Sensory Integration is the process by which the brain takes in information from the environment through the five senses, organizes the input, and responds appropriately. Many children struggle with sensory processing--a problem which interferes with both development and learning. Often, children need assistance in learning to control their sensory systems to be alert enough, calm enough, or focused enough to succeed in school. Additionally, certain primitive reflexes that all children have at birth, can linger. If those reflexes are not well integrated they can hinder optimal learning. The following activities are designed to promote integration of the primitive reflexes and help children learn to maintain appropriate levels of alertness.
Proprioceptive Activities/Heavy Work
Proprioceptive work (also known as heavy work) is a great way to help over-active children calm and to help under-active children perk up. These activities are common activities that can help your child achieve a better level of self-modulation in a variety of natural environments. Proprioceptive activities also help children with poor balance develop better balance because adequate proprioception is critical for balance. Check them out. Thank you to Therapeutic Activities for Home and School by Your Therapy Source for these great ideas!
Carry grocery bags
Carry, push or pull full laundry baskets
Carry heavy books and place on shelves
Push and steer grocery cart at store
Push and steer a child in a stroller
Push/pull furniture to clean under or to rearrange room
Push wheelbarrow full of dirt, leaves, or sticks, etc.
Pull a loaded wagon
Pull full backpack on wheels, suitcase on wheels or trash can on wheels
Push/pull doors and push revolving doors
Jump onto couch pillows piled on floor or bed sheets/pillows after changing the bed (Supervise Closely!)
Jump on trampoline
Play tug of war
Hang from monkey bars
Wear a backpack (with padded straps) with heavy books or dried beans in ti for 15-20 minute intervals. Do not repeat again for 1-2 hours.
Practice doing Animal Walks (See the video under the Body Coordination tab for a great ideas)
Participate in any sports activities that require jumping or resistance such as swimming, running, martial arts, etc.
Try soft background music while your child works to improve focus.
Having trouble getting your child to focus on schoolwork? Try a musical energy break.
Vestibular activities/Movementfrom Therapeutic Activities for Home and School
Remember to listen and watch child's responses. If child asks to step make sure to stop the activity.
Use a rocking chair
Use a sit-n-spin or dizzy disc
Use swings where the child can touch the ground with his/her own feet and control the speed and direction of the swing
push child on the swing
forward and back
slide to side
Have child spin on tire swing themselves--twisting it and let it unwind
Roller skate or ice skate
For calming activities have the child:
get into an upside down position
swing with the same speed and direction
read book in a rocking chair
give a firm, bear hug
Ride scooter and bicycles (with helmet)
Run in large circles
Log roll down hills
Go up and down on see saw
Go on merry-go-round
The development of the mind comes through movement.