Children with sensory integration problems
often crave deep pressure, and occupational therapists
working with them might provide that by wrapping them up in gym mats for some serious squeezing. You probably don't have gym mats at home, but you can do something similar with a heavy blanket and a game that makes your child a "burrito." In addition to the rolling, the game provides a way to have some fun physical interaction from a child who might otherwise shrink from touch or hugs. Keep in mind that this is supposed to be fun for your child -- if anything causes distress, STOP.
Time Required: Depends on how many times your child begs, "Do it again!"
- Spread a blanket, afghan or oversized beach towel on a bed or the floor.
- Have your child lay along one edge of the blanket, on back or tummy, with hands at sides.
- Massaging your child from shoulders to ankles with firm, deep pressure, apply the "beans" to the burrito. Announce "First we put on the beans."
- With similar motions, announce, "Next we put on the ground beef."
- In separate steps, add onions, green peppers, lettuce, salsa, rice, sour cream, cheese, and whatever other toppings you like, varying your motions as your child likes -- tickling if he likes that, little pats if she's comfortable with that, or, if anything other than deep pressure is upsetting, a continuation of that.
- When all the toppings are on, announce, "Now we roll up the burrito." Roll your child over and over until he or she is wrapped tightly in the blanket. Be sure to leave your child's face and head OUT of the wrapping so that breathing is not impaired, and follow your child's lead as to how much tightness feels good and how much feels restricting or uncomfortable.
- For a little extra deep pressure, lean a little of the weight from your body on top of the rolled-up burrito and pretend to take a big bite!
- Let your child escape from the roll, or help with the unrolling. Be prepared to repeat the whole process again, and again.
- For a variation, read the book "Pete's a Pizza" by William Steig with your child and adapt the dad's pizza-making technique to your play with your child.
- This same procedure can also be used to make your child into a hot dog, a hamburger, or just about any food your child can come up with.