Sensory Enrichment Therapy™ is designed to enhance everything you are already doing. Studies have shown that it helps individuals become more comfortable, confident, and independent. Modern families are busy and Mendability is designed to fit in with daily life at home.
This article is designed to help you realize how you can reach your goals and still have time for everything else that matters.
Below you will find six recommendations that will help you maximize the time you spend with your child.
— Prepare and set up ahead of time —
When you get your exercises, take a few minutes to gather the materials you are likely to need and prepare a kit that you can access easily.
Not only will this help cut down on setup time, but it may also open up new opportunities to do exercises when the participant is in a good mood.
Consider printing your worksheet and posting it where you will see it often. It will remind you to stay consistent and is likely to add motivation as you check it off of your to-do list.
— Start by focusing on the Multisensory Core Protocol —
As you start this new therapy program, start slow by focusing only on the first exercise, the Multisensory Core Protocol. The Multisensory Core Protocol is one of Mendability’s most powerful protocols; it layers several sensory experiences that you will use often in this therapy.
When you are comfortable with this in your routine, gradually add in each exercise one-by-one.
— Feel free to involve other people —
If you have other people who can help you, we encourage you to include them in the therapy routine. Team members can include family members, volunteers, therapists, friends, or anyone invested in your therapy.
Including other people in the therapy will not only relieve some of the pressure, but it will also benefit the other individuals by exposing them to the protocols and will also help your child develop social bonds.
If you are doing the therapy for yourself it is a good idea to have another person involved for accountability and motivation.
— Remember that exercises are short —
Because of the targeted and powerful nature of Sensory Enrichment Therapy, the protocols are brief and should not last longer than one to two minutes each. Once the combination of sensory inputs prescribed in the exercise has been experienced, the objective of the protocol has been reached and you can move on.
If the experience is pleasurable and you have the time to allow the session to last longer, then it is okay to do so.
However, if the exercise drags on because of resistance, feel free to let go and move on. Look for ways to help the participant be interested in the next session. You may consider doing a modified version of the exercise for a few sessions until the participant is more comfortable with the instructions. There is flexibility built into the therapy for you to adapt the protocols to meet the personality and limitations of the individual.
— Enrich your existing routines —
The more you are able to blend exercises into daily life, the more comfortable the participant will be with the therapy, and the smoother and more effective the therapy will be.
There is a good chance you might be able to turn some of your existing routines into Sensory Enrichment Therapy exercises.
Here are some examples:
- Consider keeping some Sensory Enrichment Therapy equipment in your vehicle. You could do a quick smell and touch pairing sitting in your parked car before you leave. This will ease anxiety and promote relaxation on your trip.
- You can also take this one step further. If your worksheet doesn’t have complex games, you may be able to do a complete therapy session in the car while the car is parked before or after a journey. Your car could become a prime location for daily implementation of the program in a distraction-free environment.
- When you enter a new location, look for new textures to explore, such as the railing in the stairwell or the bark on a tree. Use a nearby scent to do an active smell and touch pairing.
- If your child is still in diapers, use the creams, lotion, or powder available to you to do touch and scent pairings. Changing a diaper is also an opportunity to speak softly, cuddle, introduce textures, and even connect through mirroring of facial expressions.
- Children are naturally calmer after a diaper change. Take advantage of this time to do your complete worksheet of exercises with a more compliant child.
- Mealtime can be another good setting for Sensory Enrichment. There are a lot of colors and textures in food. The therapy recipient can scan, touch, smell, and experience mealtime in a new way.
- In fact, mealtime can be a good time to do a therapy session. The participant already expects to interrupt his activities and join you for the meal. All you have to do is set up your materials ahead of time.
- Bath time is a great opportunity to complete a session that has exercises using temperature receptors. Warm towels and bowls of cold water can give you the tools you need to introduce the stark contrasts required for many Sensory Enrichment Therapy protocols.
- Bedtime routines can be enhanced as well. Many Sensory Enrichment Therapy protocols are designed to be relaxing. Initiating a session before bedtime can help your child wind down.
— Make alternate plans when you cannot do everything —
Your worksheet lists the ideal set of exercises, but we understand that life happens. If you know the week ahead will be busy, utilize the “simplify” slider to view what’s most important. Use this feature to prioritize exercises and put an alternate plan in place until you can resume full therapy.
Our internal statistics on progress rates show that daily consistency is the key to success. The progress rate dramatically increases when individuals do at least one exercise every day. It’s better to do fewer exercises every day than to do all of them only a few days per week.
Sensory Enrichment Therapy is worth doing well, but as you witnessed, this does not mean doing it “exactly like it says on the box.”
- Prepare and set up ahead of time.
- Start by focusing on the Multisensory Core Protocol.
- Feel free to involve other people.
- Remember that exercises are short.
- Enrich your existing routines.
- Make alternate plans when you cannot do everything.
You are the expert on your child and over time you will master figuring out the best way to do therapy with him or her. If you need more suggestions about how to combine Mendability with your daily routine, your Mendability coach is there to help you.
Personalizing the therapy to your child’s specific needs and routines will facilitate the brain’s mechanisms of growth and repair.
Twice a month or so, we send out research articles, sample protocols to try, videos, all to learn more about Sensory Enrichment Therapy.
Our newsletter is also the best way to stay in touch and be notified of training workshops and other events.