Sensory Diet Treatment: How it Works
Sensory Diet Treatment: What is it?
Who Benefits from a Sensory Diet?
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Being “too rough” while playing
- Being so physically active that they cannot wind down OR
- Being passive, inactive, and “out of it”
- Difficulty modulating their tone or volume of voice
- Trouble controlling impulses
- No awareness of other people’s space or boundaries
- Being unable to calm down after being in a busy environment
Because every child is unique, their symptoms and triggers will be unique. That’s why a tailored sensory diet can be so beneficial for managing sensory disorganization or overwhelm.
What are the Basics of a Sensory Diet?
A sensory diet aims to improve specific areas of your child’s life so they can feel more calm and regulated. A good regimen will help with the following:
Sensory processing - this involves appropriate and accurate processing of sensory stimulation in the body and from the outside environment
Executive function - these are reasoning and thinking skills that might be used in a sensory obstacle course
Receptive language - the ability to understand and process spoken language
Compliance - the child’s ability to comply with requests from others
Attention and concentration - the ability to stick with a task and see it through to completion without considerably distraction or abandoning the task
Sequencing and planning - following specific steps in a particular order to complete a given task, such as an obstacle course
Sensory Diet: Common Activities
- Exploring weighted items such as a weighted blanket, small hand weights, weighted bags, etc.
- Trampoline activities: jumping, jogging, rolling, etc.
- Wearing a heavy backpack, carrying a full water bottle, ankle weights, etc.
- Riding a bicycle or indoor cycle for kids
- Animal walks such as crab walks, frog leaps, bear walks, etc.
Generally, physical activity is the best place to start. Once your child sees benefits from the physical exercises, they can move on to some of the other sensory items on the list. The best activities make use of your child’s large core muscles, such as the ones listed above.