If you have a sensory seeking child, you know the importance of ensuring your child gets safe sensory input so they will not seek input in unsafe ways. You need to take extra steps to make sure his room is safe, so why not fill it with the sensory experiences he so desires?
Sensory seeking children do not process their senses as fully as other children. Since they don’t feel sensation as much as others, they become starved for input. They NEED to press textures into their skin, stuff their mouths with spicy food or spin around as fast as they can until they fall down over and over and over for days on end. If they fail to get enough stimuli, they will seek it out in more and more extreme and potentially dangerous, ways.
Decorating a room, such as their bedroom or a playroom with this in mind will involve feeding their senses as much as possible in a safe manner. This can be done in a number of ways – with textures, colors, smells and lots of opportunities for movement and even tastes. Consider these elements when putting a room together for a sensory seeker and you might just be amazed at how it benefits him even when he is not in the room.
Sensory seekers MOVE! They run, jump, climb, fall and bump into things at an amazing rate. Even worse, since they don’t necessarily process pain properly, they are less likely than others to be wary of dangerous actions and, if hurt, may not even realize it. For that reason, a sensory room must, above all else, be a SAFE room. Corners need to be covered, surfaces need to be padded, and outlets covered. Large furniture needs to be attached to the wall or left out completely.
A Plethora of Textures
Make sure that textures are as varied as possible. Layer materials such as area rugs on carpet. Place a wool flokati rug on the floor and hang a colored flokati rug on the wall where it can easily be felt with hands or faces. Rugs on walls also add padding and muffle louder sounds, so don’t be shy about what you hang up. Include soft, scratchy, fuzzy, bumpy, furry and even leathery textures – anything you can feel can be added here.
Colors and Lighting
Use primary colors and don’t skimp on the light bulbs – make sure they are bright enough and cover a full spectrum. Consider a mini disco ball, rainbow projector, or star projector.
While burning candles and incense is not a good idea, you can include scents in your child’s sensory room. Simply add some spices or potpourri to some cloth bags and sew them shut with a double seam.
This is easily fed into a room with a radio, CD player or MP3 player. Again, those area rugs on the walls and floor make your job easier! They should muffle all but the loudest sounds coming from the room.
These ideas are by no means comprehensive. Include other senses like vestibular and compressive sensations. Use Mini-tramps or vibrating chairs or any number of other ways to get your child feeling something. The benefits will be seen quickly and you will not regret it!