April is National Autism Awareness Month since the 1970′s to raise awareness. The United States recognizes April as a special opportunity to educate the public about autism and issues within the autism community. I know a lot of children have sensory issues. My son has several sensory issues that we deal with on a daily basis. We have been given a series of activities to use and I wanted to share them with you. These activities are great for children with sensory issues and even children without. Processing an over amount of sensory information can be overwhelming to any child. These activities promote self confidence and positive interactions with the world around them.
National Autism Awareness Month Sensory Ideas:
Deep Pressure Activities
Sock Buddies: Put Dry beans or dry rice in a tube sock. The child can then decorate the sock buddy by creating a face or other comforting designs. The child will then place the buddy on his or her lap when they are sitting at the table for meals, crafts, or reading. This helps to add extra input to their body. My son finds the pressure relaxing and keeps him more centered and focused on the activity.
Hot Dog Roll: Use a heavy blanket, sleeping bag, or comforter. Roll your child up in the blanket carefully and not covering their face.
Oral Input Activities
Cotton Ball Sheep: This is a fun activity using Oral directions and actions. Use the cotton balls as your sheep. Place a small bucket or bowl on the floor or table to use as your corral. Using a straw blow the cotton ball sheep across the floor or table into the corral.
Blow Pens: We love to use blow pens. This is a great oral activity! Who does not love to create with blow pens!
Gum Chewing: I know it is hard for some parents to let their children chew gum. The oral motion is sometimes relaxing and can improve concentration. My son often chews on his sleeves, pencils, and straws. The gum keeps this chewing in check.
Messy Play Activities
Shaving Cream: This was a very hard activity for us. My son hated being messy. He was often obsessive about hand washing until the point of his hands were cracking. We have been playing in shaving cream and making it fun! We have been drawing letters, numbers, and pictures to make this a fun activity and it takes the focus off him being messy. We did have to start with placing the shaving cream in a plastic baggie. We let him squirt it in the bag, sealed it, and let him play with it. We then transitioned into touching the actual shaving cream. We are doing better with being messy! (you can also use lotion, pudding or liquid soap)
Sand Play: We still are working on this one! My son will play in the sand table or along side the sandbox. He still will not sit in it when a sand box is available. We have made trips to the beach in the past and we was overly concerned about sand being on his feet and wanted to only sit on a towel.
I have never forced my child in to any activity he was not comfortable with. We make slow steps in each one. There have been several activities he would not do and so we just move to the next. Sometimes it takes awhile and other times he jumps right in. I hope you enjoy our favorite activities!