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How to Choose the Best Sensory Activities for your Child.

Viola Susan is a mom to two boys, one of which is four years old and has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. She started the Wife to Mom Blog as an extension of her own journaling, which has been a therapeutic practice of hers for some time. Her hope in starting this site was to share her knowledge that she has obtained from parenting her son and being everything he needs, and to help others as they face the challenges of raising a child with special needs. She wrote a post on her blog titled, "Sensory Activities for Autism Kids; How to Choose Sensory Activities" to explain sensory differences, processing, and activity options for other moms to try with their children. For neurotypical people it can be hard to understand sensory related issues; sensory processing is not something most have to focus on learning. If you think of the five senses, we all experience them and know what they are, however, people on the autism spectrum just experience them differently and may have a hard time focusing on more than one at a time. Sensory processing challenges typically are the the root cause of behavior, communication, nutrition, and sleep difficulties that are present in children with autism. Susan gives an example of this as she has witnessed these challenges in her son. When her son goes to the amusement park, he is able to hear the tiniest of sounds due to his acute hearing, but because of his sensory processing difficulties, he has a hard time filtering the sounds of people talking, rides screeching, and the P.A. system blaring music; sensory overload happens and the sounds that are floating around him crash together. Situations like this one are indicative of why parents need to address the sensory integration needs of their child, which can be done by integrating sensory activities that address their needs into their daily lives. This process can be referred to as "sensory training" which can be done either in the home by the parents or by an occupational therapist in office or at home. Susan says she likes the at-home sensory activities because the time with the OT can be limited and parents tend to know the issues that need to be addressed first because they know their child the best. The first thing to note about sensory activities is that they should be fun, which will give children the motivation to want to keep learning or try new activities; teaching with songs or games may be the most effective and getting the skills to stick. Next, use the child's interests to choose the sensory activities. It is not about the parent or what they think is best, but ultimately, the child's interests and letting them lead the activities. The activity does not need to be highly structured, but flow naturally so that the child can get some useful out of the experience; not just feeling like they are completing a chore. Also, try to be consistent as well as trying to incorporate new strategies that have proven to be helpful, even at school. If there is something that works, stick with it and share across the child's life, which will help with retention while increasing the child's confidence and maximizing success. Try to also be conscious of the child's age. There may be a gap between the child's chronological age and developmental age, so it is better to consider their current skills, sensory tolerance, and the level of focus that they are comfortable with. It is also important to note that the best activities are the ones that also involve other family members. Doing these activities with other children or the other parent help in enhancing the child's social skills. This allows them to learn to play with people that they are close to in a safe environment while they are free to make mistakes, which helps to build their overall confidence. These family activities, however, should not become a burden on the family's time, budget, energy, personal space, or patience. Lastly, choose activities that will match the child's interest levels; do not force them to do something they do not like or are not interested in. Start slow and build the intensity and difficulty over time. All in all, keeping these things in mind when planning or promoting sensory activities for your child while increasing the success of the activity and the development of your child's abilities.

https://www.wifetomom.com/sensory-activities-for-autism-kids-how-to-choose-sensory-activities/



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