So it’s coming to that time of year again, Halloween! For many it’s a sensory delight. However, for children with sensory needs this can be an incredibly challenging time of year from scratchy costumes, loud unexpected sounds, flickering lights, crowds of people, unfamiliar smells…….
Sensory diets and sensory strategies are terms often referred to by Occupational Therapist’s to support children and young people with sensory processing difficulties as a means of supporting them to maintain an optimal level of alertness through-out the day and subsequently their ability to focus and attend. As adults we tend to be typically aware of our sensory preferences and how best we can sustain our levels of alertness through-out the day. For example; Listening to a more upbeat radio show on the way to work yet a more classical calming one on the way home as we feel overloaded from our day or maybe we go for a swim or the gym to help us energise ourselves at the beginning of the day or de-stress at the end of the day. During the day we may take a walk or grab ourselves a coffee mid-morning or mid-afternoon to help us stay alert whilst snacking on something crunchy to awaken our senses. These are all strategies we instinctively and intuitively draw upon. Yet, for many children with sensory processing difficulties they need an extra helping hand to become in tune with their sensory needs and this can take the form of sensory diets, strategies, movement breaks or sensory circuits. All of which can be embedded into their daily routine to help them energise and help calm to support them to maintain and sustain an optimal level of alertness during the day, whilst also encouraging the development of their sensory processing skills.
Southpaw – A Summer of Sensory, by Robert Cooke.
So as September comes to a close, after 4 crazy months of installations, I have finally got the chance to sit at my desk and catch up with some admin and start work on the 2018 Southpaw catalogue. However, before I get lost in that bottomless pit of work, now is a great time to reflect on the fruits of our labours, the wonderful customers we have met along the way and the lovely things they have had to say about Southpaw.
Mary Read from Take Part Occupational Therapy Ltd offers some handy learning tips for therapists becoming familiar with Sensory Integration Theory. She highlights these tips using a piece of Southpaw equipment to help meet your clients’ needs.
by Lara Breaker-Rolfe (Director of Beanstalk Children’s Therapy, Paediatric Occupational Therapist & Advanced Sensory Integration Practitioner)