Play holds a crucial role in children will all abilities but it comes more relevant to children with disabilities. The reason being is that a child with special needs may often experience barriers such as learning how their body’s work, how to process information in the environment and use them. This article will zero in the discussion about sensory play and children with disabilities. Sensory play is any activity that requires the involvement of the 5 senses: sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound.
Benefits of sensory Play
1. Facilitates learning
As children use their senses during the activity, it helps them learn and retain information faster and easier. Say for example building blocks- it helps children learn about the different shapes, sizes, colors, and textures of the blocks in a fun way.
2. Helps build nerve connection
3. Helps build language
When children are encouraged to share their experiences with their activity, it allows them to explore the use of words, how to use them, and how to use their emotions and transcribe them into words.
4. Encourage problem-solving skills
5. Promotes social interaction
Activities during sensory play allow the child to be curious, inquisitive and make them explore things, these emotions ignite the feeling of focusing on the need to learn rather than focusing on who to learn it with.
6. Improves motor skills
7.Develops motor skills
When children play in the sand, draw things -these are simple ways to strengthen their muscles. Tasks or activities will progress according to the child’s response and progress.
Examples of sensory play
3. Building blocks
4. Big art
5.Design a pattern
While there are many sensory activities to choose from, it is important to note that it is not a one size fits all type of intervention. It has to be intentional and fitting to address the current needs of the child. A child with visual impairment will appreciate colors more if he/she will use textured material to color it with. A child with autism, who is very sensitive to sounds may not enjoy music class the same way as others while a child with hearing impairment may appreciate music more by using drums or whistles as these cause vibration to their auditory nerves.
By providing opportunities for children with special needs and allowing them to explore different ways to learn and access information, help them hasten their skills and overcome their barriers thereby making them more empowered, confident, and live life independently.
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