Addington School

Sensory Diets


A “sensory diet” is a strategy used to manage sensory processing dysfunction (SPD). SPD is estimated to be found in up to eighty percent of children with ASD.  In essence, a sensory diet is a list of activities that helps to keep a child feeling ‘calm’ and organised that then allows them to attend, learn and behave to the best of their ability. 


Some children find it particularly difficult to get themselves to an appropriate level of alertness. This means that they can find it difficult to self-regulate themselves therefore have a too high or too long activity level.  As a result, children are either over-responsive or under-responsive to sensory stimulation from the environment. 


A sensory diet is used to help manage a child’s sensory-motor needs and reduce the impact any such dysfunction may be having upon the child’s attention and activity levels, behaviour and/or learning and skill development. A sensory diet is used both as a treatment strategy when attention or behaviour is problematic as well as a preventative tool in advance of known behaviour challenges (exposure to known triggers, certain times of day or specific environments). 


Just like we try to eat a balanced food diet to keep fit and healthy, we also need a balanced amount of sensory information in our bodies each day to allow them to work well.  A “sensory diet” provides regular opportunities for a child to ‘keep in check’ the imbalance in the sensory stimulation they are lacking, seeking or avoiding, to ensure that the amount received meets the body’s required levels to function well. 


Please find attached a collection of exercises children with ASD/Sensory Needs might wish to do at home to help supplement a sensory diet. 


Exercise Stations


The links below give pictures of Exercise Stations which the children follow at school to help with their sensory needs:


Alerting Exercises

Bunny hops

Crab walk – bend over, walk on hands and feet

Hop on one leg

Jog on the spot


Milk a cow

Shake your body

Star jumps

Step up and down

Trot like a horse

Walk on tip toes

Organising Exercises

Follow a pattern on floor – feet together, feet apart

Hula hoop hips – rotate hips and pretend you have an invisible hula hoop

Lean against wall and clap

Rotate arms in circular movements

Squat and stand

Stand on one leg and hold leg with other hand

Take little steps heel to toe


Calming Exercises

Climb a rope

Give yourself a hug or squeeze

Lay down and stretch

Lean on wall

Sit and lift

Sit and stand

Slide down wall

Stretch as wide as you can

Stretch up high

Touch your toes