With school closings and the events surrounding COVID-19, families are finding themselves out of routine and quickly trying to adapt to a different way of doing things. Parents are wondering how to meet their kids’ unique sensory needs during this unexpected time. If your child is a sensory seeker, it’s important to continue with lots of gross motor movement and exercises and to provide as much sensory stimulation as possible. If you live in a rural area or have a yard, getting some fresh air and playing outside is a great option. However, if you do not have the ability to get outside or are looking for ways to incorporate more of a sensory friendly environment in your own home, read on!
A sensory room or sensory space can help with a child’s development. A sensory gym in a setting such as a pediatric therapy clinic may have various kinds of therapy swings, trampolines, ball pits, crash pads, barrels, tunnels, mats, etc. A sensory room (also known as Snoezelen rooms) can have high tech lighting and fiber optics, projectors, water beds, bubble tubes and wall panels. The purpose of these rooms is to provide a relaxed atmosphere where the person is surrounded by pleasant sensations (unique tactile experiences, relaxing aromas, interesting light effects).
While all these things are absolutely wonderful and therapeutic, do not feel like you can’t provide an appropriate sensory space with sensory stimulation for your child right in your own home. You don’t need a “space”- instead focus on the space you do have and work from there. Small spaces can be just as effective and there are ways you can make it work. Simple and cost effective options are available and can help your child self- regulate, de-stress, and provide necessary sensory input. Read below for some helpful ideas!
Make your own CRASH PAD! A simple DIY solution is to take a large zip-up duvet cover and stuff it with pillows, blankets, large stuffed animals, etc. Zip it up and let your child jump and crash into it. Crawling over it on hands and knees is also just as effective.