Tag Archives: vestibular

Why a trip to The Forest is good for those with Sensory Processing Disorder

Why a trip to The Forest is good for those with Sensory Processing Disorder

The Forest is a great place for someone with Sensory Processing Disorder and visiting a Forestry Commission site means that there are toilets, a café, parking and a park too. Suitable all year round both day and night, here are some of the reasons that I believe that it is a great place for Sensory Seekers and Sensory Avoiders.Why a trip to The Forest is good for those with Sensory Processing Disorder

Why a trip to the Forest is good for SPD and The Visual Sense (vision/seeing)

Visually there is so much to see in The Forest, but without it being too much (with the colours being mostly shades of green and browns). I do like how each time The Forest can be visited it may be different as the seasons change, giving something new to look out for, whilst providing that security of routine. Likewise The Forest gives the option of moving into the shade/dark or coming out into the open for more light. The Forest also has opportunities for getting really up close to things – as well as viewing them from a distance. You could even visit on a dark evening and take glow sticks.

Tonight's late night activity involved heading to the forest for a picnic dinner and stickman games.

A post shared by Joy Gloucestershire UK (@pinkoddy) on

Why a trip to the Forest is good for SPD and  The Auditory Sense (Hearing)

The Forest is a great place for the auditory sense because it can be so quiet – or so noisy depending on how you need it. Listen to gentle sounds like leaves crunching, birds, taping twigs, the wind, water – or for those that need it, make loud noises!

Why a trip to the Forest is good for SPD and The Proprioception (Sense of body position, from information received through the muscles, and joints – force, speed and control) 

The Forest gives them the opportunity to explore Proprioception – allowing different body positions using fallen/cut trees, or (carefully) hang from a branch, exploring going fast or slow, and even things like pouring water into a cup – as it does not matter if it spills over on to the floor.Why a trip to The Forest is good for those with Sensory Processing Disorder

Why a trip to the Forest is good for SPD and The Vestibular Sense – Movement and Balance/Gravity

The Forest is great for a Seeker in the Vestibular sense – with plenty of places to jump, spin, do star jumps, skip, hop, dance, play tag and run about. Do be careful with them taking excessive risks with climbing though – however we found that most of the trees were not climbable with the lower branches removed. The Forest is also suitable for taking bikes and scooters too. There is plenty of opportunity to practise their co-ordination, gross and fine motor skills. Or there’s the option of Go Ape.

Why a trip to the Forest is good for SPD and Olfactory (smell)

I think that The Forest is good in terms of smell as there are scents to enjoy/experience but it is not overwhelming. If more smell is required you could bring a scent with you that they can hold and sniff when needed.

Why a trip to the Forest is good for SPD and Tactile (touch)

The Forest offers lots of things to touch (mainly on their own terms too). There are trees, leaves, mud, water, flowers, mushrooms, stones, moss, pinecones, acorns, etc, etc. If you are feeling really brave (and I suggest spare clothes) why not let Seekers go barefoot – and splash in muddy puddles. If they are avoiders you can gently encourage them to try a range of new textures and sensations on small parts of their body and slowly build it up (eg start with finger tips until they can touch it with their whole hand). Seekers will be happy to walk around carrying as many sticks as they can too!Why a trip to The Forest is good for those with Sensory Processing Disorder

Why a trip to the Forest is good for SPD and Gustatory (taste)

Of course it is best not to eat things that you do not know what they are – but The Forest is a perfect place for a picnic and there are tables provided. Bring their favourite foods and make the day more special.

Can you think of any other ways a trip to The Forest is good for those with Sensory Processing Disorder?

For more information if you wonder if your child has Sensory Processing Disorder please read this post.

 

I receive free parking passes and material from the Forestry Commission. Words and opinions are honest and my own.

Vestibular Sensory Seeker - Movement and balance

Movement: Do you have a Sensory Seeker in the Vestibular Sense?

The Sensory Seeker: Vestibular – (Movement & Balance)

Vestibular Sensory Seeker - Movement and balanceOne of the areas of Sensory Processing Disorder is trouble with the Vestibular sense (that is movement to you and me). My Sensory Seeker is one of the ones who just cannot get enough movement (it also linked to balance but we will talk in terms of movement to keep it simple). One of the things people comment is does he have ADHD – because he is always on the go. Even when playing computer games he is constantly jumping (and I mean for ages), or if he has managed to sit down he is tapping his foot on the floor. He spins around on the spot or tips himself upside-down (usually a headstand on my sofa). He has always been an excessive risk taker – with no fear of heights and climbing really high even when he was really young.

How can you tell that you have a Sensory Seeker in the Vestibular Sense (Movement/Balance):

  • Rock while standing or sitting
  • Constantly fidgeting/tapping
  • Always on the go!
  • Jump & bounce a lot
  • Can’t sit still in the car/ on the mat
  • Rocking/ movement seems to be the only way to calm them (babies)
  • Seek out intense movement activities e.g. moving toys, merry-go-rounds, adult spinning, see-saws, hanging upside down
  • Take excessive risks with moving or climbing
  • Become overly excitable during movement activities
  • Runs rather than walks
  • Is fast but not always well-coordinated

Meeting the needs of The Sensory Seeker for Movement/Balance:

Basically provide as many opportunities for movement as possible. Big movements, not precise as your Sensory Seeker may struggle with this. Encourage movement throughout the day, star jumps, skipping, hopping,  dancing (musical statutes is good for the balance part), sing songs with actions etc – something that does not take long and can easily be fitted in wherever you are and whatever you are doing. Try to encourage back & forth movement rather than circular though, as it is more calming. Give them chores which require them to move around (setting the table, vacuuming, setting the table)

Outdoor Activities to encourage Movement/Balance:

outdoor movement opportunities for the sensory seekerOutdoor play is a really good idea – especially if they get a good chance to run. Before school my Sensory Seeker often goes on the trampoline (we have a 14ft so there’s lots of room for plenty of movement). I walk the boys to school – well I walk, my 7 year old rides his bike and my Sensory Seeker goes on his scooter. We found that a 3 wheeled scooter was much easier for him than a bike. Play games with movement – a favourite here is tag, plus we have a swing ball in the back garden. Go for walks – we like to make them more interesting for example by going at night and taking glow sticks. Give them a section of the garden to dig and tend to. Or you may want to think about getting a dog and have your Sensory Seeker take it for walks.

Days out or Activities to help the Sensory Seeker with Movement

I like to keep all my boys active anyway, so it is easy to incorporate movement into our activities.  Swimming is good for movement and our Sensory Seeker has a weekly lesson. This is not only good for meeting his movement needs but teaching him a life skill. Rock climbing is another good activity, our local center has special lessons for younger children as well as free climbing times. We love to visit theme parks and other day trips/activities that gives the Sensory Seeker plenty of opportunity for movement (spinning, being tipped upside-down, etc). Other ideas include bowling, ice-skating, canoeing. Our Sensory Seeker absolutely loved Go Ape – plenty of movement and balance.

I would love to hear about other ideas you have for encourage movement into the daily lives of children, to help my Sensory Seeker with his Vestibular sense.

This page was originally featured on Pinkoddy but has been updated for this blog.