What kid doesn’t like playing on an iPad this day and age? Video and online games are also an incredible way to help us teach our children just about anything. However, when it comes to a child with a sensory processing disorder, online learning is not a lot of fun (at least for us, parents). I always laughed that with my sensory seeker the learning curve got way curvy. Sensory processing disorder slows down an overall speech and developmental development. That is why it is crucial to get a head start on the preschool online activities and education early.
A child with a sensory processing disorder, a sensory seeker in my case, is good at running into things, crashing, jumping, bumping, running. Sensory processing disorder makes seekers crave stronger impact of whatever it is he interacts with.
I also discovered that programs that my friends recommended as highly rated and a perfect fit for their little ones didn’t do anything for me and my son as all he wanted was to clicking endlessly, scream or sometimes slide under the table, crawl into a ball and pretend to sleep.
Five things to consider when choosing online preschool sensory activities for your sensory seeker
1. Entertainment is not always best for a child with Sensory processing disorder.
While advanced animation makes learning fun, fun entertainment is a perfect distraction for a sensory seeker. My son would get the biggest kick out of picking the wrong answer on purpose just to see the character on the screen do something funny. He would usually also take that as an opportunity to do a funny thing himself. When picking an online activity program look for those with minimal forms of entertainment. Simple graphics and minimal motion might be the best choice for someone who has a hard time separating learning from playing.
2. Stay with your child while he studies
Since it is quite tricky for a sensory seeker to sit still and answer questions while doing preschool sensory activities, you have to stay with him. While it might be tempting to use computer time to catch up on emails or wash the dishes, make a point of being present. Any time I would walk away from the room, I would find ripped envelopes, freehand drawing on the table, etc upon on my return. What worked best for me? Ideally, I would sit next to him, hug him tight and repeat five times what the program says or give him high fives for the job well done.
3. Structure to Success.
Like many sensory seekers, my son does better in the environment of the structure. If the learning curve mimics a class, it has higher chances of success, and online preschool sensory activities is not an exception to the rule. Somehow, if I offer my son options, his answer is usually NO or Hmmmmm.
Reading Kingdom class has a beginning, an end, and a certificate at the end of each course. There is also a test at the end of each level to make to decide if your child is ready to go to the next level or would benefit from a few weeks of review.
4. Pause and Breathe.
If the program you are considering has time constraints, check if it also comes with a recessed button. This particular program allows me to stop the class for up to 12 minutes. Sometimes it’s a potty train break, and sometimes my little guy just needs to run around to let the steam out.
5. Plan your bribes ahead of time.
Learning might not be all that much fun for both of you (and especially for you), so get ready for rewards. I sometimes have to reward myself with a piece of chocolate, but my son needs the promise of an online game or You Tube time. Remind him about rewards often as his fun part of the brain will do everything possible to not do the work. Talk about the reward ahead of time and deliver on your promise as soon as the task is complete. Fail to deliver and you will have a harder time convincing your child do the work next time.
Want to read more about sensory processing disorder, sensory seeker or just raising hyperactive boys? Go here.