Note: these refer to things that you feel are outside the ‘norm’ of development. To an extent, many of these things covered are within usual child development, but are often overcome by a certain age or stage of maturity as babies and children learn and become more accepting of new things being introduced and more aware of others around them as play peers.

Bangs toys and objects excessively and intensely.
Sensory explanation: banging toys and objects is a very important step for the brain in motor development. The activity not only provides proprioception to the hands, arms and upper body but also helps fine motor control, body awareness, shoulder stability, visual motor development, self-regulation, bilateral coordination and crossing the midline. Children, who tend to do this excessively once the novelty should have worn off, may be under-registering sensory input and do it more often to really ‘feel it’.

Ideas to help:

  • Get some earplugs. Warn your neighbours. This is, for better or worse, fulfilling a purpose!
  • Use full body deep pressure throughout the way.
  • Encourage resistive play with lots of push/pull sensatioons.
  • Encourage upper body weight bearing such as crawling, wheelbarrow walking, trying walking supporting the hips.
  • Try toys that vibrate to increase sensory input to the arms and hands.

Baby/child enjoys repetitive play.
Sensory explanation: repetitive play is very typical and a necessary development as it is how the brain learns and develops pathways called engrams. It is how the brain remembers something. It is also a technique to self-regulate and soothe the nervous system.

Ideas to help:

  • Allow as much repetitive play as needed.
  • If transitioning to other activities becomes difficult, provide a dose of vestibular/proprioception input such a bouncing, inverting the head or bear hugs while transitioning.
  • Take note of when the play happens if you feel it is becoming excessive. Does it appear to be when the child is other overwhelmed to act as a coping mechanism? If so, decrease the overall stimulus.

Approaches play or new textures with closed fists or withdraws hands.
Sensory explanation: the hands have a huge amount of tactile receptors, especially the palms. Therefore approaching anything with closed fists will decrease the amount of tactile input that will be received. The first line of defence is to withdraw to as not to be in an uncomfortable or possibly painful situation. For an infant, just about anything is a new experience and their nervous system and if the tactile system is over-registering it will approach things ‘on guard’.

Ideas to help:

  • Do not force the baby to touch anything.
  • Provide deep pressure to the hands and the fingers.
  • Place messy or wet textures in a plastic bag for the infant to explore first. Use direct supervision!
  • Encourage various types of textures in play, both messy and dry. Offer tools like paintbrushes or spoons to touch texture indirectly,
  • Provide manipulative toys in various textures, especially natural materials.

Baby loves to look at spinning or shiny objects.
Sensory explanation: looking at spinning or shiny objects is very common and typical as it is how the visual system is learning to process information and develop. It can also be ways of organising, regulating, soothing and calming.

Ideas to help:

  • Let them! Accept it is part of the development and work on increasing the variety of objects, so it is not just one object over and over. They don’t have to be toys, anything will do.
  • Take note of this sensory cue that the little one may need extra help in self-regulation if it is tipping into the excessive region. Support this by increase vestibular and proprioceptive input through the day.
  • Limit any screen time and encourage other visual activities and games that involve tracking an object; e.g., a ball.

 

WEBSITE DISCLAIMER AND RELEASE OF LIABILITY
The information within this section is provided as a resource tool for general advice and recommendations regarding sensory integration and sensory processing development. Sensory enriched activities are beneficial for all children. This website is in no way intended to replace medical intervention or individual therapy. Please consult with your child’s paediatrician therapist for a customized program. The activities suggested on this website require direct supervision. The information on this website is attributed to Angie Voss, OTR.