After a child is diagnosed with sensory processing disorder, he or she will usually start working with an Occupation Therapist or sometimes an Adaptive Physical Education specialist. These professionals often prescribe something called a "sensory diet." This makes sense if you stop and think for a minute about doctor prescribed diets. For example, if a person is diagnosed with heart disease a doctor will prescribe a heart healthy diet, a diet low in fat that contains lots fruits and vegetables and includes an exercise program. Similarly an OT may prescribe a healthy sensory diet. It may be rich in tactile experiences such as a brushing program as well as certain physical games designed to enhance vestibular stimulation. A sensory diet is simply a variety of sensory experiences designed to help a child properly interpret their environment.
Speaking of diets, have you ever failed a diet? If you have, chances are it was because you were not satisfied. You walked around feeling hungry or deprived of something you craved. A hyposensitive child may feel this way. They are walking around hungry for certain kinds of sensory stimulation. It is our job to feed them. Conversely, the hyper sensitive child may restrict certain types of sensory stimulation to the extent that they become malnourished. In this case, it is our job to provide them with a balanced diet of sensory experiences.
Work With A Therapist
A close working relationship with a child’s therapist is essential to administering an effective program. A child’s therapist will have good ideas for adapting an activity or challenging a child appropriately. They will be aware of behaviors and signals to watch for with a child. They can evaluate progress and give suggestions to keep a child progressing.
Go For It!
If you are new to this therapy and think it sounds strange, I can relate! When I first started learning about it I had a lot of doubts. However, I want to encourage you try it! This therapy has changed my family's life. It has been so helpful for our son and has really improved his quality of life. GO FOR IT!!!