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What You Need to Know About Sensory Diets

  1. While it is called a “diet,” it’s not a FOOD diet, but it should be considered nutritional intake that your child’s body/brain need daily. Blog-Sensory-Diets-Main-Landscape
  2. Consistency is key and it is important to find a schedule that works for you. Work with your occupational therapist and teacher to develop a timeframe that works best. Do not overdo it if it does not seem sustainable.
  3. As much as possible, sensory diet activities should be completed around the same time each day.
  4. Many sensory diet activities can be adapted to be used across many environments in order to promote consistency i.e. at home, in school, while traveling.
  5. When appropriate, get other siblings and family members involved!
  6. Watch your child’s responses before, during, and after sensory diet activities and be sure to address any abnormal changes you see with your occupational therapist.
  7. The best sensory diet combines tactile, proprioceptive, and vestibular based activities.
  8. Just as no two children with sensory processing difficulties will present the same, no two sensory diets will be identical.
  9. As your child’s brain continues to develop, the sensory diet will likely eventually need to be updated in either types of activities or frequency.

Examples of sensory diet activities for each sensory system:

  • Proprioceptive: jumping and crashing on pillows, heavy work activities such as pushing a heavy laundry basket or helping carry grocery bags to put away, wheelbarrow walk or animal walks (bear crawl, crab walk), joint compressions.
  • Vestibular: log rolls, cartwheels, swinging, head inversions over the edge of a couch, yoga poses, rocking chair.
  • Tactile: messy play (shaving cream, water, finger painting), sensory bins (uncooked rice or pasta noodles, kinetic sand), exposure to novel materials (i.e. corduroy, velvet, sandpaper, sand, silk).
  • Auditory: participation in Therapeutic Listening program under the guidance of your occupational therapist, listening to calming music, listening to white noise, play exploration with various instruments or toys/books that make sounds.
  • Oral: blowing bubbles, use of straws, use of chewy tubes or “jewelry”, food texture exploration (i.e. creamy, dry, wet, lumpy), having a chewy or crunchy snack to provide “heavy work” to the mouth”.
  • Visual: activities such as “i-spy”, spot the difference picture games, and word searches, de-clutter the home environment, oculomotor exercises, dim lights and avoid fluorescent bulbs.

NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Deerfield, Lincolnwood, Glenview, Lake Bluff, Des Plaines, Hinsdale and Mequon! If you have any questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140!

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Corinne Kreutz

Corinne Kreutz

Corinne Kreutz is an occupational therapist at North Shore Pediatric Therapy in Lincolnwood, IL. She received her Master’s of Science in Occupational Therapy from Rush University in Chicago, IL. She attended the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign, where she received her Bachelor’s of Science in Speech and Hearing Science. She is currently working towards becoming certified in Early Intervention services in the state of Illinois. Her research was recently published in The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, which she presented at the 2015 American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) conference in Nashville, TN. Corinne’s clinical interests include working with children who have developmental delays in fine and gross motor skills, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and sensory processing disorder, and she recognizes the importance of a multi-disciplinary approach including the whole family and therapy team. She has previous experience working with children with Cerebral Palsy and Down’s Syndrome in an outpatient pediatric setting, as well as in an inpatient rehabilitation setting, working primarily with adults recovering from neurological or orthopedic events (i.e. multiple sclerosis, stroke, hip/knee replacements). Corinne loves working with children and their families, as well as being a cheerleader for them every step of the way!

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