A well developed sensory system is essential for both cognitive and social development. The goal of sensory integration therapy is to help children better absorb and process sensory information. Many autistic children receive services to meet their sensory deficiencies, as such the more reinforcement a child can receive outside of a structured therapy time can increase this much needed skill.
A study conducted by Temple University researchers in 2008, found that children with autistic spectrum disorders who underwent sensory integration therapy exhibited fewer autistic mannerisms compared to children who received standard treatments. The mannerisms identified, included repetitive hand movements or actions, making noises, jumping or having highly restricted interests, often interfere with paying attention and learning. To aid in reinforcing the therapeutic activities receive in the school or community, parents can implement fun activities at home. This will be the first of a series of activities to engage with your child.
Tic-Tac-Toe in Shaving Cream
- Shaving Cream or Pudding
- Flat Surface (i.e.mirror)
- On a flat service cover an area of approximately 6 inches by 6 inches with shaving cream about 1/2 inch thick
- Have the child draw the four lines ( 2 vertical, 2 horizontal) to create the tic-tac-toe grid in the shaving cream
- You can begin playing tic-tac-toe, however its suggested you practice with your child on how to draw the X’s & O’s before placing them in the boxes
- Other option can include adding food coloring to the shaving cream (or pudding)
- Tactile Input ~ shaving cream provides a tactile environment to practice fine motor skills
- Finger Isolation~ Activity requires child to use whole hand to establish the shaving cream surface, then child needs to use the pointer finger in isolation to make the X’s and O’s
- Visual-motor directionality~ Creating the different directional strokes required for the game, i.e. setting up the grid is a precursor to letter formation
- Visual Perception~keeping track of where the X’s and O’s are relative to the boxes of the grid and the other X’s and O’s, requiring visual-perceptual understanding of foreground, background and borders
- Praxis and Cognition~ this involves planning and organization as well as strategy, of where to place the X’s and O’s
This activity introduces tactile input while working on basic visual-perceptual and visual-motor skills in a three-dimensional way.
Enjoy and please post comments on how you implemented the activity or variations that worked for your child.
Venus A. David