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The Power of Sensory Play for Neurodivergent Children

At Saamarthya Foundation, we are dedicated to supporting neurodivergent children, including those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD), Language and Developmental Delays (LDD), and other learning disabilities. One of the most effective interventions we champion is sensory play. Scientific research consistently shows that sensory play offers numerous benefits, helping children with diverse needs thrive in their unique ways.

Understanding Sensory Play

Sensory play involves activities that stimulate a child's senses: touch, smell, taste, sight, hearing, movement, and balance. These activities range from playing with textured materials like sand and water to engaging in movement-based activities like swinging and jumping. Sensory play is more than just fun; it is a crucial part of a child's development, particularly for neurodivergent children.

How Sensory Play Benefits Neurodivergent Children

  1. Improves Sensory Processing and Integration

  • Research Insight: According to Baranek (2002), sensory play helps children with autism improve their sensory processing and integration. This leads to better adaptive responses and increased engagement in daily activities.

  • Our Impact: At Saamarthya Foundation, we incorporate a variety of sensory play activities that help children process sensory information more effectively, enhancing their ability to navigate their environments.

  1. Enhances Social Skills and Communication

  • Research Insight: Pfeiffer et al. (2011) found that sensory play can improve social interaction and communication skills in children with autism.

  • Our Programs: Our sensory play sessions are designed to foster social engagement and verbal communication, providing a structured yet flexible environment where children can connect and interact with others.

  1. Reduces Anxiety and Behavioral Issues

  • Research Insight: Schaaf et al. (2014) highlighted that sensory play can reduce anxiety and behavioral problems in children with ASD.

  • Our Approach: We use calming and organizing sensory activities to help children regulate their emotions and behaviours, leading to a more relaxed and focused state.

  1. Supports Cognitive Development and Learning

  • Research Insight: Case-Smith and Bryan (1999) demonstrated that sensory play supports cognitive development and enhances learning in children with developmental delays.

  • Our Commitment: We integrate sensory activities that promote exploration, problem-solving, and creativity, laying a strong foundation for cognitive growth and academic success.

  1. Improves Motor Skills

  • Research Insight: Blanche et al. (2012) found that sensory play can improve both fine and gross motor skills in children with developmental disabilities.

  • Our Activities: Our programs include activities that involve proprioceptive and vestibular input, such as jumping, pushing, and swinging, to enhance motor planning and coordination.

Types of Sensory Play and Their Benefits

  • Tactile Play (e.g., Playdough, Sand, Water)

  • Benefit: Enhances tactile discrimination, improves fine motor skills, and encourages exploratory behaviour.

  • Vestibular Play (e.g., Swinging, Spinning)

  • Benefit: Improves balance, coordination, and spatial orientation.

  • Proprioceptive Play (e.g., Jumping, Pushing, Pulling)

  • Benefit: Helps with body awareness and motor planning, and has a calming effect.

  • Auditory Play (e.g., Music, Sound-Making Toys)

  • Benefit: Enhances auditory processing and communication skills.

  • Visual Play (e.g., Bright Colors, Flashing Lights)

  • Benefit: Supports visual tracking, focus, and attention.

At Saamarthya Foundation we integrate sensory play into our occupational therapy sessions. Our goal is to provide ongoing sensory input and support that promotes growth and learning.

Our team of experienced Occupational Therapists and Special Educators has organized a fun and engaging session of sensory activities for neurodivergent kids at our newly opened Family Resource Centre in Baner, Pune.

📅 Date: 22nd June

🕥 Time: 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM

📍 Location: Baner, Pune

This free session offers a wonderful opportunity for kids to explore new experiences and make friends. Parents can tour our new Family Resource Centre and interact with our dedicated team.

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