FIDDLE AND CHEW!
It seems to me to be a miracle that most of us can cope with the sensory complexities of everyday life and the complex myriad of information that comes to us through our senses. Not only the 5 senses of touch, sight, smell, sound and taste but also our proprioceptive (body awareness) sense that tells our brain where our body and limbs are positioned in space and our vestibular (movement) sense that gives the brain information about our body’s movement.
Think of the last time you were in a crowded, busy space and consider how much sensory information you had to deal with in that situation. It might be your journey to work, or at a sports event, or even at the supermarket.
Not everyone has a sensory system that can cope with the sensory saturation that is part and parcel of everyday life.
Do you have a child in your family or in your class who may fit some or all of the following traits?
The child you have in mind may already have a diagnosis of ASD, ADHD or Sensory Processing Disorder or may have no ‘label’ and yet still show some of these traits. However it is likely that a child who is challenged by some of the above behaviours are showing significant different patterns of sensory processing to their peers and that they would benefit from some interventions and approaches to help them cope better with everyday life at home, in their classroom and in the playground.
For children and young people who chew on their clothes, toys and other non-food objects chewies and chewellery can fulfill that need to chew without destroying everyday items and can help moderate anxiety caused by sensory overload. They also have the added advantage of being safe to chew.
At Spacekraft we have a wide range of Chewies available to suit different age groups, different situations and to help children and young people discover their personal preferences and what works best for them.
We have chewies that can be worn around the neck or on the wrist – perfect for ‘on the go’ sensory input. We also have chewies that are incorporated into Neckerchiefs and Comforters, chewies that can be used as Pencil or Pen toppers and old favourites such as the Grabbers and Tri-Chews.
The design of many of our chewies means that they look right at home in a classroom or social situation, thus avoiding social stigma.
For those who are restless and disengaged and who find it difficult to focus or stay calm then a fidget toy might help. By having a fidget toy, a child may be able to better ‘filter out’ excess sensory information in their surroundings and their own body, which is causing distraction, and encouraging this sensory information to be focused on a toy in their hands.The use of the fidget toy redirects movement and can support a child or young person self regulate their behaviour so they are more able to pay attention, listen and communicate effectively and join in socially and cognitively with more easily.
The range of fidgets available through Spacekraft come in many different shapes, sizes, textures and forms to suit different ages, environments and personal preferences. It may take a bit of trial and error to find out what type of movement and fiddling best suits an individual – do they find stretching an item, squeezing something soft and squishy or manipulating something that moves easily most helpful? When they discover what best helps them though it can make a world of a difference.
Finally, it is important to point out here that any interventions you make for a child to help with sensory processing should be fully discussed with your Occupational Therapist or Physiotherapist and all working with the child should be fully aware of what they are using and why.
Please let us know of any successes you have had when using or chewies and fidgets and what has worked best for you in your school or setting by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We love to hear good news stories!