Children with autism spectrum disorder and who struggle with sensory processing disorder are easily bored. In addition, they have difficulty regulating their emotions, so they may often experience meltdowns, a type of tantrum the child can’t control. A human’s five senses are critical to our lives. They help us guide us through everything from the daily tasks (walking, eating) to more complex ones (playing sports, critical thinking). For children on the autism spectrum, however, it’s challenging to deal with everyday sensory stimulation. This inability to cope makes them sensitive to the world around them, which often feels overwhelming.
By stimulating the senses through sensory play, you can help develop a child’s creativity while encouraging social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development. Sensory play also helps strengthen the brain’s neural connections, which leads to more significant learning potential. And, fortunately, there are many sensory activities for autistic kids that can help change the way their brains react to touch, sound, sight, and movement. Through sensory play, the child can benefit from a longer attention span and learn to communicate efficiently with their peers.
Sensory play stimulates the five senses: touch, smell, sight, taste, sound. It also stimulates the vestibular (the sense of balance) and proprioceptive (responsible for the different parts of our bodies) systems. Sensory play offers a natural way for kids to discover and understand their world, which helps develop:
Language skills: Pretend play helps develop a child’s language skills by increasing their vocabulary.
Fine motor skills: Manipulating small objects aids in hand-eye coordination and strengthens the muscles in the child’s hands and wrists.
Gross motor skills: Running, jumping, and throwing skills are excellent for strengthening large muscles through body movements.
Social skills: It helps build imagination and teaches the importance of sharing and taking turns.
Self-control: Enhances the child’s ability to respond appropriately to sensory stimulation, self-control, and self-regulation.
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