A typical play environment is hectic and full of noise. This experience can be challenging for children with sensory and neurological disabilities, who are often prone to over-stimulation. They sometimes respond with behaviors that are poorly understood or considered disruptive.
You can create areas in your playspace that calm and nurture the senses for children with sensory integration disorders. Other children can also benefit from these special sensory nurturing rooms. Children and their caregivers can spend time in these spaces to relax and focus more effectively on play. Indoors, these might be spaces with white mats and pillows, a vestibular swing, fiber optic lights, and quiet or calming music. Outdoors, you can create a space with muffled noise and muted colors set slightly apart from the main play area.
A few things to know about sensory integration:
Sensory integration dysfunction: when the individual has difficulty processing sensory input
Biel, Lindsay, M.A., OTRL and Nancy Peske. (2005). Raising a sensory smart child. http://www.sensorysmarts.com/index.html
Children's Disabilities Information. (2006). Sensory integration articles and resources. http://www.childrensdisabilities.info/sensory_integration/
Falvo, Laurel. (2006). Sensory integration. The Gray Center for Social Learning and Understanding. http://www.thegraycenter.org/store/index.cfm?fuseaction=page.display&page_id=48
Fureman, Sasha, OTR/L and Sahd, Tiffany, M.S., OTR/L. (2005). Strategies for sensory success. Washington Parent. http://washingtonparent.com/articles/0504/sensory.html
The KID Foundation's SPD [Sensory Processing Disorder] Network, http://www.spdfoundation.net/
Martin, Allison. (2006). Sensory Integration Dysfunction: Interview with Carol Kranowitz. Come Unity. http://www.comeunity.com/disability/sensory_integration/carol-kranowitz.html
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The Sensory Processing Disorder Resource Center (2007). Sensory integration activities: Treatment that works, skills that matter. http://www.sensory-processing-disorder.com/sensory-integration-activities.html