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How to Calm Your Sensory Seeker

Jun 22nd, 2018 | by NAPA Team

NAPA Team

June 22nd, 2018

Are you wondering if your child is a sensory seeker? Children who have sensory processing difficulties may move around a lot, which can get them into trouble. But the reason they never seem to slow down is because their bodies are telling them they need to move, move, move!

Sensory Seeking Behaviors in Children and Toddlers

Sensory seeking behaviors typically include poor balance, coordination, and awareness of their body in space. Kids with sensory challenges also have decreased awareness of vestibular and/or proprioceptive input.

To compensate for this, sensory seeking children will often seek out lots of sensory input to give their bodies more feedback to these systems.

They’ll do this by jumping, spinning, swinging, crashing, squishing and other movements. Other sensory seeking behaviors include trying to touch everything in their environment or running into/bumping into objects or people in their environment.

Sensory Input

The vestibular sense is the ability to sense movement and balance. Sensors in the ear send feedback to the brain to tell us the direction and speed of movement at any point in time. The vestibular system works with the visual system to keep us upright and balanced when standing or moving.

Proprioception is the ability to know where our body is in space. Feedback from the muscles and joints helps us keep a good sense of position even when we’re not looking. If you were to close your eyes and have someone move your arm, you would know exactly what position it was in, even without looking. That’s your proprioceptive system at work!

Sensory Seeking Activities

    1. Use an air cushion for movement while your child stays seated during school work
    2. Have your child perform work activities like pushing a shopping cart, carrying groceries, or pulling a wagon
    3. Encourage them to play on the playground on climbing equipment or by sliding or swinging
    4. Encourage them to swing or jump with consistent, rhythmic patterns (for calming linear input, place the child on a swing and swing them in a back-and-forth linear motion)
    5. Let them squish in big pillows for whole body sensory input (DIY sensory crash pad here!)
    6. Providing deep pressure by rolling a therapy ball along the child’s back

In this video below, NAPA occupational therapist Erin shares some sensory seeking activities to help organize our sensory seekers throughout the day.

Sensory Tools That You Can Use:

Additional Sensory Seeking Resources From NAPA Therapists:

About NAPA Centre

At NAPA Centre, we take an individualized approach to paediatric therapy because we understand that each child is unique with very specific needs. We embrace differences with an understanding that individualized programs work better. For this reason, no two therapeutic programs are alike. If your child needs services, we will work closely with you to select the best therapies for them, creating a customized program specific to your child’s needs and your family’s goals. Let your child’s journey begin today by contacting us to learn more.

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