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sensory integration tips for parents

Sensory integration tips for parents are given through an interview with Carol Stock Kranowitz, author of The Out-Of-Sync Child (see book below). She states that these children can go either way, that is, prefer the extremes of sensory stimulation. For example, one child may like touching everything so this child likes to bump into people and furniture. Another may be the opposite, where the child shies away from any kind of touch. This is the first kind of sensory integration issue.

She explains another kind:

“The second broad kind of sensory integration dysfunction is one in which the child has difficulty processing sensory information. (This child may or may not have a modulation problem described above.) The child's central nervous system is inefficient at integrating, interpreting, analyzing, associating, and generally making use of sensory information. For example, the teacher will say, "Get out your pencil," and the child will get out the ruler. Although he has handled pencils many times, each time is the first time. The result of a processing problem is dyspraxia. Dyspraxia is the inability to carry out a sequence of actions that are necessary to do something the child wants to do, such as get on a bike, or climb a ladder, or answer a question.”

Kranowitz states, “It is unusual reactions to touch and movement that suggest Sensory Integration dysfunction.”

So what are her tips? 

“Be a detective! Keep notes on your child's atypical behavior. Does his reaction to a sensory stimulus occur with frequency, intensity and duration? For instance, does the child have a heck of a time calming down after getting a splinter or being knocked down?”

“Ask yourself the "WH" questions, i.e., When did it happen? Where? Who was involved? What happened or what was said? How did your child respond? After taking notes for a while, you may be able to see the pattern and find the answer to the trickier question of "Why did it happen?"

“Find an occupational therapist certified to provide Sensory Integration treatment. (Only about 20% of occupational therapists are.) For a list of certified therapists, contact Sensory Integration International .“

For children who need to integrate motion, balance, and “floating” a popular activity is swinging. Consider these sensory integration swings or the floating bed that also swings!

Sensory Swings


Floating Bed

Another popular activity is the Wii. Games such as the bowling and tennis will help with eye-hand coordination as well as motion, timing and space integration.

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Sensory Index

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