Sensory processing disorder affects a significant number of school-aged kids. Many struggle with processing stimulation, which causes various symptoms like hypersensitivity to sound, light, and touch. Fortunately, various therapies help deal with SPD, and a sensory diet is a perfect example. The strategy employs various activities, toys, and products to help SPD kids get the right sensory stimulation.
What causes sensory processing disorder (SPD)?
There’s no known cause for sensory processing difficulties. However, some studies claim that SPD can be genetic, and research is also ongoing to determine the relationship between SPD, birth complications, and environmental aspects. You can prevent the issue by wearing supportive shoes, staying active, having rest breaks, and not sitting for too long. For kids, various activities help them to get the right stimulation. These activities form part of a sensory diet, often used by occupational therapists.
Who needs a sensory diet?
Anyone can suffer from a sensory overload, and triggers affect people differently. Before we discuss how a sensory diet works, let’s begin by understanding who needs it.
· Kids with sensory issues but without a diagnosis
All kids process sensory inputs differently with some children exhibiting behaviors that set them apart from other kids. For example, some kids are sensory seeking while others are sensory defensive. In most cases, these behavioral responses to sensory inputs are mild and are never diagnosed as sensory processing disorder. However, sensory indicators that may benefit from a sensory diet include;
-Discomfort and irritability for no reason.
-Difficulty listening and following instructions
-Lots of energy
-Sleeping, eating, and socializing problems
· Kids with SPD
Kids diagnosed with sensory processing disorders can benefit from sensory diets immensely. If your child has been diagnosed with such a condition, contact an occupational therapist for further guidance.
· ADHD& Autistic children
A significant number of autistic and ADHD kids have sensory issues. They have issues with communication, sleep, eating, and attention which a sensory diet can resolve.
How can you use a sensory diet to regulate SPD?
1. Scheduling activities
For most kids, a sensory diet involves a routine of scheduled activities. For instance, if your child seems overwhelmed by loud noises in the neighborhood, you can offer headphones. There are numerous ways to schedule sensory activities, and each kid may prefer a different strategy.
Some respond well to visuals and require pictures. So, schedule the activities based on the child’s needs. For excellent results, take images of the sensory activities and pin or clip them to a list of planned activities to form a booklet.
2. Using sensory cards
Sensory cards allow kids to choose the most beneficial activities for their current mental state. What’s more? They are an amazing tool for kids with attention communication difficulties. Each card lists pictures, activities, or words to help your child as required. What makes them unique?
Sensory cards make sensory diets manageable for parents and help kids learn more about their sensory needs.
3. List down challenges & be flexible
List any sensory-seeking behavior that occurs during sensory activities. Also, have a list of the activities that work best, and make the necessary changes to achieve better results. Be flexible with the sensory diet, and make adjustments if things don’t work.
Sensory diets are priceless tools for SPD kids. For the best results, use the right activities and allow your child to use sensory cads to pick the most appropriate activity. Moreover, set a schedule of activities and monitor your child’s progress with the sensory diet.