What the heck is a “sensory diet”?

Have you heard other parents, therapists, or teachers using the phrase “sensory diet”? Do you think your child might be eating the wrong foods? FEAR NOT! A sensory diet is not even about food (in most cases).

A sensory diet is a strategy made up of a variety of activities that are purposefully scheduled into a child’s day to help with attention, arousal, and adaptive responses. Occupational therapists are usually an integral part of the process of creating and implementing a sensory diet. The primary goal of a sensory diet is to help a person be able to adapt and respond appropriately to the tasks and activities within their environment.

The effects of a sensory diet are usually immediate and cumulative. They can help to change a child’s nervous system over time. Children may be better able to:

  • tolerate challenging sensations and situations
  • regulate emotions and increase attention span
  • reduce sensory-seeking and sensory-avoiding behaviors
  • manage stress

A sensory diet is prescribed only by an Occupational Therapist or a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. If you have any questions regarding a sensory diet, please talk to the child’s therapist. We’ve included this awesome sample sensory diet so you can get a better idea of some of the tasks and activities that might be your child’s sensory diet.



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