Why Do Children Have Sensory Needs?
This is a great question! Children have sensory needs for the same reason that adults have sensory needs.
We are all born to explore the world through our senses, and some of us have a need to explore more through sensory-based stimuli, such as tactile experiences.
Personally, when I am in a meeting, if I have gum in my mouth it helps me to stay focused on the task at hand. I don’t even have to chew the gum, but I can just keep it in my mouth and feel focused. Is it the texture of the gum or the peppermint flavor? It could be either or both.
The peppermint can activate the hippocampus in the brain, which causes a person to focus and have stronger mental clarity, and enhances memory. The Mayo Clinic mentions peppermint and rosemary as beneficial components to promoting brain clarity, so flavor can promote mental awareness.
I also know that having something in my hand keeps me focused and on task. For example, when I unwrap the piece of gum, I will often keep the wrapper in my hand, bending it and creating shapes with it. Does this mean I am not focused on the task or the speaker I am listening to? No, it is simply a way for me to stay hyper-focused.
There you have it, GIVE ME GUM, GIVE ME GREATNESS.
I also know that it is not always appropriate to have gum in my mouth or a wrapper in my hand, so I also have learned that note-taking keeps me focused on the presentation and task at hand. Personally, I prefer specific pens that have a shape to them, such as a triangular base or that can create a very thin line. I have also learned that scented pens can be helpful to some people.
Coffee is another sensory-based mechanism that many people will use to stay mentally alert. Is it the scent that promotes the effect? Many studies would support that the scent alone will boost mental clarity.
Can you relate to any of these things? Gum coffee, scents, pens?
Now, let’s think about our children, they also have sensory needs, but they must know what is appropriate and inappropriate for a learning setting.
Sensory needs for children should be acknowledged and provided for. Many products can help children stay focused and engaged while learning.
We all want our children to reach the highest aptitude in their learning experiences, so here are three points to helping your child who has sensory needs.
Let’s Navigate APT! (Aware – Provide – Teach)
Sensory based acquisition and learning is key to developing a strong focus, building learning strategies, and increasing mental awareness.
Just like each adult has preferences, our children are the same and we should acknowledge their sensory needs.
Here are some items that can be found on Amazon that are sensory-based. This is simply a list to give you ideas of products that can help you build a sensory box for your child. Many items can be found at the dollar store.