OT Corner: Wearing Sensory Strategies
by Stacy Menz, DPT, Board Certified Pediatric Clinical Specialist
Receiving proprioceptive input throughout the day is important for children who seek sensory input. Sensory breaks are an important part of their day to assist with regulation so they can function in whatever situation they may be a part of. That being said, it may not always be possible to get in the needed sensory break. Here are some different options that may help them meet their sensory needs throughout the day:
Hats: Tighter caps or hats can provide input to a child’s head throughout the day. This is especially beneficial for prepping those kids that have difficulties tolerating hair cuts.
Tighter clothing: Tighter shirts, such as Under Armor can provide some input and comfort throughout the day. These can be worn under clothing if needed as well.
Wrist Fidgets: A variety of bracelets can be bought or made to be used as fidgets in order to help maintain attention. Rubber bands, thera tube, thera bands, Velcro, beads, hair elastics, etc. could all be used.
Chewy necklaces: Great for those kids that come home with drenched shirts from chewing on them all day.
Sunglasses: For those visually sensitive kids with sunlight and lighting in rooms.
Puff paint pick: Some kids have the urge to pick at things throughout the day, whether it be themselves or items. Buying some cheap t-shirts and decorating them with puff paint can be a great alternative strategy. This way they’re picking at their shirt all day instead, as long as you don’t mind finding trails of puff paint.
Self Regulation Reminders: Some kids need reminders of when their regulation levels start raising in certain situation or going the other way and getting extremely low. Verbal cues don’t always work, especially in busier areas where there may be a lot of stimulus to become overwhelmed by. Visual reminders can help with this. Make a key chain out of tiny laminated visuals to attach to your child’s belt loop, bracelet or backpack. This way it’s with them and easy to refer to when they need a regulatory strategy and it can be their choice.
Featured Guest Columnist: Stacy Menz, DPT, Board Certified Pediatric Clinical Specialist
Stacy, Starfish Therapies’ founder, is a pediatric physical therapist with both a Masters and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Boston University and is a board certified pediatric clinical specialist. She stumbled into this field when she realized she would get to play with kids all day long! In reality, she loves making a difference in the lives of kids and their families. In addition to doing rehabilitative work with kids, she also promotes overall wellness and prevention of developmental delays through education. Stacy is actively involved in her professional organizations and is on the editorial board of Impact, the publication of the Private Practice Section of the APTA, and serves on the education committee of the Pediatric Special Interest Group for the California Physical Therapy Association. Stacy and her colleagues are also actively involved in research and have an article submitted for publication.
Please support our contributing authors and visit Starfish Therapies
PediaStaff is Hiring!All Jobs
PediaStaff hires pediatric and school-based professionals nationwide for contract assignments of 2 to 12 months. We also help clinics, hospitals, schools, and home health agencies to find and hire these professionals directly. We work with Speech-Language Pathologists, Occupational and Physical Therapists, School Psychologists, and others in pediatric therapy and education.