This blog is a way of sharing the information and resources that have helped me to recover my son Roo from an Autism Spectrum Disorder. What I have learned is to view our symptoms as the results of underlying biological cause, which can be identified and healed. I say "our symptoms" because I also have a neuro-immune disorder called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

And, of course, I am not a doctor (although I have been known to impersonate one while doing imaginative play with my son)- this is just our story and information that has been helpful or interesting to us. I hope it is helpful and interesting to you!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Sensory Activities for Roo

This is a summary of many of the sensory activities that our OT suggested for Roo and his brother.

Calming activities include pushing on the wall with open flat hands, pushing on a soft thing like the therapy ball, pushing or pulling something heavy across the floor, rolling over the therapy ball on either back or stomach, rocking in a rocking chair, swinging, scrunch whole body up tight in a ball then relax (she called this "being a lemon"), wheelbarrow walk, and being "squished" by something big and soft. 

Activities to practice crossing midline include throwing an item up and catching with the other hand (such as a ball or scarf), picking up an item with one foot and taking it with the other hand, cross-crawl situps, touching feet with opposite hands (there are rhymes for this activity), throwing items with both hands back and forth, bouncing and catching a ball with either hand, and making lazy 8s either by walking the path or with hands on paper, passing items from one hand to the other, etc. 

Ideas for an obstacle course- climbing under something, crawling through the tunnel, crawling through a soft fabric loop, jumping over something with two feet together, jumping back and forth over a line with both feet together, moving in a figure 8 pattern, stepping across "stepping stones", stepping or jumping between circles on the floor (to cross a river?), rolling over the therapy ball, knocking down bowling pins with ball or self on scooterboard, and walking along  a"balance beam". 

Here are some OT items that are easy to make at home:

Sock "fish"- fill tube socks with bulk rice or beans and tie them closed to make heavy weighted items that are great for lifting and draping over the body.

Bean bags- sew shapes out of interesting fabric (bright colors and different textures work well) and fill with rice or beans, or other bulk items such as grains for different weights and feels.  

Bean box- fill a large plastic tub that is large enough for the child to get into with bulk beans.  Rice also works, but beans are easier to clean up.  You can add items to play with such as shovels, cups, funnels, and you can hide items under the beans to be found. You can also make a smaller tabletop version with a smaller, flat tub.

There are various swings that can be made from lycra, or a big square of plywood covered with cloth or carpet remnants.  It's worth searching around online for instructions and ideas, there are so many kinds of swings available and they are so much less expensive to make.  They may require specialty items to be hung safely and there are frames that can be bought or made if the swing cannot be hung safely from the ceiling.

25 Sensory Hacks for Kids (great ideas for where to buy or how to make sensory items)

The website Play At Home Mom has given me a lot of inspiration of sensory activities to do.