Welcome to a week long focus on sensory processing. We want to equip you with tools to help your SPD child, and so today I offer sensory processing and the heavy work activities solution. I hope you were able to see the introduction to this series to help understand sensory processing a bit more.
When helping a child with sensory processing needs, there is no one quick and easy fix to solve the challenges your child faces. However, there are a number of resources we can equip you with so that you feel more empowered as a parent. Heavy work is one such answer.
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Sensory Processing and the Heavy Work Activities Solution
When a child has sensory needs, there is often an element that craves input into the body. Heavy work activities provide opportunities for the body to experience the pressure it needs.
Part of parenting a child with SPD is “filling their bucket” with the sensory input they yearn for in order to help avoid sensory meltdowns. When a child is filled up in the way they crave, their brain is better able to respond to the frustrations or overloads they experience.
Heavy work has been a lifesaver for us! When our child seems to be going “too fast” or “too slow” heavy work can help regulate the body to increase attention, decrease defensiveness, and modulate arousal.
According to the website Sensory Processing Disorder, “Proprioceptive input is the performance of tasks that involves heavy resistance and input to the muscles and joints, and is essential in helping our bodies assimilate and process both movement (vestibular) and touch (tactile) information.”
Exercise is a natural form of overall health. With the sensory child, this holds true, but “heavy work” exercises are going to be the most beneficial. When thinking of heavy work, consider things that create pressure on the body because of pulling against something or pushing into something. These are exercises that engage the muscles.
Here are examples of heavy work that might be able to help:
- Crab Walk
- Riding a bike or another movement toy that is challenging – like a tricycle, balance bike, or RipStik
- Activities that challenge balance – Here are ten great balance activities for kids.
- Jumping – Jumping Rope, Pogo Stick, Exercise Ball, Small Trampoline, Hoppy Ball
- Blowing bubbles or balloons
- Carrying Heavy Objects – Weighted Blankets, Weighted Vests, Ankle or Wrist Weights
- Chores – Scrubbing the Floor, Wiping the Counters, Yard Work, Shoveling Snow
- Pushing or Pulling Activities – Exercise Bands, Tug-of-War, Wheelbarrows or Wagons
- Working with Clay, Sensory Putty or Playdoh
- Push-ups, sit-ups or planking
These heavy work activities can aid in your child’s ability to regulate. Make sure your child is getting plenty of time to get the kind of exercise needed to manage the stresses the sensory child’s brain is experiencing.
A Week Series on Sensory Processing Disorder
Sensory Processing Disorder is obviously complex. There’s no one shoe that fits all solution. That said, there are commonalities found in SPD kids, and we want to provide you with some resources this week.
Here’s what the week is going to look like:
Monday – An Introduction to Sensory Processing Disorder
Tuesday (today) – Sensory Processing and the Heavy Work Activities Solution
Wednesday – Sensory Processing Tools for Children
Thursday – Taking Your Sensory Processing Child to Disneyland
Friday – DIY Mouse Ears for Children with SPD and Autism
Saturday – How to Pray for Your Child with Sensory Processing