Sensory integration disorders occur when the brain inappropriately perceives and organizes sensory stimuli from various senses and reacts incorrectly to them, both emotionally and physically. Sensory integration disorders have a negative impact on the functioning of the child and contribute to problems in the emotional, social, cognitive and motor spheres.
A child who has sensory processing disorders usually also has some problems with functioning in preschool settings. It can be overly aroused and loud or, on the contrary, too withdrawn and tearful. So what can a parent of a child with SI disorders do to facilitate this functioning in kindergarten? The first step is to inform the teachers about the child's difficulties, it is best to take the diagnosis to the kindergarten if we have one. It is also worth talking to teachers about any recommendations included in the diagnosis and how to help the child.
One of them may be to limit unnecessary decorations or work on the walls as much as possible. These are additional visual stimuli that, in the case of a child with SI disorders, will have a stimulating effect on the nervous system. It is similar with sounds - excessive or too loud sounds will cause irritation and stimulation of the baby's nervous system. Another way to help your child with IS disorder is to plan the day ahead, anticipate what is going to happen. In the case of children who are hypersensitive to tactile stimuli, the principle of not forcing them to perform certain activities, e.g. using glue, molding from plasticine or painting with paints, works well. It is also worth remembering to "protect" hypersensitive children from unexpected touch by placing them at the end of a row or queue, and to avoid unexpected petting or cuddling.
Some children are overly mobile and agitated, so it is very difficult for them to sit still during classes for even a few minutes. It is then useful to use the sensor disc on a chair or floor. Such an inflated pillow will provide the child with a certain dose of movement through balancing, but at the same time will allow him to stay in place and not to walk around the room disturbing his friends. The sensory pillow is usually brought to the kindergarten by the parent. Both children looking for sensory stimuli and those who are hypersensitive to them will find a place to calm down in kindergarten - it can be a special corner with a tent to hide and toys for squeezing and stretching, or at least a large pouf with granules which you can squeeze in. Many teachers are knowledgeable about sensory integration disorders and introduce some "facilitations" to children on a daily basis. Equally important is the cooperation between the kindergarten and parents, as well as an honest conversation about the child's difficulties and the possibility of helping him in the preschool conditions.
Anna Chacińska special educator, specialist in sensory integration