Children with low registration of sensory input may appear lethargic, seem uninterested or withdrawn, don’t notice what happens around them and may appear self-absorbed. They are generally easy going, able to cope with change and unaffected by varying environments.
These children require more intense and varied sensory input to achieve a just right state for learning and participating in activities at home.
General Strategies to Enhance Sensory Input include:
Use novelty to help them be more alert and focused
Movement activities: encourage jumping, dancing, movement breaks between tasks, running, changing body positions (e.g.: sit to stand, lie down, roll over) and vary the speed of movement to keep interest (e.g. slow and fast walking between rooms or to the car)
Visual strategies: brighter lighting, highlight important information on a work page, place bright coloured items on blank surfaces (e.g. clothes to be worn on a white bedspread), use bright colours sparingly to draw attention to important details of information (e.g. a red frame around a daily visual schedule)
Auditory strategies: play more upbeat music with varying rhythms throughout, use a more animated voice (e.g. with changes in tone, cadence and volume), sing through steps of an activity (e.g. “everybody dressing just like me”) and ring a bell or clap hands to get attention
Touch strategies: light touch (e.g. gentle tapping, tickling), water spray, vary the temperatures hot/cold stimuli (e.g. iced drinks, ice cubes, hot chocolate). Apply touch for short duration to get attention (e.g. touch child on their arm to get their attention before giving them an instruction, tap around lips with fingertips before eating)
Taste/smell: Use strong smells in foods, scented textas for drawing, provide a varied diet of different flavours, smells and textures to maintain interest
Modified by Child Development Service Occupational Therapists