When a kid is diagnosed with autism or a sensory processing disorder, occupational therapy can help relieve many of the concerns parents have. The purpose of occupational therapy is to encourage the maximum level of functioning in everyday life.
As a result, occupational therapists must think outside the box when devising exercises for their patients. But, as a parent, can you do something for your children? Yes, why not? You can do some activities at home to help your child acquire a wide range of vital life skills.
1. Making Emotional Thermometer
Children with autism typically have difficulty distinguishing between different levels of displeasure or discomfort. They can become irritated or agitated at any time. The use of an emotional thermometer could be helpful in this process.
First of all, cut out a thermometer by drawing or tracing it on paper. Then, work with your child to identify 3-5 stages that they are now experiencing. Even though a 1 might be entirely calm, a 3 might be beginning to become annoyed. For instance, your child’s fine motor and visual perception skills will be bolstered if you let them design their thermometer.
2. Sensory Bins
One of the best ways to teach a wide range of skills is through sensory bins. Several kids with autism or sensory processing disorder (SPD) cannot tolerate particular textures. Introduce children to new sensations through the use of a sensory bin. This activity can also help develop visual perception, linguistic skills, and fine motor skills.
Gather some everyday home items and put them in a plastic container to build a sensory bin. Cut-up paper, popcorn, uncooked rice, cotton balls, and coins are examples of acceptable items. So that your child becomes overwhelmed and develops vital skills, it is essential to be aware of their individual sensory preferences. When your child plays with choking-hazardous things, you should never leave them unattended.
3. Copying Skills
Visual aids are a helpful tool that so many children with autism react to exceptionally well, especially when they are simple. Making coping skills flip book offers youngsters a visual resource that they can go to when experiencing emotional pain.
Work with your child to brainstorm 5-7 activities that they can do when they are feeling frustrated or in need of a break. Then capture photographs of your youngster engaging in the activities they have chosen for themselves.
Print up these images, laminate them, then attach a loop ring to the back of each one. Some coping methods include reading a book, utilizing a stress ball, going to a quiet place, and talking to a trusted adult about your feelings.
4. Create a Sensory Diet
A sensory diet can benefit any child who suffers from sensory sensitivities. It is a collection of activities that assist a child in receiving the sensory information that they require to operate in everyday life. Exercises such as rolling an exercise ball over the head, animal walks, pulling or pushing against the body, playing with different tactile toys, jumping on a trampoline, or swinging are all excellent possibilities for children with special needs.
5. Tell Stories
Storytime is a terrific way to pass when the weather is less than perfect or settle down after a long day of occupational therapy tasks. Depending on the book, you may be able to incorporate additional learning skills into your lesson plan. The book you choose will be determined by the child’s age, hobbies, and level of attention and concentration.
If you want to incorporate more learning into your storytime sessions, I recommend picking a book where you can count the objects, trace the faces, or describe the story through visuals.
Developing creativity and skills are two of the most critical aspects of occupational therapy activities for children. Many approaches may be used to teach the necessary skills, but it is always vital to take into account the individual requirements and interests of each child.
However, we hope the activities outlined here can serve as inspiration for future occupational therapy exercises that can be carried out at home or in the office. Take care!