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Getting To Know Your Sensory Child
Hello again! Last time I left off with some advice about documenting your child's activity and their good and bad behavior. I wanted to go into a little more detail about how this can help you unlock the mystery that is in all our children. Documenting for me has become a big key into things that work for Chloe and things that don't work for her. When you are dealing with a child that has Sensory Processing Disorder, you can come across things that work one day and don't the next. This is because your sensory child can and will fluctuate from day to day, week to week, and even hour to hour. Having a list of different activities or different techniques can help out tremendously. The most important thing to remember here is that don't be afraid to try something new with your child. SPD can be so different for everybody and you might be nervous to try a technique with your child but I can tell you that sitting and waiting or letting therapy do all the work will not get you the best results. Being an active participant is very important for your SPD child, not just you, but important for the whole family to participate, brothers, sisters, mom, dad, grandparents, aunts, uncles. The more family you have on board and can participate and help out the better your child will do!!
The other part of that is the more involved you are with your child and the more you involve family the better you and your family will understand your child. If you keep these things inside you will essentially be shutting out others and allowing them to not be involved therefore, not understanding of your child's needs and your needs. Support groups are great for this as well and with the Internet there is no shortage, they can supply support and understanding along with ideas on fun things to do with your family to open up those lines of communication.
Bringing Back The FUN!
Enjoying our time with Chloe is key to making therapy work and to helping her push forward. The other big part is having fun while doing it. Chloe is as you already know a seeker, which means that we can do a lot of fun activities with her that can help get through rough patches and will help as she gets older to deal with her sensory issues. Messy play is a really big one and the best part! We basically have permission to make things messy!! Chloe loves to play with finger paint, play dough, water as long as it is at the right temp(doesn't like cold water). Chloe also enjoys deep pressure which means we get to play " Making a Chloe Sandwich", this involves two pillows squishing her between them we use our hands to apply pressure to her back pretending it is mustard or a blanket is cheese. Deep pressure techniques is something I use on a regular basis to calm her down during a melt down. This will help, even something as simple as putting a hand on either shoulder and pushing down can help calm her, try to remember that sometimes light/soft touches can have a negative reaction when dealing with a sensory child. I think usually the first reaction is to try and be gentle and lightly try to calm him or her but for us it is a more physical approach and we can get results usually in about 5-10 minutes.
Texture bags are another great tool and I have just started doing those getting heavy duty Ziploc bags put aloe Vera gel or even hair gel and then whatever else that would provide texture, it could be bouncy balls for bigger objects, try to get the air out and seal the bag you might want to add some extra reinforcement like wrapping the end in duct tape, just to make sure of leaks. You can also put small toys in the bag to make a seeker bag, see if your child can find all the objects in the bag and identify them. The other way is to leave out the gel and just get some dried beans or rice and put it in the bags for weight and for texture. Chloe really enjoys picking up heavier objects and feeling things with texture, this is a cheap way to provide some entertainment. The best part is you can make several of them and have your whole family make them together. I have a 4 year old daughter who is not sensory but she loves to help and make these bags together and I have her participate so she feels involved and it doesn't leave her out of the activity. You can also pour sand, rice, beans in a large tub or bucket, dump toys into it and let your child have fun finding them!! Check out the picture from above!
Bringing Back The Fun
Don't Be Afraid
One of the things I have learned through this process is don't be afraid. What I mean is don't be afraid of your sensory kid and all that comes with the learning and the therapy. Enjoy it!! Don't let other people be afraid either to interact and help. It can be difficult for others to feel at ease around your child because they are worried about doing something wrong or they don't understand enough about SPD. These activities can be fun for everyone to participate and play, I know it is easy to get wrapped up in being at full alert dealing with your child especially a sensory child but remember that having fun can help bring some joy and peace to you and your child. You get to participate and play in the dirt so to speak. When is the last time you as an adult got permission to play with finger paint?? I know that in my adult life it hasn't happened much, my boss's never said hey go out and find all your work I buried it in the sand box outside!! Bring back the fun into what can be a stressful road can help!! Speaking of I have some sensory bags to make! Live, Laugh, Love and most of all have Fun doing it!!!