• Anne Hedelius

Have you tried a crash pad?

Benefits of a Crash Pad:

Heavy work activities are ideal for children with sensory processing disorders. Why? Because the activities required during the movements can help with improving attention, proprioceptive input to the muscles and joints, body awareness, and calming to help minimize aggression, plus it’s fun and just tires them out. Children who are aggressive, overly stimulated or hyper active can all benefit.

Crash pads are one of the tools you will see if you visit a therapist’s office. While there are all sorts of resistance and deep pressure items available, the crash pad can offer many therapeutic benefits. Children who actively seek out excessive sensory input are usually looking for a way to calm themselves and organize. Some children will start “crashing” into objects or other people, possibly injuring themselves or others.

The crash pad provides a designated zone for crashing or jumping to satisfy any sensory seekers. Make sure to put some pillows, bean bags or cushions around the crash pad to create a safety zone. Therapists will place the crash pads inside of a ball pit(without the balls) to provide a safe padded border. Now let the children jump and crash to their content. It is also important to remember that what works well for one child may not benefit another. Always supervise and monitor their behavior and determine which activities calm them, arouse them, or over-stimulate them.

Primarily a dense crash pad offers a safe place for the child to jump and crash to satiate sensory seeking behaviors. Huge benefits of crash clouds are that they are HEAVY! Hide toys under the cushions so your child must lift in and crawl under or have your child pull it over to the other side of the room. Heavy work, which is pushing or pulling heavy loads, is essential for children that have difficulty regulating their arousal states. These are the kiddos that are crashers and jumpers and have an extremely hard time sitting still. Heavy work, a form of proprioceptive input, is a sure shot to help calm their neurological systems down.

Crash Pad Activities:

Clear a space and always provide adult supervision.Push or pull the pad across the room (some of them are heavy)Hide toys or objects under it so the child has to lift the crash padTry to crawl under it. Like a steam roller effect!Take turns jumping into the crash pad.Fall stiff like a cut tree falling… Timber!Lay into it and sink.Try rolling on it or sitting straight up.Catch a ball and fall into the crash pad!Watch a movie on it.Take a nap.Use it in a dark room for calming with a projector on the ceiling or walls.

How to create a FREE crash pad with items you already own (the expensive version can be purchased from Amazon).

Use a large duvet cover or sew three sides of two sheets or blankets together creating a giant pillowcase and attach Velcro, a zipper or buttons on the open side. Stuff full of objects you already have in your home and may not be using:

· Pillows

· Blankets

· Stuffed animals

· Towels

· Beanbags

· Sleeping bags

Your child can help stuff the items inside, they should be thick and enough of them so that there are no cracks to fall through and get hurt, but soft enough that the objects can move around a bit. The alternative to stuffing objects into a large duvet would be to just pile them in a corner of the room. Many children like to settle in for reading or relaxation. Let me know how it goes!

Adapted from

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