More and more we see that it is better to stick as closely as possible to all natural ingredients.
With Sensory Enrichment we are a little less concerned about synthetic products because there are studies that show that “enriched” brains are resilient to neurological challenges such as exposure to toxins like lead or pre-natal alcohol. Professor Michael Leon in his study of Sensory Enrichment as an effective treatment of Autism explains that:
Additionally, enhanced environmental stimulation ameliorates the effects of a wide range of neurological challenges that are experimentally produced in animals. These challenges include: brain lesions, toxin exposure, exposure to addictive drugs, brain trauma, stroke, sei- zures, aging, and hypoxia (Laviola, Hannan, Macri, Solinas, & Jaber, 2008; Nithianantharajah & Hannan, 2006; Pang & Hannan, 2013). In animal models, enriched sensorimotor experience also ameliorates genetically based neurological disorders such as Down’s syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, and autism (Laviola et al., 2008; Nithianantharajah & Hannan, 2006; Pang & Hannan, 2013).
But still, we recognize that natural products can be the ideal option.
So, we did some research and here are a few all-natural fragrances and scents you can use as you do Sensory Enrichment Therapy with your child.
1. Make your own lavender bag
There is the fancy version with satin flowers and matching bows, and then there is the quick version:
- Get some dried lavender
- Cut fabric into circles of about 10 inches diameter.
- Add some lavender into the center of the cut fabric;
- Bring up the material to form a bag containing the lavender;
- Twist the top;
- Tie string around the top to keep the bag shut.
You can do this with any fragrant herb. For example, you could use cooking herbs: Thyme, Rosemary, Oregano.
2. Rub mint, basil or vanilla beans on your hand or your child’s hand
It’s better to present the scent on a neutral object such as a tissue or cotton ball, an object that will not distract you from the purely olfactory experience, but sometimes using your hand is all you have.
How about rubbing the bean onto your child’s wrist like perfume for him to enjoy throughout the day?
3. Frozen banana
This trick comes from a creative parent who used Mendability therapy. Slice a banana, place the slices with a cotton ball or some tissue paper into a sealed container and freeze overnight. The next day you will have a scented cotton ball to use for the day.
4. Make your own essential oil with dried fruit
The recipe varies from fruit to fruit, but the idea is that you soak your dried fruit in 100 proof vodka for a few weeks and you have created your own essential oil.
5. Pick fresh flowers
A simple and beautiful idea: pick and smell fresh flowers.