In My Sensory Box!



                                                   
                                                  


A child with the Sensory Integration Dysfunction may find everyday experiences more challenging than any other typically developing a child. According to Dr A Jean Ayres, the founder of Sensory Integration theory, it is important to understand child’s needs and structure the environment accordingly since this process helps brain with poor processing to preserve stability and function properly.

Children with SI Dysfunction often display poor behaviour within the classroom and home setting. As per Dr Ayres theory, poor processing of brain leads to ineffective behaviour. She also concluded that SI dysfunction is not a disease that will get worse however, it impacts child’s life to a great extent. 

Children with SI Dysfunction may have learning difficulties and may often feel uncomfortable about themselves. It is difficult for them to cope with ordinary situations and can easily be stressed or anxious at home, classroom or public places.

Some issues like lack of focus within the classroom, handwriting difficulties, hyperactivity, impulsivity, inattentiveness, clumsiness, falling from chair frequently, difficulties in copying from blackboard are seen among SI dysfunction children within classrooms.

Sensory reactivity issues such as tactile defensiveness, sensory seeking behaviours (spinning, jumping, touching everything, not being able to sit still), disorganisation, sensitivity towards minimal noise, reading and writing difficulties, getting frequent headaches by end of day, are some of sensory issues that occur due to lack of brain’s registration and modulation.

To combat above stated sensory integrative difficulties and improve child’s focus within the classroom Occupational Therapists often set up sensory boxes having different sensory items that can be helpful for 
children.

 Items such as a weighted vest, lap weight, shoulder weight provides deep pressure to larger body part dampening the tactile defensiveness. Due to deep pressure proprioceptive receptors cause calming effect on body helping the child to stay focused within the classroom. Weighted items reduce the hyperactivity and impulsivity. Likewise, fidgets help the child to concentrate and reduce high levels of anxiety. 

 Concept Of Sensory Box

Sensory Box is a large container having different sensory items in it. These items support the child in being focused and engaged on given task, attentive and well-organised in his daily routine activities within the classroom.


This is a smart concept to simplify lives of everyone (pupil, teacher and parents) which involves utilising different sensory resources that support child’s self-regulation, learning, positive behaviour. These boxes help the child to provide sensory input needed to keep him alert, oriented and calm.

Weighted Items:

Shoulder and neck weights, lap weights, wrist, ankle weights, snakey weights,
weighted scarfs are weighted products for:

ü  Calming down child and works well to reduce anger, aggression
ü  Reducing impulsivity and hyperactivity
ü  Providing tactile-proprioceptive input, as the body gets consistent deep pressure.
ü  Supporting to stay focused on the task.


Pencil grips:

ü  Supports in improving handwriting legibility.
ü  Provides tactile-proprioceptive input. Resource


Sponge ball and other Fidget Toys:

ü  Stress Ball: Reduces anxiety levels in different environments such as a
classroom or shopping mall. Facilitates attention and concentration.

ü  Use of different magnetic balls can work as a fidget. They are quite handy and can be easily purchased from online retailers.

ü  Older kids can use paperclips, Blue Tac, or mechanical pencils. While sitting at a desk, manipulating, or linking paper clips together can work as the incentive in class.

ü  Doodling on paper is another way to keep oneself busy while focusing in the classroom.

ü  Making bracelets and fidgeting with that can be helpful too.

ü  Play -Doh can also work as fidget toy as it helps to improve hand strength too. 

ü  Other common fidgets can be giant nut and bolt, key chains, fidgeting fleece bags, finger squeezers, tactile balls (koosh ball), pencil Topper fidgets, sensory ruler.


Wobble Cushion and Wedge:

ü  Wobble cushion can be an important classroom tool for seating and focus.
ü  It provides tactile-proprioceptive input
ü  Encourages dynamic sitting which causes improved balance and postural control.
ü  Strengthens core body muscles and back pain.
ü  It improves the posture of child and reduces slouching



Weighted Vest:

ü  Provides Proprioceptive input and supports in calming down a child as the body gets consistent deep pressure.
ü  The steady application of pressure helps a child in reducing the self-stimulatory behaviour.
ü  Improves attention and concentration level.
ü  Reduces distractibility, impulsivity, meltdowns and emotional liability.

   Weighted Vest should be always prescribed by an OT as she is trained to understand how much weighted vest is needed by the child to provide just right amount of deep pressure depending on his age and level of sensory integrative difficulty.


Squease Jackets:

ü  Are inflatable vests meant for providing receiving deep pressure evenly across the torso
ü  They contain a hand pump which can be used for inflating and deflating the air pressure.
ü  Provides the amount of deep pressure suitable to child’s needs.
ü  Easy to wear and operate hand pump.
ü  Helps in self-regulation. Resource


Ear Defenders:

ü  Helps to reduce auditory sensitivities and distraction.
ü  Improves concentration within a classroom
ü  Reduces non-attending behaviour such as getting up frequently from the seat and moving around in the classroom, fidgeting.Resource


Writing Slope:

ü  Supports inappropriate writing.
ü  Provides ergonomically correct posture, supporting hands and wrist.
ü  Reduces strain on neck and shoulder muscles as the child leans forwards.
ü  Aids in writing and holding tools correctly.Resource 


Massage Roller:                                    

     

ü  Provides proprioceptive and tactile input
ü  Good source of relaxation.
ü  Quickly calms child.
ü  Can be used while studying or while listening to teacher’s instructions. Resource 


Timers:

ü  Good source of organisation. Timers assists the child in keeping a check on time while completing any written task in hand.
ü  Digital times: Assists child in reading hours, minutes, seconds and milliseconds.
ü  Sand times: This resource is used as better visual support for young children who get confused with numbers and have time reading difficulties. Resource 


Thera-bands and Stretchy Tubes:

ü  Provides stretch release to the whole body                 
ü  Provides sensory input to joints and ligaments (proprioceptive input).
ü  Helpful for movement break.
ü  Good resource of exercise. Resource



Chewy Tubes:

ü  Prevents thumb-sucking
ü  Has calming, focusing and organising response.
ü  Reduces anxiety levels
ü  Substitute for nail biting and chewing
ü  Substitute for oral stimulation and sensory input (kids putting crayons, fingers, pencils, sweatshirt, cloth strings)
ü  Reduces self-stimulating behaviours (hand flapping, rocking, spitting)
ü  Provides sensory input (tactile, proprioceptive) to mouth which has a calming effect.Resource