You’re Putting Me On A Diet?

May 30, 2012

Preventing Behaviors

Last week one of my friends, Dean Bohl, was looking for feedback about ideas concerning something called a sensory diet…a very beneficial idea for many children with autism and sensory processing needs!

What on earth is a sensory diet? Is it a diet of only certain foods or certain calories?


A sensory diet is a term used to describe sensory activities that are used children with autism, ADHD, or Sensory Integration Disorder.

Just as your child needs food throughout the course of the day, a child with autism, ADHD, or SPD needs sensory input, and opportunities for getting away from stimulation, spread out over the morning.  A “sensory diet” is a carefully designed, personalized activity plan that provides the sensory input a child needs to stay focused and organized throughout the morning.  In the same way that you jiggle your knee or chew gum to stay awake or soak in a hot tub to unwind, children need to engage in stabilizing, focusing activities, too.  Young children, teens, and adults with mild to severe sensory issues can all benefit from a personalized sensory diet.

Here’s a resource for you that identifies a handful of sensory diet activities that we incorporate during our Children’s Life Group or ones that you can do at home:

Sensory Diet Ideas

The great news is that the effects of a sensory diet are usually immediate!  Activities that “wake” your child up or calm him down are not only effective in the moment; they actually help to restructure your child’s nervous system over time so that he is better able to:

  • tolerate sensations and situations he finds challenging
  • regulate his alertness and increase attention span
  • limit sensory seeking and sensory avoiding behaviors
  • handle transitions with less stress

Click “like” on our Special Friends Ministry facebook page to be notified when our next resource becomes available!

Michael Woods, M.A. BCaBA

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About MakingRoomASD

Father to 3 boys on the autism spectrum.

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