Yay! I finally have gotten a chance to sit down with the notes I took at a sensory modulation course I recently attended. It was a lot of fun to have my thinking cap on for awhile, and I have some interesting things I want to share with you all.
A sensory diet just refers to the optimum sensory input a person needs to perform at his or her peak. So, as you can imagine, this is of vast importance to educators at school and home alike (or it should be!)
A person who is good at modulating sensory input can take what is going on, filter out what is not important and focus on the things that are relevant.
Sometimes this can be a challenge for children (and adults alike). If your child’s behavior is reflecting something in the environment and they are spending all their energy on figuring out and reacting to the environment, then there may not be a lot of attention left over for schoolwork!
Typically, children with difficulties with sensory input fall into two categories: one is that of the “over- reactor” to sensory input, who many times end up avoiding sensory stimuli that bothers them. The other is children who “under- react” and may end up doing behavior that is seeking sensory input (so these are the children kind of jumping off the walls, literally) or they are so “under”, the child sort of sits there like a bump on a log.
There are many different websites out there that provide a checklist to see if a child has more things that seem like “over reacting” or “under reacting”, but I would just remind you these are simply checklists. The only way to get an “official” diagnosis is to go to your health care professional as there are specific standardized tests out there for assessment, and the best way to get “treated” would be to have an individualized sensory diet designed by a qualified therapist. However, I do think there are many common sense kinds of things that can be done, especially in the home environment, to make sure children are ready to receive information.
In our next post, I will be taking a peek at the child who is an “over-reactor” to sensory stimuli.
Here are also a few books I recommend on the subject:
Biel and Peske’s “Raising A Sensory Smart Child”
Sharon Heller’s “Too loud, Too bright, Too fast, Too tight”
Carol Kranowitz’s “The Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun”
And for those of you interested in a classic work on sensory integration, Jean A Ayers’ “Sensory Integration and the Child.”