Using sensory-friendly items for development

Children from hard places often struggle with regulating their emotions and bodies due to deficits in their sensory development. We are all familiar with the five senses: seeing, touching, hearing, smelling, and tasting. But did you know we have three other internal senses that help us organize our world and regulate our bodies and emotions?

Our internal senses that begin developing in the womb are our vestibular, proprioceptive, and tactile senses. Our tactile sense, how we interpret touch, is the only sense that is fully developed at birth. The other two take time and nurturing. The vestibular sense tells our body where we are in space. The proprioceptive sense helps us register deep pressure in our muscles. It also helps our brain and our body determine when there is too much pressure or not enough. Why is this important?

This is important because it helps us to self-regulate our body, our behavior, and our emotions. These senses are critical to the success of children in our homes, our schools, and our world. These senses are important for social relationships and interactions with adults. Our senses are how we understand the world.

If these senses do not develop appropriately at a young age, it often leads to confused interpretations and behavior that is disruptive and difficult to manage. 

How you can help

Our Children and Family Services Team has recently completed Trust-Based Relational Intervention training. They learned how we can decrease these sensory deficits and improve self-regulation in children through the use of sensory play and activities.

Our homes are not currently equipped with sensory play items and accessories. We invite you to help incorporate them into our homes and daily activities. On Amazon is a wish list of the items that we need to fill the homes with these items that will help our kids to develop their senses, improve self-regulation, and overall, write a better story for their life.

See our entire wish list at:


Purvis, K., Cross, D.R., & Hurst, J.R. (2013). Trust-Based Relational Intervention® Caregiver Training: TBRI® Empowering Principles (Participant Workbook). Fort Worth, TX: Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development.