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Sensory Needs

Dad and child sensory 2015


A child with sensory needs prefers some kinds of sensations -- and strongly dislikes other sensations.

For example, a child may love the sensation of rocking and may detest the sensation of loose cotton on her fingers. 

If your child has specific sensory needs, try People Games. 

These games are played without toys -- but with people!

People Games are especially good for children with autism, who learn best through repetition and structure.

Here are some ideas (from the Hanen Centre) about what to do if your child has sensory needs:



Child's Sensory Preference

People Game
Running Chase or races. Or try “Red Light, Green Light,” where you run or walk on the green light and stop suddenly when “red light” is announced.
Rocking back and forth Try singing Row Row Row your Boat while sitting across from your child on the floor, holding hands as you rock back and forth.
Looking at his fingers Finger games such as “This Little Piggy” (played on fingers instead of toes) or “Where is Thumbkin?” Many other examples can be found on the internet by searching for “fingerplays”.
Spinning Ring Around the Rosie,” or try spinning your child in a revolving office chair.
Deep pressure or strong hugs Try rolling him up in a blanket, then unrolling him (you can pretend he is a caterpillar going into his cocoon!). Or play chase, and when you catch him, give him a strong hug. He may also enjoy an adaptation of Peek-a-boo, where you hide him under a pile of pillows and then uncover him.
Jumping Turn this into a People Game by holding his hands while he jumps on a trampoline or on the bed. You could also sing “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” while your child jumps.
Swinging back and forth Have your child lie in a blanket, while two adults hold the ends of the blanket, swinging it back and forth.
Feeling certain fabric/textures If your child enjoys soft fabrics, play Peek-a-boo with a soft blanket or cloth, or swing him in a soft blanket.
Avoids certain movements and prefers slower, quieter activities Try finger games (like “Thumbkin” or “Round Round the Garden”) or Pat-a-cake, which can be done slowly and quietly while sitting.

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Mental Health

It's not uncommon for children to have emotional stress -- or even mental health challenges

There's a lot you can do to helpPlaying drums indoors 2015

  1. Model good mental health habits. When you take good care of yourself, you help children learn to take good care of themselves, too.

  2. Make sure kids get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation is a common cause of behavior struggles and mental health challenges.

  3. Encourage kids to exercise. Children learn by moving. With exercise, our bodies also release endorphins, a natural chemical in the brain that promotes a sense of joy. 

  4. Give kids creative outlets. Children need to express themselves in many forms. With creative outlets, children can express experiences and feelings they may not otherwise be able to express.

  5. Provide kids with a space of their own, at least for a while. A little privacy can help children regain their focus.

  6. Talk with kids about their worries and troubles. Don't down-play their worries. Their concerns are serious concerns to them.

  7. Help kids relax. Try breathing exercises, children's yoga, humor, and quiet stories.

  8. Have a weekday routine -- and a different weekend routine. Kids need predictability, and they need fun too!

  9. Foster a spirit of giving and generosity. Teach kids to volunteer their time and be helpful to others. These skills help children build their self-esteem, which helps them make it through challenging times.

  10. Play with your kids. They need your attention, they need to bond with you, and they need to experience the joy of being alive!

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Autism Spectrum

Children with autism generally thrive on routine and consistency. Often, they can have difficulty with transitions.

Here are a few tips to help children autism through transitions: autism spectrum 2015

  1. Keep a calendar.

  2. Follow a schedule. 

  3. Use a timer to warn children of upcoming changes.

  4. Talk them through transitions.

  5. Encourage children to "use their words."

  6. Give them time and be patient. Plan for transitions to take extra time.

  7. Praise them on a job well done.

Check back soon for more tips.


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