Children who are nonverbal and have sensory needs, will seek or avoid/demonstrate behaviors to fulfill a need if they aren’t able to communicate it. In the video I break it down into 5 categories:
1) Sense of Vision….If your child likes to poke themselves in the eye or frequently gaze from the corner of their eyes, they are likely communicating that they want more visual stimulation. Get a variety of toys that light up and have different settings (adjust the speed, colors and size) so they can work on visually tracking.
2) Sense of Tactile….If your child is constantly touching other people or always need something in their hands they are communicating that they need more tactile input.
a) Keep a small item in their pocket
b) Kid friendly jewelry
c) Pencil toppers
3) Sense of Olfactory (smell) & Gustatory (taste)…If your child has a habit of playing, touching, eating their feces they may have a need for strong earthy smells. Give them time everyday to interact with a tactile bin full of strong earthy smells:
a) Freshly Cut Grass
c) Cedar Wood Chips
Make up a small container with compartments to hold each item and have them interact with it everyday (15-20 mins this would become a part of their sensory diet). As for their taste…maybe their foods are too bland and they need something tart or a peppermint flavor.
4) Sense of Proprioception….If your has a habit of chewing on their clothes or loves crashing into furniture or purposely falling out of their chair they are seeking deep pressure. Have a visible container of crunchy/chewy snacks so they can point to the container and try to verbalize the snack in the container, “Cook” or “Cookie”.
5) Sense of Vestibular….If your child is having trouble sitting still they are trying to communicate that they need a recess break (they need to go run and jump).
Remember…....If a child can’t tell you what they want they typically will show you.