by Jill Perry, MHA, MS, OTR/L
I’d like to start a conversation about the social impact of sensory processing challenges. We see how poor balance, body awareness, and touch sensitivities alienate kids with sensory and motor difficulties from their peers. I treat children with these issues individually and provide sensory diets to families and teachers all the time. However, the question that is often posed to me is, “What can we do about this in-the-moment?”
Even with therapy and frequent opportunities for sensory and motor breaks, it takes a long time to help kids through these issues. In the mean time, they are annoying friends and siblings and effecting negative impressions on adults. Although there are no magic answers, I have found that working on sensory processing issues in the context of a small group to be extremely helpful.
While kids are engaged in a highly motivating movement activity, we call out “freeze-frame” to stop an offensive action or exaggerated response. We then talk about what just happened and what we can do to change the action and reaction, re-wind, and start again. Once kids know this is part of our group process, they are open to “freeze-frame”, “rewind” and “start again” and become more aware of how their sensory challenges impact others. What do you find helpful in your homes, therapy, classrooms, and play grounds?
Image by Paul Sableman