Scent of the Day
A sensory diet is a treatment that can help children with sensory processing issues. It includes a series of physical activities that child can do in school and at home. It has nothing to do with food, however food can be used as a prop. It’s a carefully designed series of physical activities and accommodations tailored to give each child the sensory input they need.
Sensory diets can be used as part of sensory integration therapy. Completing a sensory diet routine can help children get into a ‘just right’ state, which can help them pay attention in school, learn new skills and socialise with peers. It can help understand the daily routine at home and in school. Teacher or an occupational therapist can design a sensory diet routine tailored to meet child’s needs. Use of sensory scent at home can minimise child’s risk for overstimulating and help them stay in that ‘just right’ mood.
The gustatory system is our sense of taste. The sense of taste is not just one sense that is located in the mouth, but rather several sensations that are experienced in and around the mouth - smell, texture, and temperature. Once the taste is combined with the smell, the actual “flavour” is produced and interpreted by the brain. Just like our sense of smell, our sense of taste is directly linked to memories and emotions. There are five basic qualities of taste that have been described: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and savoury. Many foods and drinks are a combination of these five.
Wake up club at Fort Royal is an excellent example of a sensory diet. Variety of sensory activities can be incorporated into that, for example different scent representing each day of the week to help remember the routine of the day and stay within the ‘just right’ state.
To support your child’s sensory diet and its daily scent routine at home you may consider using the following to either begin the day with the right smell, finish it that way or to even do both of these things, introduce daily and use it at the end of the day. The following scents of the day are marking each school week for every child using it.
What can you do at home?
Monday is a vanilla day at Fort Royal, this means that you could support your child by washing their hands in the morning with a vanilla scented soap, tasting vanilla yoghurt etc., smelling vanilla scented candle and blowing it before leaving for school, and exploring fresh vanilla pods in their hands. You could use vanilla hand cream to rub it in their hands together, shaking their hands gently for ‘good bye’ and encourage them to smell their hands after. The possibilities are endless, all depending on what scented resources you can provide.
Tuesday is an orange day at Fort Royal, sometimes we use pink grapefruit resources if children have allergy to the orange scent, you can do the same at home. The idea is exactly the same, to use of orange scented items appropriately with your child at home to include: soap, hand cream/body lotion, oils, room spray, candle, lipstick/lip balm, oranges to handle, dried oranges to smell, scented orange sticks etc.
Wednesday is a strawberry day at Fort Royal, we are trying to use fresh strawberries when possible, available and safe (again restriction apply to those with allergies). You could try that too, including hand/shower/bath liquids, strawberry lipstick, cereals with dried strawberries, cookies with strawberry fillings, strawberry jam, strawberry hand cream/ body lotion. All that supported with a scented strawberry candle and room spray after soaking hands in a strawberry soap. Handling and licking strawberry Haribo’s (although not recommended in large amounts) is a great end for that session.
Thursday is an apple day at Fort Royal. Children are able to explore and taste different flavours, shapes and colours of apples. They can smell the fresh room spray in the air, rub in hand creams, smell oils, handle dried apples, try apple lip sticks/lip balms, smell and blow the apple candle, make apple crumbles sometimes etc. Again, ideas are endless and you could use your imagination to support that at your home.
And finally, Friday is a cinnamon day at Fort Royal, again, sometimes children may show allergic reaction to this scent, it is therefore recommended to not to use it on their skin if that is the case. If you can provide a cinnamon flavoured breakfast in a form of cereals or anything else sprinkled with grounded cinnamon, that would be great. Cinnamon hand cream, lip stick/lip balm, candle to blow are some great additions to the Friday scented routine. Cinnamon tea, cinnamon bun, cinnamon oil from the diffuser or cinnamon yoghurt and cinnamon scented playdough may attract that daily routine.
All that is supported with a morning song, matching day board, based on symbols, consolidating skills around phonics in familiar words and signs and visual timetable.