Keeping track of sensory needs and solutions can be challenging. Suppose you have a child with autism, ADHD, or sensory processing disorder (SPD). In that case, you already know how easy it is to get overwhelmed with sensory information.
Today, we’re going to look at five critical sensory needs. For each, we’ll present some practical solutions to help you better support your child. As you know, learning about your kid’s sensory preferences can make a massive difference in both of your lives. The best sensory solutions are simple yet effective methods for improving everyday life, easing anxiety, and building skills. Every year, new innovations and technologies emerge along with a host of exciting sensory products.
Tactile Sensory Needs and Solutions
Tactile needs involve the sense of touch. Tactile sensitivity is common and can lead to behaviors like avoiding certain textures or touch, frequently cleaning hands, and wearing clothing inside-out. Other behaviors include avoiding water and seeking out smooth or soft materials.
Tactile Solutions include:
- Cut tags from clothing and buy seamless or reversible clothes
- Get some slime or putty for play-time
- Encourage outside play that involves walking on sand or grass
- Allow for play with soft food items like cooking flour or dry beans
Oral Sensory Needs and Solutions
Another common area of sensitivity is oral. This might involve anything from avoiding certain food textures to craving specific flavors to tantrums over brushing teeth. A child with oral sensory needs might feel compelled to chew, biting hazardous objects that damage teeth. As such, oral sensory solutions are essential to good dental health.
Oral sensory solutions include:
- Provide a favorite sensory chewy like this necklace
- Keep chewing gum on-hand
- Get a toothbrush specially designed for sensory kids
- Offer healthy, crunchy snacks like apples or carrots
Vestibular Sensory Needs and Solutions
Vestibular sensory needs refer to a sense of balance. There are several common vestibular sensory needs in kids with autism, ADHD, and SPD. These include craving fast movement, needing to always be in motion, an urge to spin, and a desire to hang upside-down.
Vestibular sensory solutions include:
- A sensory swing like the Cozy Cradle
- A spin disc like the Sensory Flying Object
- The ultimate in fun vestibular solutions: a trampoline
Olfactory Sensory Needs and Solutions
Olfactory relates to the sense of smell. Challenges might include being incredibly sensitive to perfumes, air fresheners, spices, cleaning products, and other everyday scents. While you can’t control what goes on in the outside world, there are a few things you can do at home to ease sensitivity.
Olfactory solutions include:
- Rather than using air fresheners, try natural essential oils
- Try an electric air deodorizer in your child’s room to neutralize smells
Visual Sensory Needs and Solutions
Some everyday visual sensory needs include avoiding bright lights and avoiding eye contact. Luckily, you can employ some simple at-home solutions to support your child’s visual sensory needs and help them grow.
Visual solutions include:
- Try practicing eye contact with a sensory weighted animal companion
- Practice eye contact with a mirror
- Check wall decorations to see if they’re over stimulating or soothing
- Keep sunglasses on hand at all times
Sensory solutions aren’t one-size-fits-all. Likewise, they aren’t a cure for sensory processing disorder. But they do offer practical support for kids and parents navigating challenging territories. And as we all know, every little bit of support, encouragement, and help adds up to make a big difference over time.
Benefits of sensory solutions—like sensory toys and games—include increased relaxation, mental stimulation, enhanced coordination, and more natural play. Sensory toys also help improve motor skills and promote the use of all five senses. Through a little trial and error, you and your child can find a lot of satisfaction and joy with the right sensory solutions and products.
To see more sensory solutions and products, click here.