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Understanding Sensory Seeking

Sensory Seeking is when you crave sensory input such as lights, movements, sounds & smells. A typical child with a proper developing sensory system will seek out sensory stimulation in an appropriate manner through play and exploration.

Sensory Processing skills help your child learn about their environment through their senses (touch, taste, see, smell, feel, hear, and movement).

If a child is unable to process information appropriately they will either seek or avoid that information. For example, if a child touches sand or grass for the first time, how do they react? Some children will cry and curl up their toes. Others will dive head first into the sand or try to rip up the grass.

If a child is described as a sensory seeker, they require additional information to help them interpret the input from their environment. A sensory seeker can display some of these examples, Licking, biting, mouthing inedible objects, crashing (into people, walls, objects), fidgeting, and impulsivity impacting one's safety.

When a child displays significant sensory-seeking behaviors that impact their ability to properly function, attend and socialize, this becomes a concern.

I provide “heavy work” and organized play for children who are sensory seekers. Providing children with deep pressure helps to calm and organize their sensory systems. Body socks, Lyra swings, tunnels, and pressure vests are just a few examples.

I love using a scooter board. Have your child carefully navigate through cones trying not to knock them down, zoom off the wall for “rocket ship” blasts, or crash into a pile of pillows. All provide them with heavy work and sensory stimulation in an appropriate manner.

Trampolines, jump ropes, and a therapy ball are all great ways to help your sensory seeker get their energy out in a positive way all while giving their body the right amount of sensory input that will allow them to improve their attention.

If your child appears to have sensory-seeking behaviors, speak to an Occupational Therapist who specializes in sensory integration and request a sensory diet plan to address their specific needs.

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