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chores or life activities as sensory seeking activities

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I need to come up with more sensory diet stuff for my 7 yo with vestibular and proprioceptive sensory seeking issues. It is easiest to implement consistently if they fit into life somehow and don't require stopping everything and having him do activities. Right now we consistently do a skin brushing/limb squeezing in the morning, then he rocks in a glider for a while and listens to an audiobook, and after breakfast he does a heavy work chore, usually scrubbing dirty spots on the kitchen floor on hands and knees. He was so much calmer the day after his one OT session (not doing it currently as the wait list here is quite long) and it would be wonderful to have him be that way every day, but I can't spend an hour a day just doing sensory stuff with him. So looking for suggestions for other chores that would be good, or ways to make life activities into sensory activities.

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Sweeping the patio/deck

Loading the washer - he aims the dirty clothes in like playing basketball as my washer is top loading. My washer gets noisy when the washer starts so my kid finds it entertaining.

Bubble bath - my kid loves popping the bubbles and bopping the rubber duckie

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You might search on Pinterest for "sensory printables" and see if they have task cards or activity cards for sensory activities that you could do at home. If he would do 3 activities if you set out 3 cards, it might take up some time without needing you to manage it too much.


Then add "card time" before or after something that is already in your schedule (like snack or meal times, brushing teeth, outside time, etc).


I am currently doing a thing where we write two suggestions on either side of a Popsicle stick. Then draw x number of Popsicle sticks. Then child can choose between the two activities on the Popsicle stick and choose to do that activity 1st, 2nd, or 3rd.


Another idea is if a sensory tub might help but you don't have space or supervision for a table, you can fill a tub and then put the lid on when it is done and put it out of reach (or maybe even lock it up in a larger lock box like a footlocker with a lock).


Maybe you can let him earn x minutes with the sensory tub if he does his activity cards.


My son has loved putting an arm or foot into a sensory tub like this, or looking for toys hidden inside, and he knows he will have it taken away if he spills on purpose, and then it can be fine for him to pick up or sweep up any little pieces.


Just some more ideas that are fairly easy to set up and then fairly easy for kids to potentially be more independent with.


Edit: it is probably easiest if you look for things that you can have several kids do at the same time, I think it is easier that way a lot of the time, bc then those kids are also occupied! And it fits into the daily routine better when it is more of an "all the kids" activity than a "where do I find the time with one kid" activity.

Edited by Lecka
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My dd has an AWFUL vestibular system.  We need to do Astronaut therapy with her every second day.  Essentially you "spin" them on a therapy board.  But after a period of time we ended up buying her one of these swings:  https://inyardproducts.com/collections/all and now we spin her in one of these.  they are awesome for Proprioceptive  as well.  They have a blurb about it on their site https://inyardproducts.com/blogs/blog/117413957-10-reasons-to-purchase-a-sensory-swing-for-your-child


Now she can go down and "therapy" herself.  Which is the goal...to hand off her self regulation to her.  We also take ours down and make it into a tube on the ground and she does some work in it that way also.


For my dd she will ONLY do therapy if it is fun.  She has chores and responsibilities but due to numerous other issues we cannot make chores/work/errands be her sensory diet. We need to set aside time daily and just get it done.  But there are some ways that we help her that are just FUN.


Swimming is AMAZING.  Particularly underwater - deep as in swimming for dive sticks etc.


Any playground that has cool equipment and things that will spin you etc.


She will be starting Circus school in Sept.  She did it years before - long before we knew there were issues - and I think stopping made things worse for her.  I think it was built in therapy that kept some of these issues regulated well thus keeping us in the dark longer.  She is specifically taking Aerial classes.  So lots of flying through the air and swing from thing to thing.  http://www.zacadacircus.com/site/classes/5519


Even spinning in an office chair is good for the VS - just make sure you go both directions equally!!  And if you feel sick make them jump on a trampoline or run up and down the stairs until the feeling passes or it will stay with them for HOURS and they will never spin again!

Edited by mermaid'smom
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A great link:  http://www.developmental-delay.com/page.cfm/286


PLEASE heed this advice C&P from link:  To increase vestibular processing of rotary vestibular input, give opportunities to spin (not erratically) making sure that you count the number of circles (10 is good) and go smoothly, not too fast. Make sure you try to keep their head at 30 degrees flexion (chin pointed down between upright and chin tuck) in each direction, stopping the swing after going to the right, do not go to the left until they tell you that things are no longer jumping (post rotary nystagmus-or movement of the eyes has stopped) usually about 7-10 seconds. Then you can go 10 circles to the left. This should be a smooth and slower input then when they try to spin themselves. After the 30 degrees in neck flexion, do a 30 degrees flexion and 45 degrees lateral flexion (half way to touching shoulder with chin down) following the same 10 circles each direction. STOP IF THEY DISPLAY ANY SIGNS OF NAUSEA, ILL FEELING, OR ASKS YOU TO STOP ! Watch for signs of irritability, stomach upset, and lack of focus after rotary input, in the next 12 hours. If they have any signs of this do not attempt rotary input any longer and contact OT. )

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Someone mentioned gardening, NY ds12 would dig a hole to China if I let him lol.


When our OT practice shut down , we worked together (her skills my knowing what he graduates toward) came up with a plan.

Digging. Simple digging for mine gets him.

Banging things on the ground. Poles( we live on a farm, always something to bang on the ground and makes moms insides go...ugghhh haha). We started flyswat phonics ( my own creative name lol)

Put words on a colorful index card..I say the word...they have to find it and SWAT it. One with the most points wins. :)


I think, well for us anyway, he self OT's. He instinctively knows what his body needs and does THAT . it's quite unnerving to mom at times, but he comes inside more focused.


I'd say while you wait, lok fir his ques. What's he gravitating towards.

It's helped for us.

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