Creating a sensory diet at home.

We haven’t started my SPD daughter on any formal sensory OT just yet. I wanted to see if the IEP last week was going to cover any OT for her. It didn’t. But that’s okay. There’s plenty of ideas on the internet for creating a sensory diet at home. The neat part about a sensory diet is that you can make a lot of the items or find alternatives to the pricey therapeutic props at your local stores. The best part of all is that they are FUN!

From this wonderful website called Sensory Processing Disorder.com, they have a wealth of information regarding SPD with some wonderful checklists for both adults and children as well as a ton of great ideas for

Heavy work (proprioreceptive) activities
Tactile activities
Vestibular Activities (look under #5)

There’s also other ideas for oral defensiveness and fine motor activities (though I will post others fine motor skills ideas in my next post).

In addition, they have a great newsletter series and in one of them, they have one entitled Creating a Sensory Diet.

Oftentimes, if you watch children’s behavior carefully, you will see the activities they crave (are they constantly bumping into things or people, they probably crave proprioreceptive input) and things they avoid (do they not like to wash their hands, or not like being touched or touching different textures – they are probably tactile defensive). And many times, particularly for the younger child, they cannot really identify the source of the problem – which leads to frustration on both their parts and the parent if you aren’t looking underneath the surface.

Here is another website that contains more ideas and an example of a sensory diet at the bottom of the page.

For my daughter, I am compiling our sensory diet based on watching her and through trial and error.

Things that I know she likes:

1. bean bag chair – both for sitting on (helps give gentle pressure) and sitting under while her sisters lay on the chair (gives deeper pressure).

2. sit and bounce ball

3. sit and spin at home, and the tire swing at the park – for vestibular input

4. heavy work – carrying a large watering can full of water to water the plants, carrying milk jugs filled about a 1/3 – 1/2 way with sand. I also bought 3 lb hand weights for inside.

5. The fabric squares I made are great for tactile stimulation.

6. The other montessori activities we have are very sensory based (rice, beans, sound boxes, sandpaper tablets, thermic tablets)

7. Playdoh, shaving cream, corn meal on a cookie tray.

8. Taking part in preparing food

9. Playing outside on our swingset and in the sandbox. Water play.

10. Chewing mint gum (only for children who won’t swallow gum), sucking on a small sucker.

11. Gross motor activities – I have her enrolled in a sports camp for 1 day a week, and she will take a pre-ballet (I’m really hoping they let the kiddos do a lot of spinning because she likes that a lot).

12. And at the end of the day, our multi-sensory bath.

Other book recommendations are

The Out of Sync Child Has Fun by Carol Stock Kranowitz
And Sensational Kids by Lucy Jane Miller.

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