Just a resource of often Recommended Sensory Equipment
Vestibular: This is a great sensation to start with and has the greatest lasting effects.
Proprioceptive: Very calming sensation, good to give when individuals are agitated or over aroused. Proprioceptive input gives lots of good Serotonin release which is a wonderful calming brain chemical that helps break up Dopamine.
- A suspended swing: Net is preferable usually under $80 with chair pads or even a "hammock" swing is great! Sitnshop.net has a hammock swing and stand that you can use indoors or outdoors for $150 for the combo.
For a cacoon swing made out of lycra and spandex (very calming and can lay on belly too) order 15 yard minimum of lycra/spandex from fabricdirectoutlet.com.
For under 40 lbs you can put an I bolt into a door frame (ask Lowes or Home Depot for 200lb eye bolt and carbeener) and use a red toddler swing or similar toddler swing from Walmart or other wholesaler.
Sky Chair 1-800-759-8759 (canvas swing)
Unique Simplicities 1-800-845-1119 Net Chair or Hammock Chair
ABC Distributing had a hammock chair in past catalog for $15 look on-line?
Hang with eye bolt or strong link chains from home depot or lowes, in season you can find these swings at Lowe's as well!
www.especialneeds.com and www.SensoryGoods.com are great resources as well.
- Rocking Chairs
- Scooter Boards- can make one homemade very easily or use the "under car" scooter boards from your local auto store!
- Therapy Balls, bumpy massage ball and eliptical ball at Walmart also are great for rocking belly over the ball from hands to feet, or to sit on.
- Outdoor swings, climbing playgrounds, ladder swings, flexion disc swings etc. Flexion disc swings are about $15 on Amazon.com and great for upper body and core strength along with the vestibular calming motions.
- Mini trampolines at Walmart and large ones with safety nets are fabulous!!!
- Weighted objects (socks filled with rocks, or even weights put into pillow cases, weighted balls, anything that requires extra effort to hold, push, or pull). Weighted balls can be found in S&S 1-800-266-8856 Weighted Blankets are great too! Medicine balls at Walmart for $10- put into basket above shoulder height for good heavy work activity! Other weighted objects found in: Abilitations 1-800-850-8602, Southpaw Enterprises 1-800-228-1698, Therapy Shoppe 1-800-261-5590
- Bean Bags and Sand bags to throw at targets!! Make your own even!
- Heavy work activities such as pushing, pulling, or holding heavy objects or reaching for them, and different forms of exercise. Can be incorporated into daily leisure and vocational activities such as putting away soup cans, hanging laundry, pushing a grocery cart.
- Vibratory objects are great to hold!! Vibrating pens (even if not writing, good to hold) called Squiggle writers at walmart or Therapy Shoppe, vibrating lady bug massagers at Walmart are $5-10, hand held massagers are any where from $15-20 (battery operated best so it is portable) Vibrating/ Massaging seat inserts are wonderful for whole body massage and can be placed in chairs, on floor, or even in w/c.
Homemedics 20 minute massagers are great for calming at night and during the night. Found on Walmart and Amazon websites. They can learn to turn them on when they wake in the night to self calm back to sleep.
- Make a weighted vest with large washers weighing 1/4lb each in pockets evenly distributed on front and back. 10% of body weight with 4 pockets in front and 4 in back (2 top and 2 bottom) best. Wear 20-30 minutes on and equal time off. Do some movement while it is on, then sit to work.
- Move and sit seat wedges are great if child is wiggly in a seat and can't stay in one place. $20 through Abilitations catalog.
- Wear wrist and ankle weights, at walmart get the kind that have a buckle velcro strap to make it snug so it won't fall off. Wear weights like the vest 20-30 on and equal time off. Lay over lap when working at a desk to help stay seated longer. Pediatric sized weights found in Southpaw and Abilitations. Weighted hand gloves are at walmart as well.
- Trampolines! Jumping is a great proprioceptive activity, get some walking on the hands too!
- Crawl through tunnels, or anything that gets them on all fours and crawling.
- Ball Pits
Deep Touch: Hand squeezes up and down hands, arms, and legs can do wonders to calm. Deep pressure on shoulders with calming diaphragmatic breathing. Massages!!!!
Rolling up tightly in the leftover lycra/spandex material from the swing! Fabricdirectoutlet.com
Roll the therapy balls, massage ball, or eliptical ball over their body while they lay on the floor.
Tactile: Anything can be tactile, the trick is knowing which items the individual can tolerate!
Auditory: Sounds or music can be calming or arousing
- Fill ziplock bags with sand, rice, hair gels, pasta, Styrofoam, or any such tactile materials and let the individual hold the bag and rub their hands on it. Best for those who mouth objects or are defensive to textures/touch.
- Buckets or small containers filled with various textures such as sand, rice, uncooked pasta, leaves, pine cones, beans, shaving cream, water, etc. to let them put their hands in the various textures.
- Koosh balls, textured balls, squeeze balls, play dough, soft and rough textures, various "bumpy" things such as tactile balls versus smooth textures. (Beads, image makers, etc.) Different hand held massagers or brushes are great during bath time. Large body brushes are used such as the large brushes found in the car washing sections of department stores.
- Wooly or fuzzy stuffed animals, different textured blankets or just pieces of felt, wool, thick cloth, or fleece are examples.
- Fruits and vegetables offer various textures to feel and hold.
- Slinkies or other liquid filled balls (water tubes) or hand held items. Funny foam or soap foam at the $1 stores. Fidget toys and any thing you can squeeze such as stress balls or hand exercise balls found in exercise section of Walmart and in Abilitations, Southpaw, and Therapy shoppe are great things to keep close during high stress or times when the child needs to be still, but wants something to fidget with.
- Making crafts using finger paints, starch and water, or flour and water mixtures for paints. Or just putting hands in these!
For auditory defensiveness and processing difficulties put on the large plastic headphones that cover the entire ear, wear alone or while listening to calming classical music. Sensory Comfort has some 1-888-436-2622. Or you can get them at Lowes or a Hunting store!
Helping them get used to headphones that cover the entire ear is crucial, NEVER use ear buds! They can eventually get used to their choice in calming music to help them tolerate crowded places better.
Get an audiological exam to look at possibility of CAPD: Auditory Processing Evals and Treatment: Velvet Buehler UT Knoxville : 865-974-1804 or Ron Cates in Chattanooga: 423-892-4555 or 423-877-5042.
Tympanograms: ask your pediatrician for referral to pediatric ENT (some in town that do these are: Mark Kriskovich and Lisa Davidson, but your pediatrician my also refer you!
- Hwtears.com great resource for handwriting program for manuscript and cursive!
- TherapyShoppe.com 1-800-261-5590 (has other handwriting programs and pencil grips, inclined board, and a great clear incline slantboard that you can put handwriting sheets behind and use a dry erase marker on to save multiple copies.
Use a search engine on the internet and put in catalog name or item you are looking for and you can find a lot!
Heidi L. Clopton, OTR/L Center of Development 931-372-2567