Children depend on their senses to explore and make sense of the world around them. This is done by engaging their five senses: touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing. We learn best and retain the most information when we engage our senses. Providing opportunities for children to actively use their senses as they explore their world through sensory play is crucial to brain development. This helps to build nerve connections in the brain’s pathways. Sensory play is an excellent way for parents and caregivers to encourage sensory understanding in children. Let’s go over some of the benefits of sensory play for children with autism.
Children are highly sensitive to language during the early years, and sensory play is a perfect opportunity to get your child talking and using new words. With all those new and exciting sights, smells, textures, and sounds use this opportunity to describe what you are doing with new vocabulary and phrases, such as ‘Why is the dough squishy?’ ‘Can you stretch it?’ ‘Let’s roll it out?’. Sensory play helps children respond to commands and comprehend different feelings and situations.
Improves Social Skills
Engaging in a shared activity, like a sensory box, for several children to use at once helps them build social skills as they interact with each other. They might talk about the objects when exploring the objects, or they might decide to start exploring together. Not only does this help them learn how to work together, but it helps them develop their communication skills, as well.
Stimulates Brain Development
Sensory stimulation strengthens the neural pathways at an early age. Sensory processing as a cognitive exercise allows us to complete complex problems and conduct critical thinking later in life. When children study and explore new objects, they combine the information their brains are processing to understand the thing in front of them. Letting children understand early on that various objects feel, smell, and taste different, is crucial to their problem-solving skills.
Improves Motor Skills
Motor skills are fundamental, as they are necessary for holding pens, pencils, and paintbrushes. Sensory play is great for developing these muscles, as one can use fine motor tools, like pincers, to pick up small objects. Even the act of pouring liquids and pinching objects gives children the opportunity to develop and hone their ability to control their bodies.
The Connections Therapy Center
The Connections Therapy Center serves families of children and adolescents with disabilities and special needs. We are a team of experts in the fields of pediatric speech, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and behavioral sciences. As a team, we offer intensive hands-on therapy for children and adolescents, as well as informative and useful resources for families. If you are interested in learning more about what we can do to help your family, visit us online or give us a call at (301) 577-4333. Want to get more information on how to help your child thrive? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.