When I started working as an occupational therapist for homeschools, I promised not to add to the flood of information but rather to help families decipher all of the information. There is so much information out in the good ole world wide web. I also feel like the most important piece of information comes from a personal evaluation. The evaluation answers questions like what kind of input is your child seeking or avoiding? What coping skills does your child already use? How can we build on those? Is the need for sensory input or manifesting itself in other ways? How do we best add these components into your day?
There are lots of aspects of sensory integration that Collins Academy Therapy Services can help wade through.
I do want to share some information that has worked for my personal family. The first two things are calming; they provide deep pressure.
My son loves this foldable tent. He has all of his stuffed animals, which keep them off the floor, bonus. The animals also make it a nice relaxing area away from the hustle and bustle of the house. He goes in there to look at his books regularly. I can always tell when he needs more deep pressure to help him calm because he will add all of the animals onto his lap.
Weighted blankets are all the rage right now. We love to cuddle under them during our morning routine. This large one is actually for the weight of my husband. The typical weight is 10% of a body weight +2-3 lbs. This ratio is super important because if its the wrong weight and a kiddo falls asleep, it could impact breathing.
These next two pictures add sensory input. The balance board adds proprioceptive input, which is input from joints and muscles that promotes body awareness. We got ours at Aldi for $7.99. The amazon link provided is more expensive yet is almost identical.
This swing adds vestibular input, which is the sense of movement centered in the inner ear. Any movement stimulates the vestibular system, but swinging, spinning, jumping, and hanging all increase the intensity of the stimulation. This net swing can spin as well as swing. My daughter likes the gentle movement whereas my boys will stand and sway, spin, fall off etc.
Finally, our most used area for indoor sensory is our karate dojo. My 8 year old uses the proprioceptive input (see its my quiz to see if you remember the definition from above) to calm. He gets overwhelmed quickly but does know how to calm himself. The deep proprioceptive input aka heavy work that comes from jumping and kicking does the trick for him. We also use this during spelling, his least favorite subject to help keep him calm. All of our equipment was purchased used from our dojo, but, here are links to what we have: kick target, punch target, push up handles, gymnastics mat, floor mats
Onto my favorite topic... outside. As homeschoolers, we are so fortunate to be able to go outside as long as we want everyday. Kids can get this same proprioceptive input climbing trees, vestibular input rolling down hills, hanging from branches, and balancing on curbs. There are no links to this, only encouragement!!!
Happy sensory play!