Suggested Toys For Kids With Sensory Integration Disorder

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Moon sand is among the highest rated toys for kids with sensory integration disorder. Moon sand doesn’t dry out and is light to the touch. It can be used several times over and it’s safe to sanitize it if you need to.

Moon sand also comes in several different colors including white, blue, purple, and pink. It’s great for kids who shy away from touching anything and ones who love to pick up everything in sight.

For a toy that’s better for developing motor skills, check out a Koosh ball. Koosh balls are squeezable and are also used as stress balls. They’re about three inches in diameter, so they’re great even for littler kids, but only recommended for those who are three or older.

It contains natural latex rubber so it has a nice feel and smell to it. Koosh balls come in several different colors and designs so kids can have their pick of them. Another type of ball to look into is a Sensory ball.

Sensory balls are similar to Koosh balls, but they’re not as soft. Sensory balls are more for bouncing and they’re bigger than something a toddler could squeeze. The unique texture that the balls have is perfect for kids of all ages and work well with games like monkey in the middle.

They can also be used for juggling and playing a game of catch as well. They come in different colors and sizes. For those who don’t want to play with a ball, but need something for their hands, Perplexus is a toy to check out.

It’s a puzzle inside of a sphere that you have to solve by turning and flipping the sphere. There are several different puzzles to purchase, including one called an Epic one that has been labeled as one of the most difficult ones to solve.

Perplexus puzzles help kids develop dexterity and motor skills as well as hand-eye coordination. Because the sphere is smooth, it’s perfect for those who don’t want a lot of texture on their toys

For younger kids with sensory integration disorder, there’s the Kidoozie Hop and Squeak pogo jumper. This pogo jumper comes with comfort grip handles and can be used both indoor and outdoor. Even though it’s in the children’s section, it can be used by teenagers also.

The jumpers have wide bottoms so kids won’t have to fight to keep their balance when using them. The jumpers hold up to 250 pounds so any kid can enjoy a turn on it. It works great for high sensory seekers and kids who have low muscle tone.

Baking – A Multi-Disciplinary and Multi-Sensory Activity For Young Children

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Without a doubt, baking is one of the most multidisciplinary and multisensory activities you can do with young children. It is one activity that cuts across all disciplines as it provides an environment for the child to develop fine motor skills, learn literacy, mathematics and even scientific concept in the most incidental manner. It also entices and engages the child through all his senses. He not only touches, but he could see, smell, hear and even taste. It also helps to focus attention, as it is something that the child needs to do from start to finish, or else they do not get to eat their baked goodies!

Before you start, it is important to have some basic hygiene and safety rules about being in the kitchen. Before handling any items, it is good to inculcate good hygiene habits, like proper hand washing, and not to lick their fingers or spatula! Explain to young children items that are “no” to touch or to play with. These include things like electrical sockets, cables, knives and the hot oven. Label these items in red, so that the child sees them, as young children tend to forget easily.

The literacy of baking
1. Create an ingredient list.
2. Create an item list.
3. Have a simple recipe in hand. Get children to read them.
4. Name and label kitchen items.
5. Start with a storybook.
6. Create a menu. Eg; muffin and juice, chocolate chip cookies and milkshake.

The math of baking
1. The recipe should be listed in simple manageable steps and read in an ordinal manner. First, pour the flour into the bowl; second, pour the water and so on. In this way, you are teaching your child ordinal numbers.
2. Measuring flour – learn about mass.
3. Measuring water or any other liquids – learn about capacity.
4. Measuring spoonfuls of items – the difference between a teaspoon and a tablespoon, that is comparing sizes as well as amount of items.
5. Use terms like ‘more’, ‘less’, ‘a lot’, ‘a few’, ‘most’, ‘least’, ‘little’ wherever possible to build up the kids’ mathematical vocabulary.

The science of baking
1. Identify solids (eg; flour, sugar) and liquids (eg; water, melted butter).
2. Observe changes in things. Eg; What happens when flour mixes with water? What happens when baking powder is added to water? When things start to bake, why the muffins rise or the cookies turn brown?
3. The heat of things. What’s temperature, what’s heat and what’s hot?
4. Smell that! Why and how we smell?

The fine-motor of baking
1. Pouring
2. Mixing
3. Kneading
4. Rolling
5. Cutting
6. Sprinkling
7. Colouring
8. Decorating

These baking steps all involved using the fingers, exercising the child’s fine motor, a pre-requisite to handling writing items and learning how to write.

Now, don’t you have a great recipe for fun and learning?

Sensory Stimulation Activities – Learning Pathways To The Brain

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Sensory Pathways

“What do we think of when we think of education?

The schools. Why don’t we instruct parents scientifically about how to educate their children? The earlier we start stimulating the brain the better. Why don’t we motivate and instruct parents, grandparents and others around the child? Can we conceive of any programme more important?” -Dr Luis Machado, Minister for the Development of Human Intelligence in Venezuela

2 Sensory Pathways

To create the learning pathways vital to your child’s future, he/she will need a rich diet of sensory experiences.

It is through these sensory experiences only you can provide that brain growth is stimulated and neurons (brain cells) establish more links with each other.

The alternative is that many cells die because they do not receive the stimulus for growth.

There exists a window of opportunity when your child is ready to develop in specific areas. It is at these crucial times that sensory stimulation provided by the experiences you give will have the greatest impact on his/her development. The windows of opportunity for sight and motor skills close early in life. They are opportunities that should not be missed because they will not come again.

Don’t panic!

Being a parent can seem a daunting proposition especially when ‘well-meaning’ friends and family tell you “it doesn’t get any easier.” A lot of what you do instinctively will help your baby grow and develop and our children still develop regardless of our input, be it negative or positive. Obviously we would want our influence to be a positive one.

Most of us when given a baby to hold for the first time will ‘rock’ back and fro. This instinctive act on our part actually helps the baby’s brain grow. It stimulates what is known as the vestibular system.

Give your baby regular periodic vestibular stimulation like rocking and he/she will gain weight faster, develop vision and hearing earlier and develop distinct sleep cycles at a younger age.

Would you like me to repeat that last sentence!

When you consider we only use about 4% of our brains the more we can help our children at this crucial period the greater the future implications for learning and life.

Hearing Alert!

If your child appears unable to hear you properly it is probable he/she will develop speech problems. If the problem is not identified early on it is likely he/she will not be able to speak properly. This needn’t happen if he/she receives regular hearing tests.

One of the most common conditions is known as ‘glue ear’ and if it is not treated can lead to a dramatic loss of hearing with accompanying learning difficulties. If a child can speak fluently they will eventually write fluently. The ability to speak fluently is therefore one of the most important gifts you can give to a child. If you spoke three languages in your house your infant would learn to speak them all. How long would it take us?

The ability to speak fluently is absolutely crucial to your child’s future success.

Start talking to your baby from birth. Although he/she won’t be able to answer he/she will be able to hear. The more speech he/she hears the better able he/she will be able to reproduce it later.

When you talk to your baby look into his/her eyes. You may then find yourself ‘taking turns’ with baby – she waves her arms, you talk; he waves his arms to get you to talk more and so on. Once baby is taking turns to ‘talk’ turn it into a game. When baby makes a sound imitate it in a singing voice and make more entertaining movements for the baby – shake your head, throw your arms up, your baby will make more sounds to keep you play acting to amuse him/her

We are looking specifically at how your child develops in his/her first crucial months.

This is the time when you will assume the responsibility for your child’s development. We shall look at distinct periods of growth:

Birth to 1 ½ months

1 ½ to 3 ½ months

3 ½ to 5 ½ months

These represent windows of opportunity for:

Language Development

Intellectual development

Social & Emotional Development

Motor Development

In other articles we shall also examine:

The distinct characteristics of your baby during a specific period of growth;

What you can do to assist that development.

Why the most important time of a child’s development is before they start school.

So whether you intend to home-school your child or not you are your child’s first and most important teacher.

Before retirement Phil Rowlands was a primary school headteacher in the UK for 27 years. He has a deep interest in brain-based-research particularly with regard to how it impacts on children’s learning and is the author of several learning programs including the multi-sensory early years math program, “Ensure Your Child Succeeds At Math”