A great way to fall back into homeschooling is to incorporate sensory play into your day. A high-quality sensory diet is essential to homeschooling autism. You can reap the benefits of sensory play in your homeschool regardless of any special needs. Engaging all the senses in a child will benefit him academically in so many ways.
Benefits of Sensory Play
Sensory play helps the brain build neural pathways. The more neural pathways your child has the more complex tasks he can achieve. Doing some sort of sensory activity before a difficult subject can make it easier to learn.
Sensory play can help calm a child who has struggled through a task. Here in Autismland, a sensory activity always precedes and follows writing but for two very different reasons. The first activity helps prepare his brain for higher level thinking to accomplish the writing assignment successfully. The subsequent activity helps to calm him to continue our day. Both are essential parts of his sensory diet.
Sensory play can help in language development and social interaction. Join in with your child and describe everything. I mean, everything. How does it feel? What is it made of? What can you do with it? My rule is that if it pops in my head then I say it out loud to him. It’s a great way to show your child how to organize his thoughts about what he is feeling, doing or seeing. It can also open up a plethora of opportunities to work on social skills like playing together, taking turns, or sharing toys.
Examples of Sensory Activities
Sensory play is any activity that utililzes one of the five senses.
- Drawing letters in shaving cream
- playing with slime
- sensory bags to squish and move around
- kinetic sand
- Sensory boxes with sand and other items
- Slides, trampolines and swings
- weighted vests or blankets
- Brushing and joint compressions
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to get sensory activities into your day. The problem isn’t what to do but rather how to incorporate them into what is probably an already full homeschool day. I schedule what we love to refer to as brain breaks into our day just like our academics. Without them, not every subject can be accomplished due to some sort of meltdown or brain block. Sensory activities, in my opinion, are just as important if not more than any other activity we do. Their benefits far outweigh the time out of our spent doing them.
Penny is a mom living in Autismland with her husband, Michael, and two children, Logan, who has autism, and his sister, Madison. Based on her own personal and often difficult experiences with autism, she aims to help families who have children with autism on ways to navigate their world from pre-diagnosis to adulthood with hope, encouragement, and frugality. You find her often hilarious antics at Our Crazy Adventures In Autismland, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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