Saturday, 22 November 2014

Sensory devices

I've been awfully busy lately. Part of this has been down to us having a very lovely but challenging little girl in our class who has Autism. We have to work very hard to create opportunities for her to learn orally because her sense of taste is heightened whilst all others are diminished.  Its not something that I am used to working with so its presenting quite a few challenges.

Firstly we had to go through the entire Nursery and think about the smaller objects which she might put into her mouth.  Admittedly we don't have many because we're a nursery but there are a few items (such as conkers, pen lids and crayons) which are small enough to cause damage if swallowed but are things we would usually introduce to children to avoid swallowing.

Next came thinking about some of the ways in which our little girl perceived the classroom. There are so many textures and tastes in a nursery and often they are repetitive - so we needed to create opportunities for her to experience differences.

Initially I used some strawberry essence, lemon essence, vanilla essence and peppermint flavouring and soaked some sponges. She had been in the water area all morning with different sponges in her mouth so we tried this, hoping that it would give her a new experience and she would accept the sponges because she had used them in the way area.  Little girl reacted quickly to having a new taste in her mouth and cycled through them quickly. Once she had tried them all she chose the strawberry flavoured one again and kept that in her mouth for a long time.

Next I tried some sensory socks. Cheap and easy to make (mens black socks stuffed with coffee beans, shredded paper, rice and pasta) and easily changed once they get used beyond interest.  Little girl was not as interested in them as I had hoped however I think because they were quite large they had to be held there whilst the sponges could be left there without being held. Lesson learned.

Finally we introduced some discovery bottles. The coloured rice (pictured) was used for identiplay (she copied my actions) as part of intense 2 way interaction. However we also tried porridge oats, feathers and glitter in bottles. We tried Buxton bottles because these are quite thin and can be crunched (and bitten) to make sounds.

The time I get to spend with this little girl is very rewarding because we see her development each session. However we are never sure if she will try something new which we buy or create and this makes it a very time consuming process. (We could spend ten times as long preparing as resources are used). I hope to continue developing resources over the coming months and blogging about this because in my travels I have found it hard to find good blogs which discuss home made resources for children with oral fascinations.  If you know of any please comment below:)!

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