If your child has sensory needs, then it is important to know how to help them feel comfortable in their environment. Here’s what you should know.
In America, about 15% of children have sensory disorders that require attention. Unfortunately, many kids don’t have the coping mechanisms to handle their sensory processing issues.
While it’s a common disorder for those on the autism spectrum, people with ADHD and OCD also have different types of sensory needs. If your child has sensory needs, it’s crucial to help them feel secure each day.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about sensory needs and help your child feel more comfortable in their environment.
What Are Sensory Needs?
Sensory needs emerge when a child has problems receiving and reacting to information sent from their senses. A child with sensory needs often struggles to manage sensory triggers such as sound, touch, taste, and smell.
Parents typically notice sensory processing problems when their child is a toddler. They might notice that their child has a distinct dislike for noises, lights, or certain shoes and clothing.
Some children with sensory needs might appear clumsy and have trouble with tasks like climbing up stairs. They might also struggle with their fine motor skills such as using a pencil.
Symptoms of Sensory Issues
There are a few things to look for if you aren’t totally sure that your child has sensory issues. First, consider how your child responds to getting water in their face. If they scream when their face gets wet, they might have sensory needs.
Children with sensory needs often throw tantrums when their parents dress them, especially in tight-fitting clothes. Another sign of sensory issues is when a child has an unusually high or low pain tolerance.
If your child constantly bumps into walls or people while on the move, it might be a sign of sensory issues. A lot of toddlers try to eat things they shouldn’t but it might be sensory-related they’re always trying to eat things like rocks or paint.
Luckily, there are many private schools that focus on sensory needs to help children learn in a comfortable environment. You can take a look at the private school found here for a great example.
Tips for Visual Issues
Consider using natural lights in your home to make a soft filtered light that won’t disrupt your child. You can also use things like lace curtains around windows so that daylight isn’t too bright for them.
Try turning your lamps so that they shine upwards into corners to create a relaxing feeling for your child. You can also create a covered space without any noises to give them a sheltered feeling.
If you cover windows in colorful cellophane, it creates visual interest for children with sensory needs. Placing chairs or mats as markers for certain activities also helps.
You can stimulate their vision with primary colors by painting walls and choosing colorful furniture. Just remember not to mix too many colors together in a room or the child might dislike the cluttered feel.
Tips for Hearing Issues
There are several easy ways to make loud areas of your home more quiet for your child. Consider adding things like carpets and rugs in tiled areas. You can also glue egg cartons to walls or use banners to help quiet the surround sound of loud rooms.
Have music play in the background of your home that uses a steady beat. Examples of calming music include kid’s songs and classical music. You can also use background sounds like rain, rivers, wind, and bird noises to make your home feel more comfortable.
If you have furniture pieces that make a lot of noise when you move them, stick some carpet to the bottom. Things like tables and chairs might make disruptive noises when they slide on the floor, but the carpet reduces the sound.
You can even buy a fish tank or simply leave fans on to help create soothing background noises for your child.
Tips for Touch Issues
Children with sensory issues usually become inactive if a room’s temperature is too hot. On the other hand, they often become stressed by rooms that are too cold.
Try to avoid using fabrics that you’ve noticed irritating your child. Give them many seating options such as beanbag chairs, large pillows, cushions, and rugs.
Provide spaces for them to lay on their stomach or kneel on their hands and knees instead of sitting in a chair, It will help give different information to their muscles and joints that sitting doesn’t provide.
Let them play with things like sponges, spoons, pens, pencils, brushes, and cotton balls. You should also add some full-length mirrors to your home or reflective glass to help them become aware of their body.
Always set up barriers during dirty activities if your child is sensitive to messes. For example, have them use spoons and cookie cutters to play with play dough and keep a towel close by for them to wipe off their hands.
Give them simple household chores such as helping bring in groceries to give a deep touch to their joints and muscles. You can also have them wear a backpack around the house to achieve the same result.
Scents for Sensory Needs
Many children with sensory needs find stimulation from scents like cooking smells, mint, and eucalyptus. They tend to calm down when they smell scents like rose and lavender.
Consider infusing objects like playdough with essential oils to stimulate your child while they play. Match playdough colors to the scents like lavender with purple, lemon with yellow, and mint with green.
Buy some scented pens, paints, and paper as well as scented paper to help keep their attention during fine motor skill activities.
Understanding Sensory Needs
Remember this guide to identify sensory needs and use the tips to help your child feel more comfortable. A few easy adjustments around the house can make a huge difference in your child’s daily life.
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