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Sensory stimulation aids

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Sensory Stimulation Aids are a way to get children, elderly people, or people with cognitive disabilties to interact with the world around them. They come in four main categories, that can overlap(unless there are complications such as blindness or deafness): Visual Stimulation, Tactile Stimulation, Auditory Stimulation, and Taste and Smell Stimulation. These senses can be stimulated with specially constructed Sensory Stimulation Aids, or things that you have around the house, or even by performing certain activities.


Visual Stimulation

Visual Stimulation Aids help the sense of sight. There are devices that have been designed specifically for this, such as a vibrating light. Or, you can use things you have at home, such as bright wrapping paper and fluorescent paper, fish tanks, colored lights, strobe lights, wind-up toys, or mobiles. Playing a DVD on the T.V. is also a good way to prompt visual stimulation.

A touch-activated vibrating light
A touch-activated vibrating light

Tactile Stimulation

Tactile Stimulation is the promotion of the sense and action of touch. The vibrating light mentioned in the Visual Stimulation paragraph also promotes touch, as the light is turned on my pressing down on it. Many small children’s toys promote touch. Pets are also good aids (or swatches of fake fur or stuffed animals if allergies are involved), Silly Putty, dry noodles, snow or ice, feathers, and textured fabrics and papers are also easy-to-find tactile stimulators. Facials and massages are also good activities to encourage touch.

Silly Putty
Silly Putty

Auditory Stimulation

Auditory Stimulation is the stimulation of the sense of hearing. Some excellent aids are windchimes, metronomes and clocks, whistles, and water sounds (like a faucet or a fountain). Simple musical instruments, such as tambourines and rattles, are also a great way to mix auditory and tactile stimulation activities. Musical instruments are also a good way to encourage stimulation in those who are blind.

A metronome
A metronome

Taste and Smell Stimulation

Taste and Smell stimulation is exactly that: the stimulation of the senses of taste and smell, which are closely related. A good way to achieve this is to use distinct –tasting or –smelling flavors or odors. Chocolate, ice chips, peppermint, licorice, and peanut butter are all good taste stimulators. Strong smells like spices, candles, perfumes, and flowering bushes are good smell stimulation aids.


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