||GETTING IN TOUCH
This little quote came from Missy Chrisman some time ago. “Hugging is healthy. It helps the body’s immune system. It cures depression. It reduces stress. It induces sleep. It’s invigorating. It’s rejuvenating. It has no unpleasant side effects. Hugging is all-natural, organic, naturally sweet, and 100 percent wholesome. It contains no pesticides, no preservatives, and no artificial ingredients. There are no movable parts, no batteries to wear out, no periodic checkups, no insurance requirements, and no monthly payments. It is inflation-proof, nontaxable, non-polluting, and fully returnable.”
Teenagers tell us that their parents don’t hug them enough. That tells me that parents of the children in our school are not getting enough practice, and my guess is that our parents are not getting enough hugs themselves. From the very beginning, babies need touch to connect them to the world. Their whole bodies respond to the lightest sensation, and you can watch a baby smile with her whole body, reaching out to embrace the person who connected with her. A sick, sad, or old person responds most quickly to a touch.
The sense of touch is one of our most important senses. Like the other senses that play an important role in sensory integration, it usually goes about doing its job without our noticing very much. Yet it is vitally important for allowing us to perform many skills and to feel comfortable in our world. When the sense of touch is not specific, that is, it doesn’t provide clear, consistent information, then it may be more difficult to understand differences visually or cognitively. Here are some fun little games that not only help a child with sensory integration, but they’re wonderful games to get a parent in touch with just fun.
• Play hide and find games with objects hidden in rice, sand, or under the bubbles in the bath. Choose objects your child is familiar with, and see if he can identify objects by touch alone.
• Describe an object being felt without looking at it. You can keep the ideas simple, such as “round”, “cold”, or “wet”, or more complex, such as “a long, smooth, pointed object”.
• Have objects with different textures available for play. Help your child discriminate between soft and hard, rough and scratchy, bumpy and smooth, etc.
• Identify shapes, letters, or numbers that are drawn on a back or hand. This is a good game while you’re waiting or traveling.
• Draw simple lines, shapes, letters, or numbers with fingers in sand, play-doh, soap suds, pudding, etc.
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