different shapes
- Try a tug-of-war with safe levels of pulling, pushing and landing (bean bags or pillows make great soft landing places)
- Playing catch with a weighted ball can help children develop awareness around weight and pressure
In general, play is excellent for movement seekers! It helps release excess energy and gives the fidgets someplace safe to go. Your movement-seeker might experience excessive moving, fidgeting, tapping, twirling or jumping, but a good play session can provide them with the stimulation they need.
- Kid-friendly dodge ball (use a soft beach ball for safety)
- A scavenger hunt inside or outside of the house (try timing the game for added urgency)
- Mini trampoline activities that let them “jump out” their jitters
- Relay race games if you have multiple kiddos!
- Consider using “messy” materials next to your child as they color or engage in non-messy play. Seeing you have fun with materials like shaving cream or slime might eventually encourage them to get involved in the fun!
- Try having your child use chopsticks or tweezers to pick up objects they wouldn’t otherwise touch: slick orange slices, “furry” kiwi fruit, etc.
How to Play With a Child Who Has Sensory Processing Disorder: Conclusion
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