I’ve spent many years working with families in the United States and across the rest of the planet, helping them to create and implement their own Wild Child Sensory Strategies. The strategies are designed around a central theme – that children learn from their environment, and that their sensory strategies are shaped by their environments. (This is not a new concept – research has been done for decades on the subject. However, the strategies are often referred to as “sensitive.” This is because they specifically address children’s reactions to their environment – in this case, wild and dangerous stimuli.)
One of the best sensory strategies for Wild Child Sensory Strategies is to get your child used to quiet time. Children who grow up in households where there is regular daily noise are often those most susceptible to sensory issues – hyper-sensitivity, ear ringing, headaches, asthma, and irritable bowels are all symptoms of increased sensory stimuli. If your child can tolerate consistent quiet time, she’ll be well on her way to an enriched sensory experience. In fact, it has been shown that kids who can’t tolerate consistent quiet time – especially with the noise from the television or an unstructured play group – become easily irritated and hyper-sensitive. They also have lower self-esteem. (These same symptoms can be seen in physically/ verbally developmentally challenged children.)
Wild Child Strategies is not a set of tactics or routines. They are, in fact, a collection of skills. First, teach your child to identify and avoid potential sensory stimuli before they happen. Teach your child to be alert to changes in the environment and to be aware of how he or she feels when they are in certain situations. Finally, make sure your child has an opportunity to engage in these situations and take part in building a relationship with his environment.
For example, one Wild Child strategy that we’ve worked with is to set up play areas in your home where your child can be free to play and develop her sensory skills without distraction. In this way, she gets the chance to practice “active listening” – paying close attention to what’s going on around her. Another Wild Child strategy is to allow her to hunt for her own toys. You don’t need her to hunt for the toy all the time; just once or twice a day, and then put the toy back in its hiding place. This teaches her to distinguish between familiar toys and strange ones, to figure out how to open a toy box and where to put the different toys.
Don’t forget to spend time with your child outside of playtime, but at the same time make sure she is being entertained at home too. Bring her outdoors to the backyard and have some fun catching bugs. Feed her in the garden and let her explore all the garden implements you have. Show her what colors are good for her to differentiate between. Help her understand that all toys are not created equal and don’t forget to engage her interest in other things, like animals and nature.
Wild children learn their best when they are allowed to develop their own habits, and Wild Child Strategies for Autism is no exception. Allow your child to get in control of her toys. Set a few rules and impose them. Don’t punish her if she doesn’t follow them exactly; this will teach her to be more self-reliant. If toys are left in the cupboard unopened, do your best to keep them there until your child wants to play with them again.
It’s a good idea to buy some sensory stimulation for your child as well. There are a wide range of toys designed especially for young children who have sensory processing problems. These can help to make toys a lot more interactive and interesting. Just keep in mind that some toys are made to assist certain abilities, and these may not be suitable for your child.
Wild Child Strategies for Autism can be used by both parents and teachers alike. If you are having trouble communicating with your child or are trying to understand how your child is developing, this is a great strategy. You will be able to identify certain behaviors that may be causing extreme difficulty between you and your child. The strategies you learn can then be used to modify the behavior to a more consistent and acceptable level. This can be extremely important as your child continues to grow and develop.