Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sensory Heaven

So this is where I was lucky enough to be for the past couple of weeks! My family and I just returned from a super-fantastic vacation in the beautiful states of Utah and Wyoming.  After visiting my brother, his wife, and my adorable niece in north Utah, we drove to Wyoming past these spectacular Grand Teton Mountains. The final destination was a week at a ranch near Dubois, WY!  It was such a relaxing week that got me thinking about how refreshing it is to find your own sensory heaven.  Imagine scents of pine, sage, and fresh lilac....the sound of rushing waters splashing against large boulders in the stream....the sights of snow covered mountains, crystal clear lakes, and horses running in the meadow.....the tastes of home cooked meals, fresh salads, and delicious baked goods.....the feelings of warm sunshine, cool air, and gentle breeze.  Truly a sensory heaven!  I found that I was more relaxed than I'd been in months and felt  ready for life again after this vacation.  Even more inspiring is to see that our two teenagers also consider this setting to be their sensory heaven.  No TV, no computers, no cell coverage...very remote and removed from the rest of the world.  I hear my students say that they "calm down" when they watch TV or play video games.  Many of my students have no opportunities to branch out of the city to experience the beauties of nature.  While I cannot give them the full experience I just had, I do try to incorporate sensory "pieces" such as maybe taking their work outside on a sunny day, offering scented lotion for them to rub on their hands before we start our session, or sharing a small treat.  People of all ages just function better when they are in an ideal sensory setting.  While it may not be "perfect" it is worth the effort to find the sights, smells, sounds, tastes, and tactile experiences that help you and those around you to perform at your very BEST!

Jen Dermody, OTR/L

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