For children to develop to their fullest potential, their sensory system - which, in addition to the big five of sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell, includes movement and balance (vestibular), body awareness (proprioception), and internal perception (interoception) - needs to be stimulated from the time they are born. Their senses flourish when they explore their environment by touching new textures, including their food, running, jumping, climbing, and splashing outside - never through screens. As an occupational therapist with a specialty in sensory integration and early childhood development, Allie Ticktin has seen an alarming increase in cases of children who can't sit in circle time or at their desk upright and who are delayed in learning to walk, talk, or socialise, many of whom have been diagnosed with ADHD or sensory processing disorders, in part because these critical systems have been neglected. In the recent past, the sensory system and many developmental skills evolved naturally outside in the garden or on the playground. But with increasing time pressures for both kids and parents, as well as safety concerns, children are often sat in front of screens, without sufficient opportunity to explore and interact with their environment. The good news is that boosting your child's sensory development doesn't take enormous amounts of time or supplies, or any special skills. In Play to Progress, Ticktin discusses the eight sensory systems and how a child uses them, and offers easy, fun activities that will encourage their development so that your little one will be better able to respond to their emotions, build friendships, communicate their needs, and thrive in school. That's the power of sensory play.
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Date of Publication: 28/06/2021