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Practical advices from a Pediatric occupational Therapist


Dr. Carrie Thompson, a pediatric occupational therapist who owns and directs OT for kids in Santa Monica, California, shares her advices for parents looking into starting to create a space for their child with special needs.

"We currently provide approximately 200 hours per week of services to children with a variety of needs. In addition to being an occupational therapist. I am also a certified interior decorator in which I decided to combine my knowledge of the two fields to create sensational sensory spaces, an integrative developmental design company that creates bedrooms play rooms and sensory gyms to promote development in children."

When looking at creating a room for your child that is not only inviting and fun, but one that also sparks creativity and a sense of tranquility, based on your child's individual needs.

Paints and Color

First and foremost you want to consider the foundation of the room. Paints, lighting, and flooring are very important aspects of your child's playroom and they must be considered when creating a space for your child to play and to learn. 

When looking to paint your child's room, consider the type of paint you're using, you'll want to make sure that you're using a non toxic paint on all the walls.

In addition, consider the color choices the walls color has a very strong influence on our lives, what would life be without color. Color affects our moods, our emotions, ability to attend, learn, and also has a strong influence on our healing.

Overall the use of color is very powerful learning environment, and integrates both the right and the left hemispheres together. It has been found that babies learn to communicate through the use of color before their language skills actually develop.

Lighting

Another thought to consider is lighting to your child's playroom. A reading lamp with a CFL or a compact fluorescent light bulbs, or low wattage LED is the best way to light your child's room.

If your child has overhead lighting in their playroom definitely consider changing those bulbs as well. 

Flooring

Flooring is another aspect that is very important to consider when creating a room for your child with sensory processing disorder. Many allergens live in carpets. 

In general allergy problems do not arise from carpet itself, but from dust mites, dirt, and mildew, that can build up in the carpet due to a lack of cleaning. Whereas hard surfaces encourages circulation of those irritants.  

Allergies

So many children with sensory processing disorder appear to have a higher incidence of allergies and research has shown that there is higher occurrence of allergies among tactile defensive children compared to that of the norm. So rather than using carpets or hardwood flooring, make sure that your child's playroom floor is cleaned often. 

Organization

The room you create for child needs to allow ample opportunities to learn but not to be cluttered, therefore and organized clutter-free space is very important. 

Cabinets are a great way to decrease clutter and the risk of overstimulating your child. You want to make sure that all toys have a specific spot in the room as children with sensory processing disorder needs structure and routines. 

Use of pictures is a great way to show your children where things belong.