Melissa (SLP) and Ashleigh (OT) talk about sensory activities that speech and play therapists can integrate into their treatment sessions.

As an Occupational Therapist (OT), Ashleigh works with kiddos who have difficulties completing their everyday activities, such as getting dressed, using a spoon or fork to eat, classroom skills such as handwriting, and some kiddos have difficulties processing sensory information in their surrounding environment, so an OT would teach them ways to do that.

As a Speech Therapist (SLP), Melissa works with children who become over stimulated during therapy sessions, and those who are hard to motivate as well, and Melissa is looking for ways as a speech therapist that she can help these children.

As Melissa mentioned, there are usually two types of kids, those who are over aroused, and then others may need a lot of input to get that motivation.  For the kids who are over stimulated you want to do calming activities such as heavy work like animal walks, pushing and pulling heavy things and slow linear movements on a swing.  The kiddos who need more input to be aroused, you want to do alerting activities such as spinning on a swing, bouncing on walls, or jumping on a trampoline.

Because the vestibular system is so closely linked with the speech systems, the best thing to do is do these activities while you’re speaking rather than as an award for the kids.

What can parents do as well to help a child calm down when they’ve become over stimulated or how to motivate their child to do these activities at home.  For kiddos who are over-aroused and having trouble with transition, you want to do those calming technique type of activities.  The animal walks from room to room, taking couch cushions and making a sandwich out of them, having the kiddo be the “meat” in the sandwich, giving that deep pressure while they’re in the couch cushion.  You can also use a weighted blanket or compression type of shirts, or really tight shirts that give that type of feedback for the whole body.