Farm Therapy: A Natural Approach to Improve Sensory Integration

by Lois Hickman, OTR Occupational therapy on a farm, with real jobs that must be done regularly to maintain the land and the animals, improves sensory integration, self-awareness, and relationships with others. Farms, like children, involve growth, nurturing, hard work – and down-to-earth fun! The connectedness inherent in this way of life can promote healthy change at all levels for children with developmental delays. The interconnection of the natural rhythms of weather, seasons, daily responsibilities, play, music and dancing, story and song can bring especially important life experiences to individuals with physical, emotional, or intellectual challenges. Children with an aversion to touch may overcome this defensiveness when the goal is preparing a soil bed for flowers or carrots, or brushing angora rabbits to collect hair for spinning and weaving. An incentive for conquering the fear of being off the ground may be climbing the ladder to the barn loft to get cartons before gathering eggs. Children with physical challenges or…