My son is currently 3.5 years old. From the time he was born, I knew there was something going on that I just couldn’t put my finger on. Was it autism? A learning disability? But how can you even diagnose that at such a young age? You cannot!
As he got older we discovered his love for music. No… not love. Obsession.
Spending time outside digging in the dirt wasn’t just our routine, but our essential routine.
We quickly started acquiring more and more supplies in our house such as swings, slides, crash pads, soft mats, and more.
At 2 years old our doctor finally gave us the term sensory seeker and suddenly our lives started making more sense!
When I started my research on a sensory seeker kiddo in a classroom, I found information on adaptive seating in classrooms. And OT time outside of the classroom. Teachers offering pencil toppers for chewing and small, quiet sensory toys to keep inside of their desks.
But the biggest turning point for our family was when I discovered this little golden nugget of wisdom-
“Learning cannot and will not happen unless all sensory needs have been met.”
Take out learning and swap it with any verb needed- Eating. Sleeping. Listening. Participating. Reading. Independent play. It all applies.
Once I started learning more about the different senses in our body, touch, taste, sight, feel, hearing, vestibular, and proprioceptive, and the needs that come with each of them, it started making more sense to us. We were realizing that a lot of the behaviors we were shutting down and trying to stop were actually just him craving the sensory input his body was seeking. Now instead of dismissing his sensory needs, we’ve fully embraced them and used them to our advantage, too!
Since then, he’s been eating better, sleeping better, playing better, and learning so much more.
It’s fascinating what we can learn about our children in the way they learn and think and develop! And it’s even more fascinating to see what develops when we allow them the space to do so on their own terms, and not ours.
We still have a long way to go on this journey for him and for us, and I’m very curious to see how it plays out with school and around peers someday. But for now, we’re loving and embracing this information.