Sensory Explorers Camp Week 1!

Guest Authored By Kerry P, MOT, OTR/L

It has been a lively and eventful week here at Eyas Landing as in-person camp is officially underway!  We have been hard at work to ensure that our in-person camps are as safe as possible for both campers and staff.  Extra precautions have been taken to provide a sanitized and socially distant environment for all. 

How does this work?  All campers, private Eyas clients, therapists and staff are required to wear masks at all hours.  With two camps running, we have split the spaces (and added some new extra spaces) into separate pods to limit mixing and exposure to others.  All therapists, therapeutic assistants, and camp staff have done an amazing job to ensure proper precautions are taken and their dedication and commitment has made this first week a huge success. 

Week one is Sensory Explorers!  Our campers have participated in a variety of activities aimed towards participation in sensory experiences.  Sensory Integration is important for children of all abilities.  Exploring a variety of sensory experiences stimulates a child’s senses.  These senses include smell, taste, touch (tactile input), movement (proprioception and vestibular input), sight (visual input), and hearing (auditory input).  Some children have a difficult time tolerating certain textures (touch/tactile) and some demonstrate difficulty with body awareness (movement and proprioception).  Some children are picky eaters (taste/texture), and some have difficulty registering sensory information (applies to all senses).  This camp addresses all areas of sensory needs with the help of clinicians from a variety of disciplines. 

Our camp starts with regulation in the gym space where the children participate in a motor-planning obstacle course, facilitated by an occupational therapist, focusing on body and safety awareness as well as sequencing.  The children then transition to a mindfulness activity to work on self-regulation skills with one of our social workers.  After a snack, the children participate in three 35-minute rotations with the assistance of speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy providers.  Within these rotations, the children learn to integrate many areas of sensory processing (motor planning – physical therapy, social awareness – speech therapy, and tactile input – occupational therapy).  After the rotations are completed, the kiddos participate in an outdoor play task with our social worker and then transition to lunch.  During lunch, the children are split into two groups, each with an individual speech language pathologist, who assists in feeding skills.  This is perfect for picky eaters and problem feeders! 

This first week has given us hope.  It has been a delight to see the social engagement occur between the campers and we cannot wait to see what the remainder of our camps can do for our clients!