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Everyday, each of us makes multiple decisions and interacts with our surroundings based on sensory input from our external environment, which for most, is automatically processed and interpreted. Conventional education teaches there are five sensory systems. In reality there are three more that help us understand and interpret our environment and develop physically, cognitively, and emotionally. These systems include the proprioceptive, vestibular, and interoceptive senses. This session will combine the expertise of occupational therapy and landscape architecture by exploring how appropriate sensory planning in play environments can help children, particularly those with sensory processing disorder, self-regulate and find an equilibrium of sensory input. The concepts of affect attunement, sensory lifestyles, just right stimulation, reflex response, and grasp will be discussed.

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify the basic sensory systems and their influence on childhood development.
  • Identify and thoughtfully apply principles of sensory development to play environment design.
  • Understand the fundamentals of how sensory input impacts play behaviors.

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