April 18, 2012 at 11:22 | Posted in ALEX Toys, Mamma Mia Rea | 1 Comment
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About eight months ago, my 3-year-old was diagnosed with sensory integration disorder. As a former special education teacher, it was not a term I was unfamiliar with; I’d worked with plenty of kids with similar diagnoses, as well as other issues that included sensory integration challenges. Ironically, I never suspected, until my son’s teacher sat us down and suggested we have him evaluated, that there was anything going on. I guess that’s one of the blessings and detriments of parenthood: we love our children so much we see them as absolutely perfect the way they are, which is true, but sometimes, we are unable to see where they need extra help until someone else tells us so.

Either way, once the diagnosis was official, we started looking into sensory integration therapies. Through that process, I realized that my definition of “Sensory Integration” needed some amending. I had thought that sensory issues meant that there was a breakdown in the use of the senses themselves (i.e., hearing incorrectly or limited vision), but it is actually the inability to organize sensory information as the senses process it. This means that a kid sitting in circle time, for example, may be unable to process what they’re seeing, feeling and hearing simultaneously (a brightly colored calendar, singing voices, birds outside, the carpet under their hands), resulting in what appears to be “zoning out”, “not listening”, and sometimes even behavioral issues.

Thankfully, we live in progressive times when it comes to children with special needs, and there are many helpful options available. Aside from formal occupational therapy and other treatments, we parents can offer our children many activities at home to help with sensory processing. Tactile experiences in particular, like playdough or water tables (messy, but worth it) are fabulous opportunities to help kids focus on what they’re doing without it feeling like work. Massage toys help give kids sensory input, help them relax, and allow them to identify precisely where they’re experiencing feelings. Even playing “Let’s Pretend We’re Animals” is a great sensory activity; by using their bodies and senses in one concentrated effort, they are training their brains to do so in a more generalized way.

Remember, you’re not alone and you are your child’s greatest asset. Thousands of parents just like us have worked wonders for their children, and even offer their suggestions online. Best of luck!

What Sensory Activities do your kids like?

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  1. […] Sensory Kids Meet The Writer Rea M. Bochner is a professional writer whose work has appeared on dozens of websites and print publications. She has also written professional and advertising materials for a variety of businesses, including: transportation companies, pharmaceutical companies, lifestyle websites, parenting blogs, private schools, event planners and many more. Rea's work was recently published in an anthology of articles entitled "Like Water on a Rock" by Artscroll Press, and is currently writing a memoir entitled "A Glad Mother of Children". Rea Lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband Josh, her sons Yonah and Akiva, and her cat, Wasabi. Read Full Bio […]

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