One of the struggles for me sometimes is figuring out what sensory input my child needs. He's not always able to tell me what he needs although he's working on filling that quota and it's a guessing game. Usually I am the one frustrated because he's doing something he knows he's not supposed to be doing and yet again I am telling him it's not okay or safe.
Maybe sharing what he does and what type of input he needs will help you recognize some of the needs your child has.
My child hangs off the stair rail.
Means he needs: something to hang off that's safe. Things like sensory swings, monkey bars, chin pull up bars in door ways and things they can hang off of safely are great things to fill this need that are acceptable.
My child is taking off and chewing on the ends of the door stoppers fully emerged in his mouth.
Means he needs: some oral sensory input. Things like chewys work or baby teething toys work. Another thing you can do is take empty fish tank tubing and tie it into a necklace. Also chewing on hard crunchy foods can also help like apples, carrots, celery, crackers, and foods that make noise when you bite them.
My child is chewing on his shirt collar and sleve cuffs.
Means he needs: same exact thing as above with the door stopper ends.
My child is jumping on the couches.
Means he needs something to jump on that is appropriate. Getting an indoor trampoline, making hopscotch on the floor inside or out, riding a bouncy horse, jump roping are all okay things that don't ruin furniture.
My child is climbing up his dresser.
Means they need something to climb. This one can be hard but if you can't take them outside you can have them climb up cushions, pillows, or blankets piled on the floor. Older kids can practice going up and down the stairs in various ways. Depending on how small the child is a small indoor plastic climber toy or slide with stairs.
My child is running and crashing into the doors and slider as hard as he can.
Means they needs some type of pressure activity. Doing squeezes, getting squashed in a bean bag or couch cushion. Jumping into a crash pad or pit. Playing 'timber' on a bed where you fall down is another option.
My child is touching EVERYTHING in the store.
Means they need different textures to touch. Give them something to hold with a variety of textures. Bring something with you with various textures such as a book with different feels. Things like squishy rubber toys, a marble maze in a piece of fabric, a bean bag, a blanket, a taggy toy, stress balls or silly putty, are all things that they can fidget with in the store.
My child is pulling every type of food he can and smearing or emptying it on the table and playing in it.
Means he needs something tactile to do again. Examine the textures he's playing in. Does he need something slimy like snot or pudding paints? Does he need something more rough like playing in cornmeal or sand. Does he need to play in liquid like water.
My child is playing in the water... again.
This means that water activities will work. Fill a tub with water and allow them to play in it (remember that dollar store shower curtain this would be a good idea for this type of sensory issue if it's not outside or in the bathroom), allow them to wash dishes, play in a kiddie pool, or take a bath or a shower.
My child is spinning in the living room with his arms in the air and is whacking his sister.
Some ideas for this might be giving him a safe place to spin in. Try a sit n spin or having him run in large circles. Put some tape on the floor or a hula hoop to designate HIS space.
My child is making oral noises as much and as loud as he can.
This one can be tricky because it can be two things I have found. It could be the sound it makes meaning it's an auditory thing or it could be an oral sensory issue. If it is noise you can try putting on the radio. Practice making animal sounds or letter sounds, give them something to sing, allow them to go into a room away from you to make these annoying sounds. You can also give them something like a musical harmonica, recorder, party horns, and things of that nature to blow into as well as make noise to fill both types of input.
These are just a few ideas of what we do or hopefully something that will help you understand your child's sensory needs. Also the book The out of sync child has a check off list to help you identify your child's sensory input needs as well as a lot of information on the different types of sensory issues. Her other books are also a wonderful asset because they give you activities that'll help fill the sensory needs your child may have. The Out of Sync Child has Fun and Growing an in-sync Child