Reach for These Animals for Your Child’s Sensory Needs
Carmen Knight, MAT, Early Childhood & Special Education
Sensory Integration Disorder affects a significant portion of our preschool and school-age children and is a common issue with children that are on the Autism Spectrum. Providing these children with a way to deal with their need for sensory input in a way that is fun and educational is crucial. We can do so by providing them with a fun sensory experience that will help them deal with the stress they are feeling. SmileMakers has sensory specific items that provide assistance in these areas.
Farm Animal Stress Balls/Relaxables have a smooth surface that helps with a child's sensory processing and can be squeezed in many ways to provide that deep pressure sensory input needed to calm your child. Early Interventionists and therapists can use these animals in different ways to achieve goals set for the child. The animals come in a sturdy box that turns into a farm that will encourage imaginative play. You can use this for play therapy for hours, all while meeting the child's sensory needs.
Using these animals for preschool children allows you to work on language development. Your little patients can use them to practice sounds made by each animal and to identify colors of the animals and the farm. The name and color will assist the child in developing the cognitive skills needed to be more age appropriate like their peers.
Another fantastic item that SmileMakers has to help with your patient's sensory needs is the Dinosaur Bendables.
As fun as this toy looks, it provides many educational opportunities. Younger children can use this toy to identify colors and body parts. Mobility can be achieved by placing these sensory fidget toys around the room and requesting the child to find a specific color dinosaur.
For the older children that you work with, you can use the farm animals and dinosaurs to work on matching and counting. Dinosaur Bendables and Farm Animal Relaxables can also be used to work on spatial concepts by asking the child to place the animals on top or under the chair or inside or outside of the box. These are just a couple of portable and affordable items that can be used to help your patients develop and improve sensory motor skills.