What Are Sensory Diets in Paediatric Occupational Therapy

Amisha Gandhi

2 February 2022

Do you have a child with sensory issues? It may be challenging to expose them to different environments as they may be highly sensitive to certain sights, sounds, smells, tastes, textures, and other forms of stimulation.

These sensory issues are common in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or sensory processing disorders.

Children with sensory issues can either be hypersensitive to stimulation or have atypically low sensitivity. Children with these issues can benefit from paediatric occupational therapy to help them process this sensory information.

This article will help you understand paediatric occupational therapy for kids and how a sensory diet can help them.

What Does Occupational Therapy for Kids Do?

It may be challenging for your child to accomplish daily activities such as going to a new place, participating in playtime activities, or going to school due to their sensory issues.

Paediatric occupational therapy helps your child improve the skills they need to complete for daily activities. These skills are usually fine and gross motor skills along with sensory integration.

What Is a Sensory Diet?

Contrary to its name, a sensory diet does not actually have anything to do with nutrition. Instead of altering your child’s eating habits, a sensory diet exposes them to different sensory experiences to help them with sensory processing.

These experiences usually target different senses and can be customised to fit your child’s abilities and needs as every child has different sensory issues. 

Sensory diet activities are versatile and can be performed at home with parents, at school with their teachers, or during therapy sessions with an occupational therapist for kids.

Sensory Diet Activities and the Areas They Target

Here are some examples of sensory diet activities and the specific areas of sensory input they target:

  • Brushing or joint compressions for children with sensory issues with touch and textures
  • Hopscotch and jumping jacks as an exercise to build coordination and proprioception for children with issues with movement and proprioception
  • Listening to calming instrumental music or a white noise machine for children who are highly sensitive to sound
  • Using sunglasses outdoors and replacing light bulbs with LEDs that produce a softer light for children who are sensitive to visual sensory input
  • Smelling different cooking spices or essential oils for children who are sensitive to smells
  • Eating food with different textures for children who are sensitive to tastes

Available Resources on Sensory Diets

There are various options and resources available for children with different sensory issues. If you think a sensory diet is a suitable choice for your child, you can consult with your paediatric occupational therapist to discuss your options.

They are experts who can help you develop the best strategies to incorporate these sensory diet activities at home, at school, or in therapy. As every child has different manifestations and coping mechanisms for sensory issues, you will have to create a tailored plan for your child that targets their specific sensory issue.


If your child has sensory issues, they are more likely to be uncomfortable in situations with stimulating lights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures. Sensory diets are activities integrated into paediatric occupational therapy to help them with sensory integration.

You can contact an occupational therapist for children to help you develop a plan best suited for your child.

Are you looking for a paediatric occupational therapist in Sydney? Cloud Nine Therapy Services offers a range of evidence-based occupational therapy services for children. Contact us to learn more!