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Maintaining a Sensory Diet During The Summer



sensory diet, asd, autism, parenting, mom blog, summer vacation, summer activities

If your ASD kiddo is like mine, they totally need a sensory diet to keep their minds and bodies feeling comfortable and regulated. During the school year, my son’s day is filled with activities and exploration with his teachers and peers. Once that school bell rings on the last day, I usually start freaking out that it’s all up to me…then I remember…it’s all back to basics.


A sensory diet is a routine that uses activities to keep the sensitive balance of over/under excitement in check. We use a combo of proprioceptive (tactile), vestibular (movement), and cognitive (thinking) activities throughout the day. And I change it up depending on how he feels, how he slept the night before, etc. Here’s some fun things we do at our house during the summer to stay busy and happy:


Tactile


These type of activities help calm and center my son. So when he’s over excited (over stimulated) or he’s getting stuck in a repetitive loop of echolalia, proprioception usually needs to be rebooted.


Rice/Bean Bins - fill a large tupperware full of raw rice, beans, or even bird seed and add some measuring cups and small toys to dig and bury. Honestly, sifting my fingers through rice is super zen.


sensory diet, asd, autism, parenting, mom blog, summer vacation, summer activities


Painting Rocks - have a “nature hike” in your yard to gather some cool rocks. Then add some color using paint or crayons to zest up your planters or sidewalk.


Snack Time - we use tons of muscles to chew and swallow (50 to be exact) and that can be a very centering activity. When you’re at the park, take a few breaks for some goldfish or sipping through a straw to give those mouth muscles a workout and help center your little one. (Note: super chewy or spicy foods can be alerting and have the opposite effect.)


Movement


My kid is in constant motion, I mean like ALL THE TIME. It’s hard to keep up with him and we don’t always have the time or money for bouncing toys.


The Floor Is Made Of Lava - direct from our childhood to your living room, grab all the cushions and pillows you can find to make a crazy path through the lava! Jumping and balancing uses tons of energy and after a few runs through the treacherous path, my son is ready to chill.


Obstacle Course - Grab kitchen chairs, cushions, and blankets to create a giant course of climbing over, under, and through the furniture. At one end I give my son a puzzle piece that he has to carry through and then complete the puzzle together at the end.


sensory diet, asd, autism, parenting, mom blog, summer vacation, summer activities


Thinking


The brain is a muscle that needs a good workout everyday too. After a long game of bouncing around, activities like puzzles, reading a book, or building blocks can help create some zen. Getting those thinking gears working takes a lot of work and that can be very centering for a busy body.


I hope these super fun, non-electronic games keep you and your kiddos busy this summer. What are some of your favorite things to do?




*If you have any concerns about your child’s development, contact your pediatrician, or school district special education department for an evaluation.*


Rielly is a part-time writer and full-time mama to an adorable autistic toddler. Her favorite hobbies include naptime, drinking coffee, and trips to Target. Follow her online @riellygrey.






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