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What is a sensory gym?

A sensory gym is a specialized space that provides children and adults with the opportunity to engage in sensory-stimulating activities. Sensory gyms are often used in occupational therapy to help children with sensory processing disorders (SPDs). SPDs are a group of conditions that affect how a person processes sensory information from the environment. Children with SPDs may be oversensitive or undersensitive to certain types of sensory stimuli, such as loud noises, bright lights, or certain textures.

Sensory gyms can help children with SPDs develop their sensory processing skills and learn to regulate their emotional responses to sensory stimuli. Sensory gyms typically contain a variety of equipment and materials that are designed to stimulate the different senses, including:

  • Visual: Brightly colored lights, mirrors, and other visually stimulating materials

  • Auditory: Music, sound machines, and other auditory stimulating materials

  • Tactile: Soft and textured materials, such as pillows, blankets, and playdough

  • Proprioceptive: Equipment that provides deep pressure and proprioceptive stimulation, such as swings, trampolines, and weighted vests

  • Vestibular: Equipment that provides vestibular stimulation, such as rocking chairs, spinning discs, and balance beams

Sensory gyms can also be used to help children with other developmental conditions, such as autism, ADHD, and Down syndrome. Sensory gyms can provide a safe and supportive environment for children to explore their senses and learn to cope with sensory stimuli in a positive way.

Here are some of the benefits of sensory gyms:

  • Improved motor skills

  • Improved sensory processing skills

  • Improved emotional regulation skills

  • Improved social skills

  • Reduced anxiety and stress

  • Improved self-awareness

If you are interested in learning more about sensory gyms or if you think your child may benefit from a sensory gym evaluation, please talk to your pediatrician or occupational therapist.


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