More and more we see that it is better to stick as closely to all natural ingredients.
With Sensory Enrichment we are a little less concerned 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, why cause the challenge if you can avoid it, right?
So, we did some research and here are a few all-natural fragrances and scents you can use you do Sensory Enrichment therapy with your child with autism.
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 material into circles of about 10 inches diameter.
- Add some lavender into the centre 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. You have your provencal cooking herbs: Thyme, Rosemary, Oregano.
2. Rub Mint, Basil or Vanilla beans on your or his hand
It’s better to present the scent on a neutral object, an object that will not distract from the purely olfactory experience, but sometimes “you gotta do what you gotta do” and using your hand is all you have.
How about rubbing it on his wrist for enjoyment throughout the day?
3. Frozen Banana
This trick was shared by a creative parent a while back. Slice a banana, place the slices with a cotton ball or some tissue paper into a sealed container and freeze overnight. You’ll have yourself 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 you soak your dried fruit in 100 proof vodka for a few weeks and you have yourself your own essential oil.
5. Pick up fresh flowers
I did not want to miss the obvious.
I would love to hear your ideas. Please add them to the comment section below.