Meeting sensory needs without violating boundaries

Meeting sensory needs without violating boundaries

Sometimes people feel a strong need for a certain kind of sensory input, and then use other people’s bodies to meet that need even over their objections.

It’s not ok to do that. Not for sex, not for comfort, not for any other reason. People’s bodies are their own.

But sensory-seeking isn’t the problem. Failing to respect boundaries is the problem. There are other ways to get sensory input that don’t hurt anyone.

Here are some things that can help.

Squishables. These are giant big round stuffed animals. Hugging them feels like hugging, and hugging them and rocking can be very satisfying.

Fidget toys, like the ones available at Office Playground, can be helpful for some people.  Having something satisfying to do with your hands can make things feel a lot better.

Dollar stores and cheap stores and the cheap kid toys rack that a lot of stores have can be a good source for cheap fidget toys, too. (Silly putty works well for some people, for instance).

Wooden baby toys like this one and this one can be good. So can marbles. (Because they are hard and smooth and round and cold and can be rolled).

Listening to music on headphones can make being in spaces bearable. (Sometimes spaces are bearable either by holding onto people, holding objects, or listening to music with headphones. It’s good to have options that don’t require hanging onto others).

Stimming without objects can help too – flapping and rocking, in addition to being expressive body language, can be really useful as ways to regulate oneself and meet sensory needs.

Sensory Squids is a good blog about this for adults. (Because, you know? Most of us don’t outgrow this).