Four year old Twinkle has Sensory Processing Disorder, something I’d not really heard of before she came into our lives, but something, when described in the context of her ‘symptoms’, makes complete sense of many things that she likes, dislikes, does and doesn’t do!

It’s all new to us and we are learning as we go along but my understanding is that Twinkle is a ‘sensory seeker’…..she loves sensory experiences! However she doesn’t always understand how to use her senses to access things. For example, her SPD results in cortical visual impairment, meaning that although her eyes can see she doesn’t always use them, doesn’t always process the information that her eyes are giving her and will sometimes revert to using her sense of hearing or touch instead - unless it’s something really worth using her eyes for!

Unfortunately finding purpose designed sensory facilities seems to be a tricky one (disappointing, as sensor play is inclusive for all abilities, especially toddlers and younger pre-schoolers, but it seems to be a rare beast and generally limited to the realm of special needs), so we have had to find our own everyday fun! This can be as simple as just going outside! Twinkle LOVES being outside, just outside, anywhere and in any weather! I suppose the natural light, temperatures, smells, sights and sounds are just so different to being indoors, and so open. She loves looking up at the trees and seeing the contrast with the sky and hearing the wind in the branches, feeling the wind and sun, and even rain, on her face.

It just lights her up!

So our favourite free, local entertainment is to take a walk to our (huge!) local garden centre. This provides us with year round entertainment. In the summer, there are all the flowers and plants, sights, colours and scents and in the winter they put on a huge Christmas display with lights and jingly music galore! There is also a pet corner and aquarium shop. The rabbits and guinea pigs Twinkle can take or leave, but the fish are THE thing! She loves them! Partly the bright colours and movement, but I think really it’s the bubbles and the reflections of the light on the water in the big fish tank that grabs her attention.

I have toyed with getting a fish tank for home, but maintenance and cleaning it puts me off….plus why have our own when we can come to the garden centre, see the fish and then treat ourselves in the centre’s café with a huge piece of cake!?

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