Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) refers to the way your nervous system processes sensory input and translates it into motor skills or behavioral actions. If you have SPD, the sensory signals are either not received or are translated improperly. SPD can affect any or all of your senses including touch, taste, sight, smell and more.
If you have SPD it can affect the way you perform everyday tasks even down to pushing a grocery cart or biting into a sandwich. You may exert more strength than is necessary or not enough. If you were pushing a grocery cart, for example, you may not be able to push it at all or you may whiz down the aisles because you push it too hard. Fortunately, enough research has been done that will allow you to help your child overcome some of these problems with home activities.
What Kinds of Activities Can Help?
The activities you use depend on the sense that is affected. If your child does not have a problem with muscle or joint sensory problems you would not include these activities. So first on your list is to seek assistance in determining which senses are affected. If you live in North Texas the Speech & Occupational Therapy of North Texas organization has several clinics in the area that can help you. Once you have identified the needs you can begin with the activities. Most important is that you respect your child’s reaction to the activity. If they are fearful of it or do not enjoy it, move on to a different activity.
One goal is to incorporate the activities into the child’s daily routine. This then becomes something they can predict and expect. For example, when you go grocery shopping let your child push the cart as long as it is within the limits of their physical ability. Let them help carry heavy groceries when you get home and help you put them away.
When you give your child a bath, use a washcloth or a bath brush for bathing. Experiment with different varieties of shampoos and soaps. This will change the textures and the smells.
When you are cooking, let your child help mix the ingredients, especially the thicker ones so they will strengthen their muscles. When cleaning, let them help with the vacuuming, or carrying the laundry basket.
If you think you have a child who suffers from SPD, please reach out to us here at Speech & Occupational Therapy of North Texas. We have been helping families in the North Texas area for almost 20 years.