Self-Regulation and Sensory Processing
Self-regulation is the ability to control one’s thoughts, emotional responses, actions and level of alertness/attention. It can be influenced by several different factors including sensory processing. Sensory processing is how we process information from the world around us as well as what is going on inside of us to produce an appropriate behavioral response.
Play games that reinforce structure and require waiting/ turn-taking: red light green light, freeze dance, Simon says.
Yoga, meditation and mindfulness will help child develop better control of their physical body, thoughts, and emotional states. You can start by sitting still with eyes closed with a slow count of 5.
Routines, structure and clear expectations will help your child with self-control.
Provide a quiet personal space for your child to calm. Relaxing music, a bean bag chair or soft pillows to burrow in may be helpful.
Encourage a variety of play/work positions such as standing, lying on the floor, kneeling.
Offer your child a snack to provide organizing sensory Input (See attachment)
“Heavy work” activities (carrying heavy items, push/pull activities) Be sure your teens have scheduled chores, help with laundry, clean up part of the house, load/unload the dishwasher, sweep/mop floors, vacuum, put groceries away.
Have your child jump on a mini-trampoline, perform jumping jacks or play hopscotch.
Push-ups on the floor or push-ups against the wall.
Organized sports activities- running, yoga, bike riding.
Climbing on or hanging from playground equipment.
Eating crunchy foods (i.e. popcorn, pretzels, carrots, apples, etc.).
Play and dance to loud, fast-paced music.
Use toys that make noise or light up.
Tips for Children with Tactile Sensitivities
Gradually expose your child to different textures going from the least to most messy. (ex. Play-doh is less messy than shaving cream or finger paints.)
Provide firm pressure rather than light touch when holding hands or giving hugs.
Make sure that blankets, pajamas and clothes are comfortable for your child as this may disrupt their sleep and other daily activities. (ex. Cut out clothing tags if causing discomfort, wear socks inside out if irritating…)
Use unscented laundry detergent.
Attention and Focus
Also refer back to the Self-Regulation and Sensory Processing section; strategies may also result in improved attention and ability to focus.
Choose a location in your home with minimal distractions when completing structured activities such as homework or therapy activities.
Break down instructions into simple 1-2 step directions.
Have your child repeat directions to reinforce understanding.
Use a visual timer to gradually increase attention to a non-preferred activity.
Allow your child to take short, intermittent movement breaks.
Reinforce positive behaviors with high praise