Sensory Space Starter Pack
Guest Authored By Sophia P L, OTR/L
For many families, the Covid-19 pandemic significantly impacted daily activities, routines, and environments. Shelter in place orders protected the health and wellness of families, while simultaneously affecting how children socialize and receive a diverse range of sensory experiences. With no separation of spaces, children are completing school, therapy, and play all within the home with limited variances in sensory experiences. Children that are neurodiverse benefit from enriched sensory environments with specialized equipment to learn and grow. To improve your child’s attention, engagement, and regulation throughout the day you can create a simple and cost-effective sensory safe space!
The Sensory Space – Starter Pack
Find a space within your home that your child can separate from their other daily obligations. Perhaps this is a corner of their bedroom or even in your living room! Consider the following:
- Fort/structure – Children often benefit from enclosed spaces for sensory regulation since they limit noise and visual distractions. Build a simple fort with leftover boxes or bedsheets!
- Lighting – Remote controlled string lights are fantastic for this! Allow your child to select the brightness and color of their lights. Not only will this provide your child with a choice, but low lighting can be calming and regulating for many children.
- Music – Gentle, quiet, and slow rhythmic beats such as a drumming playlist allow your child to be present and mindful.
- Weighted blanket/lap pad – Just like getting a big hug, deep pressure and squeezes are calming and regulating for our kids!
- Diffuser – Place a diffuser within their safe space and allow them to pick the essential oil! Avoid smells such as peppermint and citrus since these are alerting. Scents, such as lavender, allow children to relax and be mindful.
- Water bottle with thick straw – Drinking through a thick straw takes oral motor control similar to deep breathing that helps calm and regulate our children.
Now that you are on the right path, it is highly suggested that you consult an occupational therapist with specialized training in sensory integration. This is a starter pack to providing a sensory safe space; however, an occupational therapist may help you to tailor your sensory space based on your child’s sensory profile. Your child may fall anywhere on the spectrum of these four categories:
- Sensory Seeking – Your child actively pursues more sensory input than others!
- Sensory Avoidant – Your child is bothered by or moves away from input more than others!
- Sensory Sensitivity – Your child receives input at a higher rate than peers!
- Sensory Registration/Bystander – Your child misses input at a higher rate than peers!
Contacting your occupational therapist may help you to better individualize your sensory space to improve attention, engagement, and play within your home!
Eyas Landing is a therapy clinic with a mission to provide evidence-based and family-centered therapy services for children, adolescents, and their families. The primary goal is to deliver relationship-based interventions within the most natural environments and to empower families to reach their full potential. To achieve this goal, our highly educated, compassionate staff dedicates time and expertise to create experiences that maximize therapeutic outcomes. The strength, determination, and perseverance of our clients are evident as they succeed in therapy, and ultimately in their daily lives.
Eyas Landing offers a wide range of comprehensive services including Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, ABA Therapy, Social Work, Family Therapy, and Neuropsych testing. Services are provided throughout the Chicagoland area via Telehealth, In-Home, and in our state of the art clinic.
Want to learn more or you have a specific question? Feel free to connect with us here!