Sensory tools and toys encompass solutions for a wide variety of needs. Visual or spatial awareness needs that may be supported with colorful light up toys or resistance tunnels. Perhaps there are oral, fine or gross motor needs with solutions ranging from chew toys to adaptive pencils. There may be a need to find solutions for touch or pressure sensitivities with squeeze balls or weighted blankets to aid in sleeping.
Sensory integration aims to help kids with sensory processing issues (which some people may refer to as “sensory integration disorder”) by exposing them to sensory stimulation in a structured, repetitive way.
The theory behind this is that over time, the brain will adapt and allow kids to process and react to sensations more efficiently. Sensory integration can be a form of occupational therapy in which special exercises are used to strengthen an individual’s sense of touch (tactile), sense of balance (vestibular), and sense of where the body and its parts are in space (proprioceptive).