7 Types of Sensory Needs & Creative Solutions

Katie Mitchell
Katie Mitchell
May 11, 2021 3 min read

There are many different sensory types and as many types of sensory needs! What's a grown-up to do? If you're overwhelmed by all the information out there about sensory processing, we can help you narrow down all this information a bit.

As a parent to a sensory kid, I've had the good fortune to learn a lot about the different sensory types from an occupational therapist and a pediatrician, as well as my child's learning plan team at school. With this knowledge, I love helping kids and parents find great toys for their needs because when these needs are met, children are more successful.

Meeting these needs also helps the grown-ups in your sensory kiddo's life. When needs are addressed and met in the classroom or at home, then your child can focus, better absorb information at a faster speed, and is more likely to remember to use any coping strategies they have learned.

Here are 7 different types of sensory needs, and some solutions and tools that can be used at home, as well as found here at Beyond the Blackboard.

A Child With Oral Needs May

  • Not like brushing their teeth or having their teeth professionally cleaned (this dislike goes beyond general discomfort - for example, they may require interventions for a regular visit to the dentist)
  • Bite frequently
  • Not like foods with certain textures
  • Often chew on their sleeve, pencils, fingernails, etc.
  • Be a very picky eater
  • Consistently crave salty, spicy, or sour flavors

Solutions for Oral Needs

  • Use a vibrating toothbrush
  • Provide crunchy snacks like apples, baby carrots, or seaweed snacks
  • Have a chewy on-hand
  • Provide chewing gum (if age appropriate)

A Child With Self-Movement Needs May

  • Love tight hugs or being "squished"
  • Jump or skip everywhere (instead of walking)
  • Hold objects too tightly
  • Be afraid of stairs or escalators
  • Be called "clumsy"
  • Seek pressure

Solutions for Self-Movement Needs

A Child With Auditory Needs May

  • Be extremely afraid of fireworks, or be startled and overwhelmed by crashing noises or loud sounds (for example, a fire alarm may cause an older child to "shut down" or become very upset)
  • Always be tapping their feet or their hands ("drumming")
  • Always turn up the volume on their device or when listening to music

Solutions for Auditory Needs

  • Encourage percussion lessons or provide instruments!
  • Make sure noise-cancelling headphones are always available for your child

A Child With Balance Needs May

  • Always be in motion
  • Love to be upside down
  • Love to spin
  • Crave intense or fast movement (roller coasters!)

Solutions for Balance Needs

A Child With Tactile Needs May

  • Avoid certain materials
  • Dislike clothing in general
  • Not like being touched
  • Love touching things that are smooth or have a soothing quality
  • Not like showers or getting wet
  • Not like being barefoot or walking on grass or sand
  • Wash their hands a lot
  • Dislike seams and tags in clothing

Solutions for Tactile Needs

A Child With Visual Needs May

  • Avoid eye contact
  • Avoid bright lights

Solutions for Visual Needs

  • Sunglasses!
  • There shouldn't be too many wall decorations in their spaces, and decorations should be calming
  • Use a weighted plush friend to practice making eye contact

 A Child With Olfactory Needs May

  • Be extremely sensitive to scents (perfume, coffee, laundry detergent, etc.)

Solutions for Olfactory Needs

It's important to note that most "sensory kids" experience a combination of these types of needs! If you have questions about sensory needs and preferences in your child, reach out to your pediatrician, who can refer you to a local occupational therapist.

Shop our Sensory Toys collection, here!

Beyond the Blackboard; 7 Types of Sensory Needs & Creative Solutions; www.beyondtheblackboard.com

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Required fields are marker *

Related Posts

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles - What to Do with Kids Until You Get There
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles - What to Do with Kids Until You Get There!

May 09, 2022 2 min read

We've got you covered for summer travel, with the best activities, games, and toys to keep the family entertained until you get there!
Creating a Calming Corner at Home or in the Classroom
The Best Toys for Creating a Calming Corner at Home or in the Classroom

May 05, 2022 3 min read

Children often experience big feelings and might need some extra support to process their emotions. Here are some great toy recommendations for creating an ideal calming corner!
The Ultimate Jellycat Blog Post; www.beyondtheblackboard.com
The Ultimate Jellycat Blog Post - Jellycat Stuffed Animals Spring 2022

May 02, 2022 4 min read

Bookmark this blog post and check back regularly for jubilant Jellycat updates!