If children are hyper-responsive to information received from the body to the brain, he/she will tend to cry frequently, scream, appear agitated, and show adverse responses to people, food, things and stimuli. Some children are hypo-responsive to sensory input and appear to be withdrawn with a lack of involvement with toys, peers, food or activities. The sensory self-regulation goal is for a child to take in sensory neurological processed information and respond normally (balanced) and respond calmly to it.
When the brain responses are calm, attentive, focused, listening and looking for new information to process, children are self-regulated. This will help the brain to be prepared to process information on the left and right side, therefore making learning easier. Parents and teachers should learn to identify the child’s sensory level daily and adjust the sensory activities toward alerting or calming items as needed. The kit: Sensory Self-Regulated SAM: Sensory Assessment Measurement (coming soon) includes great supplies and visuals to place on a child’s desk, poster for classroom/home, cards for the car, and to carry into public places. It promotes awareness, assessment and solutions to nervous system regulation in a functional way to be used at least three times daily.
In the medical clinic when working with sensory processing disorder (difficulty with processing information taken in to the body through the senses), the approach is for the occupational therapist to complete a sensory processing assessment to identify which areas a child may have sensory dysfunction. There are several professional assessment tools to be used by the licensed professional. Sensory processing skills are evaluated in the area of the 5 senses (hearing, sight, taste, touch, and smell). Then the other two sensory systems are assessed as well (proprioception – joint sense of motion and vestibular- movement with spinning whereby the head experiences different planes of motion). The therapist will then compile a report based on standardized scores and implement a plan of care for the child. The test results will state specific areas of hyper-responsive (over-reaction to sensory stimuli) or hypo-responsive (lack of response to sensory stimuli - very little sensory input being received) or self-regulated (child responds normally in relation to other children their age). This website provides sensory supplies based on the best way to meet the child’s needs for a self-regulated response.
It is very important to also assist a child with defining and identifying their emotions. This is defined as how a person is “feeling mentally” as interpreted by their brain. Children with Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders benefit from assistance to identify their emotions as happy, sad, angry, calm, upset, etc. This should be taught and introduced to a child in a systematic organized way one at a time (if needed). Children respond best when pictures are paralleled with the words to lean how that emotion is best described. Several products are available on this site to assist with learning of this concept. When the child learns how to identify these emotions parallel with their sensory levels, they can begin to incorporate self-regulation activities with self-management activities. These two together will assist the child in learning to respond normally to sensory input as well as identifying the paralleled emotion that is felt at that time. See the book and curriculum: The Zones of Regulation, for sale on our website.
HYPER-RESPONSIVE CALMING ACTIVITIES
HYPO-REPONSIVE ALERTING ACTIVITIES