How Sensory Activities Benefit Children With Disabilities


Everyone knows that our five senses – sight, touch, taste, and sound – play a vital function in the development of our brains. This is why sensory play is very important in repairing and strengthening our children’s minds and forming strong building blocks for learning in the years to come. Something that contributes to this type of development is speaking to a licensed professional like those found here.

“Remember, we all engage in sensory seeking behavior (such as tapping a pencil or chewing a pen cap while concentrating) and sensory avoidance (I personally hate touching cold, mushy things like raw meat). It is when these needs or aversions interfere with our functioning and cause dysregulation that we have a disorder,” Allison Kawa, PsyD, a child psychologist in Los Angeles, shares.

Several sensory activities are great even for infants, toddlers, and kids. And while most children just find these activities enjoyable, they are fun, engaging and certainly therapeutic for children with disabilities.


Here’s A List Of The Important Benefits Of Sensory Activities For Children With Disabilities.


Physical skills. Sensory play may look simple, but it entails strength and enthusiasm to throw ball, shape sand or slime, lifting things and splashing in the water, or running after other kids. All these activities help build muscle and improve flexibility. Mentally, they also increase fine motor skills and therefore develop coordination. Coordination is very important for disabled children, as sometimes it is difficult for them to eat by themselves.

“Children with physical disabilities, for example, cerebral palsy (CP), have mild-severe motor delay affecting mobility, posture, and strength needed for locomotion and exploration of their surroundings. Locomotion helps to develop spatial understanding,” Vickii B. Jenvey, BA, MEd, PhD, writes.

Cognitive learning. When kids explore the world using their senses, they further develop their way of thinking and reasoning. They can identify texture, smell, taste, and sound more distinctly. They are also able to differentiate the things that are introduced to them every day. Consequently, it is through experience that children learn better. For instance, being aware that pebbles and sand are of different texture but sand has the same texture as sugar.


Emotional Growth. There are several emotions that children feel and can express when they engage in sensory play. Sometimes, they feel excited and overwhelmed seeing their favorite toys and their peers, while other times they can be anxious and frustrated over the games, they’re playing. It can be frustrating for parents as well, and often, online communities can guide them in dealing with their children.

On the other hand, sensory play is more beneficial than destructive for disabled kids. Working on activities and playing with their fellow peers is also an effective way of releasing their frustrations and anxieties, and these are replaced with more positive thoughts and feelings.


Communication. Apparently, there is plenty of time and opportunities to learn how to communicate with others during sensory play. They can convey their feelings through verbal and non-verbal ways. There is nothing more exciting than hearing children with disabilities laugh in enjoyment, giggle over the small talks that they have with their peers, or simply smile in amusement over the things they have been learning through the activities.

“Research links ASD-related sensory-processing challenges to decreased participation in social activities, play, academic tasks, and self care – and to compromised attention, an essential foundation for communication and language development,” writes Aimee Piller, Ph.D., “Sensory issues can also contribute to self-injurious and aggressive behaviors, especially in children who are unable to communicate their difficulties.

Self-awareness and self-love. Through first-hand experiences utilizing their different senses, children with disabilities eventually learn to be responsible for their actions and can distinguish what they like and dislike. They are also able to realize that through regular use of their senses during play, they learn more, they make more friends, and they instill a love for self that they may not have felt before.


There is no doubt that sensory activities play an integral role in the development of a child’s growth and offers a lot of benefits especially to children with disabilities. They should only be guided and allowed to take control of their experiences through fun and interesting activities that will help them learn how to live their lives.