INFO ABOUT SPD
ACTIVITIES FOR SPD
UNDERSTANDING THE SENSES
BODILY SENSATION AND SPD
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a developmental condition that revolves around the processing of bodily sensation. Sensory processing disorder can cause difficulty in performing activities in everyday life. The symptoms of SPD are a result of multi-sensory information being processed abnormally by the brain. As a result, those with SPD may respond inappropriately to stimuli within their environments.
Some children with SPD fail to respond to or over-respond to multi-sensory information such as taste, touch, smell, sound and vision. For some, the tactile feel of a shirt touching the skin feels uncomfortable. Those affected with SPD may have difficulty processing one sense or multiple senses all at once. One of the most common symptoms of SPD is difficulty processing tactile information or information focusing on touch.
Most times, SPD is noticed early on and is diagnosed in childhood. Certain children on the autism spectrum also show symptoms of SPD. Oversensitivity to sensations may cause children with SPD to overreact to stimuli. This can be seen in the presence of loud sounds. On the flip side, some children with SPD demonstrate under sensitivity. This can result in a child being totally or minimally unaware of bodily sensations. Under sensitivity to certain sensations can be problematic when it comes to being aware of things such as hunger, pain, or heat and cold.
Recognizing the symptoms of SPD can be straightforward if you know what you are looking for. Here are some common signs of SPD:
- Lack of awareness of pain or other people
- Not being aware of feeling soiled or wet
- Not feeling pain when hurt or wounded
- Sluggishness and lack of responsiveness
- Sensitivity to loud sounds
- Negative reactions to textures, clothing, and touch
There are a variety of tools to treat the symptoms of SPD. Slowly introducing new sensations and allowing time to acclimate can temper reactions. Children with under sensitivity to tactile stimuli may benefit by wearing tight fitting clothing to help nerves in the skin to respond to sensations of touch. At night, a heavy, weighted blanket or comforter can help soothe and aid sleep.
Every patient with SPD is different: while some are oversensitive, others are under sensitive. It is important to navigate each case individually in order to develop a treatment plan that is customized to the sensory challenges experienced by each different person.
THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF SPD
Processing of sensory information is an integral part of everyday life. Walking, eating, getting dressed and engaging in conversation all require sensory processing. However, some individuals have difficulty with the processing of this information. Those with sensory processing disorder can become overwhelmed by the amount or intensity of sensory information coming from their bodies and from the environment around them. They may have difficulty providing the right response to the stimuli, which can often cause difficulty in everyday life. Parents can often detect the signs of a sensory processing disorder early in life when children display frequent temper tantrums or seem to have reduced responsiveness to everyday stimuli. Here are some common signs and systems associated with sensory processing disorder.
There are a variety of tools to help manage the symptoms associated with sensory processing disorder. In order to avoid physical discomfort, tight fitting seamless clothing can offer comfort. Developing a reliable routine can help children develop their sequencing skills and avoid frustration with unexpected events. Here are some common signs and systems associated with sensory processing disorder that can be treated with these solutions:
Sensory Modulation Problems
Sensory modulation is the inability to properly regulate the intensity of sensory information coming from the body or from the environment. For example, children may find some fabrics extremely itchy and uncomfortable. They may have a highly sensitive gag reflex or find some food textures extremely unpleasant. Grooming tasks, such as hair brushing, tooth brushing or nail trimming can be extremely disturbing. This can also present itself as a high sensitivity to light, to sound or to being touched. Children with sensory processing disorder may respond to these stimuli with extreme behavioral or emotional responses.
Sensory Discrimination Problems
In this type of sensory processing disorder, the child has difficulty separating stimuli and assigning proper meaning to it. Children with sensory discrimination difficulties may not be able to manipulate objects when they are out of sight. They may have trouble distinguishing different sounds or may not be able to find an object in a cluttered picture. They may have trouble with balance or movement speed or may use too little or too much force on objects.
Postural or Vision Problems
Processing problems can also occur in managing the body. This can result in poor posture or balance. Eye or head movements may be poorly controlled. It may also result in trouble tracking moving objects with the eyes or uncertainty with right or left-hand dominance.
A number of testing methods can be used to assess the extent of the sensitivity and to determine the right therapies to help these individuals manage sensory input more effectively. With the right tools, sensitivities can be treated and managed proactively.
THINGS TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT SPD
Sensory Processing Sensitivity and Sensory Processing Disorder are neurological disorders which encompass a wide array of symptoms. Children with Sensory Processing challenges may experience intense physical responses to simple experiences such as rain on their face or having their nails trimmed. Hypersensitive and hypo sensitive responses are possible, depending on the child's condition. This inability to tolerate or register sensory input may lead to learning challenges, isolation, and, in the case of children who cannot register strong physical compression or strong smells that may indicate toxic substances, danger.
Children with hypersensitive touch responses may be unable to tolerate:
- having their hands dirty
- clothing against their skin
- the texture of certain towels or blankets
- dental care
Hyposensitive sufferers seek out:
- touch, including the feeling of being squished
- rough play, so much so that they may harm other children or animals
- vibrational experiences, such as the washer on spin cycle or very loud television
- extremely flavorful food, or food served at extreme temperatures
Auditory hypersensitivity behavioral displays may include:
- sensitivity to objects such as fluorescent lights humming, the whine of a television set, or the fan of a refrigerator
- cries when startled by loud or unexpected noises
- discomfort in movie theaters, music concerts and other sound intensive events
Children who under-register sounds when no hearing problem has been diagnosed may
- love loud music and turn the television to extreme volumes
- struggle to remember instructions or stories
- not recognize when being spoken to
- talk themselves through an event or a task
Hypersensitive response to visual input include:
- inability to tolerate light
- difficulty in focusing on a task for a long period of time
- struggles in brightly painted areas
- avoiding eye contact
Under-responsive reactions to visual input include:
- letter and word reversals. For example, "b" for "d" and "was" for "saw"
- struggles with copying or tracing
- inability to distinguish between shapes and colors
- confusion over left and right
Developmental milestones may be more challenging for children with sensory challenges, including:
- poor fine motor skills. Clothing fastenings, scissors and crayons are a challenge
- poor tactile perception. Reaching into a backpack, they may be able to grasp an object, but they have to see it to identify it
- constant mouthing of objects long past infancy
Children with Sensory Processing Disorder struggle to find their sense of balance and may have poor muscle control. Because their understanding of where their body is in space is not trustworthy, these children:
- cling to those they trust, and fear falling
- may walk on their toes
- might stomp their feet or walk very slowly
- bump into objects even after seeing them
Sensory Processing Sensitivity and Disorder impact all of the senses. Hyper- or hypo-sensitivity to touch, sight, hearing, taste and smell may result in an uncomfortable and dangerous world as they puzzle out what items cause discomfort and what may actually cause harm.
While all children may experience phases of behaviors that may cause concern for caregivers, extreme responses to light, touch, smell and sound may be socially destructive and isolating. Conversely, the need for rough physical contact may be dangerous for the sensory challenged child and the children around them. Early diagnosis and locating the right resources is critical to the development of the child.
WHY TEXTURES ARE SO CRITICAL FOR CHILDREN WITH SPD
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is commonly attributed to those suffering from autism. However, SPD affects many children outside the spectrum as well. Here are some common symptoms associated with SPD as well as the most prevalent triggers that can affect them and some effective tips for managing these triggers.
What is SPD?
Sensory Processing Disorder, or SPD, is a condition in which a person's brain has difficulty processing and responding to information that affects the senses. The stimuli that are affected by this condition can be auditory, visual, tactile, or olfactory. A person’s nervous system suffering from SPD doesn't accurately receive sensory information, making it difficult for the person to respond to sensory information in an appropriate manner.
Common Triggers for Children Suffering from SPD
Since SPD manifests in many different ways, the triggers that each child finds bothersome can vary. However, there are many common themes that present themselves in children struggling with SPD.
One of the most common triggers is related to clothing, shoes, and undergarments. Children with SPD may be triggered by rough clothing, tags, or loose-fitting clothing that rubs against their skin. As a result, children with SPD may have strong preferences regarding their shoes, socks, underwear, and other clothing items. Clothing made of triggering materials or textures can create stress and sensory overload for a child with SPD.
Another common trigger for children with SPD is loud sounds. Everyday sounds from lawn mowers, thunder, blenders, or vacuum cleaners can provide triggers for children suffering from SPD.
Tips for Reducing or Eliminating Triggers
It can be very difficult for parents and loved ones of children with SPD to know how to avoid things that will potentially trigger sensory overload.
For children that are bothered by specific types of clothing or tags, tight-fitting clothing be a good solution to minimize bothersome materials. Compression shirts like the Compresso-T can prevent garments from rubbing against the skin with normal everyday movements and thereby lessen the stimuli coming from touch. Clothing with printed tags may be a much more comfortable option than clothing with tags sewn into the garment. Seamless garments are another great option for reducing tactile overstimulation.
Common Symptoms of SPD
Since SPD occurs on a broad spectrum, there are a variety of possible symptoms. These symptoms are common indications of an existing issue with SPD or a similar condition.
- Unusual Fears or Phobias
- Poor Ability to Track Moving Objects
- Preferences for Specific Types of Clothing
- Avoidance of Specific Food Textures
Each form of the disorder can come along with its own challenges and symptoms. Figuring out which things trigger a child with SPD can help prepare for and avoid these triggers in everyday life. SPD can present unique challenges for both children and parents. Understanding the triggers that create stress can effectively reduce situations that can be upsetting and stressful for children suffering from SPD.
HOW BEHAVIOR IS AFFECTED BY SPD
Children with sensory issues can be misunderstood as defiant or oppositional. Caregivers can play a large part in helping to understand a child’s experience, eliminate triggers, and provide products and services to support positive development.
What is Sensory Processing Disorder and How Does it Affect Behavior?
SPD is a condition in which the brain has difficulty processing information received from the senses. As a result, kids with SPD are oversensitive to ordinary inputs, and may show this through distressed behavior. Screaming and tantrums are a few behavioral expressions of distress by children with SPD. Children with SPD may also have a low pain threshold and may find that everyday sensations and experiences cause extreme discomfort.
What Are Common Sensory Triggers?
Every child is unique, but there are several common sensory triggers that children with SPD share:
- Tags and seams in clothing
- Hair brushing
- Loud noises
- Bright lights
- Strong smells
- Being touched
- Bitter or tart flavors
What Things Can Help Kids With SPD?
- Therapy and school services can help educate loved ones about activities and products that may help with the triggers and symptoms of SPD. Here are a few helpful tips that can help alleviate some of the behavioral side effects of SPD:
- Develop a sensory routine: create a customized set of sensory experiences that can be done at home, school, and other locations. Sensory routines can include pushing, pulling, jumping, lifting, and pressure.
- Seamless and compression clothing: many children with SPD can’t tolerate tags, seams, or loose fitting clothes. Experiment with seamless and/or compression garments to find comfortable, reassuring clothes.
- Incorporate sensory activities at home: encourage activities like carrying laundry or pushing a broom. Touch foods at dinner, take long baths and take the time to feel the sensation of washcloths, bubbles, and lotion. Each of these ordinary activities can add to a child’s range of sensory information and increase tolerance.
SPD is a complex condition that can be intensified by behavioral reactions to triggers. Expanding sensory tolerance is an important part of increasing sensory tolerance and reducing behavioral outbursts.
GETTING RESTFUL SLEEP WITH SPD
Sensory processing disorder (SPD) occurs when the brain fails to process visual, audial, or tactile information that it receives from the environment. Here is some helpful information about the nature of this condition, and what can one do to deal with some of the side effects that it can cause.
Symptoms and Causes of SPD
SPD can affect multiple senses or be concentrated to a singular response to sensory input. Hypersensitivity is a common side effect of SPD and can be triggered by loud noises, textures, and disruptions to common routines. Certain triggers may cause extreme reactions that can be disruptive. Doctors are still unsure as to what causes the SPD. Some studies suggest that there may be a genetic predisposition for developing the SPD. Regardless of the causes of SPD, children with SPD lack the ability to process senses in the same ways as others. This can cause difficulty with common activities, such as sleeping.
Children with SPD can be triggered by the slightest noise, touch, smell or movement. This can make falling asleep and staying asleep a real challenge. Processing the transition from daily activity to sleep can also be challenging for children with SPD. Here are some proactive solutions that can help children with SPD get a restful night’s sleep:
- Wear seamless clothing to bed. Sleepwear without tags and seams provides comfortable relaxation for children who are triggered through touch.
- Use a fan for constant noninvasive noise
- Wear compression gear. In addition to seamless clothing, compression gear can provide pressure input for muscles and joints.
- Use a firmer pillow
- Use heavy blankets and covers
- Make sure that sheets are tucked in firmly
Issues with sensory processing can often be detected early on. Toddlers who show symptoms such as problems with coordination, balance, and/or trouble engaging in play or conversation may be displaying signs of SPD. There are many tools available to help mitigate the triggers that cause difficulty for those struggling with SPD. With the right education and treatment, parents can work to support each child’s individual needs.
DIFFERENTIATING BETWEEN BEHAVIOR AND SENSORY PROBLEMS
Now that more is understood about sensory processing disorder (SPD), parents are often faced with the difficult task of trying to determine whether their child is expressing normal behavior for their age or dealing with a deeper issue. Naturally, almost every child exhibits a symptom of SPD such as having a meltdown in the middle of a crowded store. Yet, you would need to use a different approach to calm a child with SPD than you might with one who is just having a typical toddler tantrum. While it takes a professional diagnosis to accurately identify a child with SPD, you can use this guide to help you differentiate between what is most likely normal childlike behavior and what might be a true sensory problem.
Know What Is Normal for Your Child’s Age Level
Children exhibit specific behaviors that are common during each age level. For instance, toddlers are known for having tantrums if they cannot have something that they want. Alternatively, a preschool-aged child who lives in a quiet environment might cover their ears if they hear a loud truck drive by. While these are normal behaviors, you might be concerned if your child does something that is not typically age-appropriate. For instance, a seven-year-old should be able to sit and focus long enough for a teacher to read a story whereas a toddler wouldn’t be expected to hold their attention span for as long.
Assess the Situation Surrounding the Behavior
Behavioral issues often stem from a stimulus that does not always generate the same reaction. For example, a child who is overtired may throw a tantrum in a crowded store that they normally love to visit. Alternatively, a child with SPD may have the same negative reaction every time they go to the store due to being overwhelmed by the lights, noise, or general atmosphere. You may also notice that a child exhibiting normal behavioral issues will calm down when they get what they want. However, a child with SPD may not even know what they want, or they may still continue their meltdown even if you give in to their behavior.
Understand the Overlap Between Behavior and Sensory Issues
Just about every child has a few symptoms that are common in people with sensory problems. For instance, your child may hate wearing scratchy clothing, or they may prefer to avoid noisy environments such as a busy restaurant even if they do not have an actual disorder. On the same note, children with SPD are also capable of exhibiting normal child behaviors such as being anxious about a new experience or getting mad if they are not allowed to do something that they want. For this reason, you may find it best to utilize a variety of methods to control undesirable behaviors as you learn more about your child’s personality.
Address Specific Symptoms and Behaviors
Children with true SPD tend to need a combination of professional therapeutic services and at-home support to thrive. However, all children can benefit from specific strategies that you can use to help them get a handle on their behavior. Some methods include using seamless socks if your child detests wearing shoes or giving your child headphones to block out noise in a loud environment. Learning how to tap into what works with your child allows you to help them no matter what may be stimulating their behavior.
The process of identifying SPD takes time. Until then, you must rely upon your best judgment as a parent to help your child feel comfortable as they learn how to control their emotions and behavior. Be willing to try new strategies to deal with challenging behaviors as they arise so that your child benefits from a well-rounded approach that supports their development.
WAYS TO SUPPORT A FRIEND WHOSE CHILD HAS SENSORY ISSUES
It is easy to accidentally say or do something offensive when you are dealing with an unfamiliar subject, especially when it has to do with parenting. One issue that is frequently misunderstood by not only parents, but everyone, is sensory processing disorder (SPD). Most common in children, individuals with this disorder exhibit behaviors that might normally be construed as irritable or “bad parenting.” Given the developmental stage that children are at during this time, parents often appear as if they cannot gain control over their child’s behavioral issues. However, this is not the case. Parents of children with SPD are constantly working to better understand their child’s condition and how to best raise them. Here are just a few things that you can do as an ally to provide parents of children with SPD with the support they need.
Sensory processing disorder makes it very difficult for a child to process and respond to information that comes in through their senses. They might be oversensitive to sensations that you perceive as normal. "Soft" clothing can feel uncomfortably rough, certain sounds are unbearable, and "normal" lighting might be painfully bright. You should always remember that a child with SPD cannot control these feelings and that situations you might consider to be normal can be overwhelming to them. Never assume that SPD is a phase, that a child with this condition is overreacting, or that what's happening is due to bad parenting. Parents of SPD children need support, not criticism. Understand that children with SPD require different levels of attention, and that their parents are on a separate journey to discover which strategies work best for their child’s needs.
Children with sensory processing disorder often need special accommodations to function in their daily lives. This can include wearing seamless socks, watching TV and movies with a slightly dimmer resolution, and being in a sensory-rich environment if required. If you have a child with SPD visit your home or you are a teacher with an SPD child in your classroom, keep these accommodations in mind. You don't want to expose your friend's child to music that is uncomfortably loud or a television that is painfully bright when they come to visit, and you will want to give sensory-seeking children plenty of opportunities to stay engaged. Doing your part to help the child feel comfortable when in an unfamiliar environment will prevent them from feeling alienated and different. However, never forget to listen to the child’s parents. They are the final deciding factor in how to handle a child with SPD because they know their child’s sensitivities and how to manage them best.
Sometimes, the best way to know how to help someone is by simply asking how you can help. Some parents of SPD kids are still exploring parenting strategies for their newly diagnosed child while others know exactly what to do but are constantly out of energy. Offer to help in any way you can and be open to suggestions and requests from the parents.
Finally, it's easy to get upset with a child who is stressing out a caregiver, but you need to remember that a child with SPD cannot help what they feel. They aren't annoying their parents on purpose; they're either getting too much or too little stimulation and don't know how to handle it. It's hard for them, so don't shame them for feeling what they feel. A little compassion is sometimes better than any "expert" advice you can give.
4 COMMON MYTHS ABOUT SENSORY PROCESSING ISSUES
In recent years, the word has begun to spread about the challenges faced by people with sensory processing issues. While increased awareness is always a good thing, publicity also comes with the risk of misinformation being spread. As the parent of a child with sensory processing issues, you need to be aware of these common myths so that you can help other people learn the truth.
Myth #1: Sensory Processing Disorders Aren’t Real
People often deny the existence of things that they cannot physically see. While researchers are still working to find the underlying causes of sensory processing disorders, there is no denying that the symptoms are real when a child experiences extreme distress from sensations that come from something as simple as the seam of a sock. In fact, pediatricians, occupational therapists and behavioral counselors are all professionals who can vouch for the accuracy of a diagnosis of sensory processing disorder.
Myth #2: Kids with Sensory Processing Issues Also Have Autism
You may also find that people tend to lump behavioral disorders together. For instance, you may hear someone say that your child has autism or ADHD. However, you should know that the majority of children with sensory processing issues do not have other disorders. While many children with autism or ADHD do have sensory processing issues, it’s possible to experience symptoms without having another disorder. Never let someone try to diagnose your child. Instead, seek a professional’s opinion if you suspect that your child may have a coexisting condition.
Myth #3: More Discipline Will Fix the Problem
It’s frustrating as a parent to feel judged for the choices that you make regarding how you address your child’s behavior. Unfortunately, many people are misinformed, and they believe that a sensory meltdown is the same thing as a tantrum. Using harsh discipline techniques on a child that is having sensory issues can actually make the situation worse. For instance, your child may feel even more upset if they believe that they are misunderstood. Instead, it’s best to treat the symptoms as they arise, and learn how to prevent future meltdowns. For instance, giving your child seamless socks and undergarments can stop those morning battles before they begin, and taking your child to a quieter place can stop a grocery shopping meltdown from getting worse.
Myth #4: People Grow Out of Their Symptoms
In a perfect world, no one would enter adulthood with the issues that they faced in childhood. However, most people with sensory processing issues still have them as adults, but they learn how to manage their symptoms. For example, an adult might choose their outfits based upon their comfort, or they may use distractions such as wearing headphones to reduce their symptoms in a noisy environment. While your child may outgrow their symptoms, teaching them how to manage them is the best way to help them successfully navigate the transitions that exist as they mature.
Now that the word about sensory processing disorders is spreading, we all have a responsibility to make sure that only the truth is shared. Remember that you are one of your child’s biggest advocate, and your commitment to eliminating the myths surrounding sensory processing issues helps everyone know how to provide them with support.
FINDING THE RIGHT SUMMER CLOTHES FOR CHILDREN WITH SPD
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a condition in which the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes in through the senses. Some common symptoms of SPD include oversensitivity to environmental stimuli, aversion to common sounds, and skin irritations resulting from light touching or textures of clothing. Due to the skin irritations that can occur with SPD, it is important to find the right clothes for every season of the year.
During the summer it is common for kids to run around in shorts and T-shirts. However, for kids with SPD, that isn’t always so simple. Certain clothes can be uncomfortable and may even cause rashes. Fortunately, compression wear offers great alternatives for common summer attire for children with SPD.
Compression clothing can mimic the feeling of a hug. Clothing composed of soft materials without seams can be very helpful for kids with SPD. Compression shirts that are made with breathable materials and are seamless throughout the torso with soft edging and without plastic bands or tags can go a long way in reducing the tactile triggers that present obstacles for children with SPD. Antimicrobial fibers that help inhibit odor are ideal for play on a hot, summer day.
Compression increases endorphin levels and decreases heart rate and blood pressure. Deep touch pressure causes the release of both serotonin and dopamine in the brain. These neurotransmitters produce a feeling of calm. For summer, things like sleeveless compression shirts and compression bathing suits can go a long way in helping soothe the anxiety that children with SPD experience on a daily basis.
While the exact cause behind sensory processing disorder has not been identified, it is clear that for patients with SPD certain parts of the brain do not receive correct signals to interpret sensory information normally. This can result in motor clumsiness and behavioral issues. During the summertime when activity is at a maximum, compression clothing can be beneficial to children with SPD without restricting the movement that comes along with summer play.
SMART SUMMER PLAY FOR CHILDREN WITH SPD
Sensory Processing Disorder is a complex disorder that affects both patients and the people who care for them. During the summer months, parents are actively looking for activities to keep their children entertained. For children with SPD, there are certain activities that parents can consider when weighing their options. Whether it is through sensory-safe fun, or through sensory-teaching techniques, there are many summer activities that can help expand boundaries and cater to children who struggle with SPD.
Using something as simple as a slip 'n slide can enhance sensory awareness. By placing objects on a slip ‘n slide to grab while sliding down, children with SPD can learn to associate tactile movements with positive touch. Parents can also consider substituting water with shaving cream for a change in texture. Wearing compression gear while participating in water play can provide a sense of calm while interacting with the elements.
Filling balloons with everyday items like beads, coffee grinds, marbles, cornstarch and water can provide a fun way to enhance games like toss with new textures and sensations.
Freezing toys like farm animals, dinosaurs, etc. in a plastic container and giving your little one the challenge of retrieving them is a unique idea that will keep kids cool and provide a fun way to interact with new temperatures.
Getting outside and kicking or throwing a ball is a great way to expend energy and work on coordination. Wearing compression gear underneath common sports uniforms can make children with SPD feel comfortable and allow them to hit the field without anxiety.
Summer is a busy time for parents and children alike. For families dealing with SPD, summer can be especially challenging. Having a playbook of activities that can inspire sensory growth is an important part of surviving the heat as the summer months approach.
It’s that time again, Moms and Dads! That’s right, back to school time is upon us—whether we’re excited about it or not! At SmartKnitKIDS everything we do is seamless—really it is! So, we want to help you plan a Back To School 2019 that is as seamless as our socks. We’ve formulated a list of some great suggestions for a successful Back to School that will help your kiddos have a super seamless year!
Seamless Sensitivity Socks
You’re already familiar with our Seamless Sensitivity Socks, but it bears repeating. These socks are perfectly seamless. We’re able to do this with a unique manufacturing process where the socks are knitted in the same way that a caterpillar knits a cocoon. Not only that, but they’re made of super soft, stretchy, form-fitting materials, so they’re extra comfortable. And they don’t wrinkle or bunch up. Our high-tech fibers wick moisture away from the skin making them drier also.
Another must have for Back to School is our Compresso-T. Compresso-T’s deep pressure feeling provides the ideal amount of compression for a gentle “hug” feel that helps calm or focus your child. This is a great tool for kids that crave deep sensory input or a child that needs a little extra help in sitting still and focusing.
Seamless Undies and Bralettes
Just like with socks, many children are bothered by seams in their undergarments. That’s why SmartKnitKIDS also makes seamless undies and bralettes, too! Same great materials with moisture-wicking fibers and no seams. Can’t beat that!
Other Sensory School Supplies
Our SmartKnitKIDS products should be on the Back to School shopping list for any parent with a sensory sensitive kiddo. But, in addition to our great products, don’t forget some of these true life-savers for sensory sensitive kiddos and their parents and teachers.
There are many kinds of fidgets out there that can give your child an outlet to get their wiggles out, which will allow them to focus their brains on learning. Depending on the needs of your child, you may want to try a foot fidget, and hand fidget, or even a chewing fidget. Below are several great options of each.
Another super option for a sensory kiddo is Calming Putty. It has dual positives. It is a hand fidget, but also has a calming scent that is pleasing. Lavender is known for its calming principles, but there are several other scent options.
Flash cards are great learning tools for all kids, but especially for kids with special needs. This great tool allows parents and teachers to create their own flash cards.
Alternative Seat Options
Some kiddos need to sit in chairs that help them to get their wiggles out. Here are a couple of seat options.
When you’re picking up your pencils, scissors, crayons and markers, don’t forget these wonderful tools to help your sensory sensitive kiddos have a happy, healthy, successful and SEAMLESS school year! Happy BTS!
HOME STRATEGIES FOR SENSORY PROCESSING ISSUES
As the parent of a child with sensory processing issues, you are the best person to identify your child’s needs. While some children are easily overwhelmed by too much stimulation, others just can’t seem to get enough input from jumping, spinning and running. Yet, the one thing that all parents of kids with sensory issues know is that finding the right solution to prevent meltdowns feels like you’ve hit the jackpot. You can use this list of home strategies for sensory processing issues to try out a few new ways to help your child learn to regulate their responses to different forms of stimulation at home.
Make Sensory Slime
The slime trend is still going strong, and kids who crave sensory input love the cool, slippery texture. While you can find kits to make slime at the local craft store, you may already have the basic ingredients to try out this recipe at home. This simple recipe only requires three basic ingredients, and your kid can do most of the measuring and mixing with your help. To start, all you need to do is mix six ounces of white or colored school glue with a ½ Tablespoon of baking soda. Then, add a ½ Tablespoon of saline contact solution and mix until it forms a ball. At this point, you can add glitter, food coloring or small beads to add texture. Finally, have your child knead the mixture until it turns into putty. If your child enjoys the putty, then keep it close by at home for times when they need some help with self-regulation.
Find the Right Fit
Clothing battles are pretty common for kids with sensory processing issues. For some children, the irritating scratchiness of a seam is all it takes to make it feel impossible to think. For others, the gentle pressure of compression wear helps them to meet their higher need for sensory input. Either way, try experimenting with different types of clothing such as seamless socks and compression shirts until you find what works best for helping your child stay calm.
Create a Crash Pad
According to Child Mind Institute, kids who are hyposensitive need opportunities to fulfill their affinity for more sensory stimulation. If one of your biggest problems is that your child is constantly jumping on furniture or running through the house, then a crash pad is the solution. Crash pads can be as simple as an old mattress placed in a safe area of your house, or you could make your own using fabric and cushion materials. Even some carefully placed old couch cushions can work as a crash pad. Be sure to set a few ground rules when you set it up; giving your child a safe place to jump and crash around helps them control their behavior.
Over time, you will eventually learn exactly what types of stimulation are the best fit for your child. Until then, you can use these tips to start a sensory plan that helps your child learn how to regulate their needs for stimulation.
MULTI-SENSORY LEARNING ACTIVITIES FOR CHILDREN WITH AUTISM
Raising a child with autism involves constantly adding new strategies to your parenting plan to help stimulate their development. The good news is that you are living in a time when research is constantly revealing new insights into how children with autism process sensory information in their environment. Since many children with autism struggle with understanding things such as oral language concepts that require the integration of multiple sensory signals, it is now recommended for parents and teachers to include multi-sensory learning activities in their daily plans. As you check out these ideas, keep in mind that each child is different. Experiment with a few until you find what works best for your child’s needs.
Use Physical Movement to Reinforce New Concepts
Kinesthetic learning strategies are a huge way to help your child remember new concepts since they engage the brain differently than simply listening to new information. As you incorporate physical movements into your lessons, make sure that they are meaningful so that the concept sticks. For example, you can have your child clap the syllables of a new word, or they can use their bodies to make letter shapes.
Add Picture Cues to Verbal Instructions
Engaging both auditory and visual senses helps children with autism strengthen their ability to match someone’s facial movements to the message that they are trying to convey with speech. This strategy also reduces the frustration that some children with autism feel when they are expected to understand complex instructions that require sensory regulation. Try holding up pictures for each step of a procedure such as getting dressed or getting ready for school.
Tap into The Power of Deep Pressure
For a child with autism, sensory signals can feel as though they are coming from everywhere, and it is the sense of being bombarded that leads to meltdowns. Deep pressure provides proprioceptive input that helps your child feel calmer and better able to regulate their responses to outside stimuli. Try using a foam roller to apply pressure to your child’s legs when they need to sit still or give them compression socks or a shirt to help them stay calm during outings so that they can observe social behaviors.
Discover the Wonders of Sensory Bins
Sensory bins are a favorite activity among families with children who have autism because you can provide a multi-sensory experience in a portable box. Start by filling a bin with materials that your child can move such as water, colored rice or pebbles. Then, add objects that invite them to touch and play with each one. As your child feels the coolness of the water or hears the sound of the pebbles clicking together, they activate portions of their brain that stimulate further learning.
Multi-sensory learning activities are designed to help your child develop greater self-control when faced with situations that engage all of their senses. They also help to strengthen and build new neural pathways that reinforce new concepts. Now that you have these strategies in your tool kit, go ahead and have some fun as you help your child engage with the world in new ways.
TIPS FOR ROAD TRIPS WITH SENSORY KIDS
Road trip vacations create some of the best family memories. Not only does seeing new sights along the way to your destination increase your chances for bonding but traveling by car also gives you an opportunity to help your child adjust to new situations. However, you do want to keep your child’s sensory needs in mind since many aspects of taking a road trip may interfere with their comfort. As you get ready to hit the road, you can use these tips to make sure your child has what they need to enjoy the experience.
Pack a Sensory Tool Kit
Long hours spent in the car can exacerbate your child’s negative reactions to sensory input because they have fewer distractions. To combat this, it is best to bring along items that your child can use to cope if they begin feeling irritated by sights, noises, or tactile sensations along the route. Grab a backpack and fill it with the things your child already likes to use to feel comfortable such as sunglasses, noise-canceling headphones and fidgets. Then, make sure that it is easily accessible to you and your child once you are all in the car.
Bring Their Favorite Snacks and Toiletries
While you may be looking forward to eating out at new restaurants, your child with food aversions may struggle at every stop. If your child cannot eat food with certain textures or flavors, then make sure to pack snacks and simple meal ingredients that you know they will eat. Keep in mind that you may also need to bring your child’s preferred toiletries if they can only use toothpaste with a specific taste or shampoo with a certain scent.
Take Sensory Breaks
It’s always good to plan a few stops along the way for everyone to stretch their legs. With a little planning, you can maximize the benefits of these stops by tailoring them to fit your child’s sensory needs. For instance, a child with sensory aversions may prefer to stop at a quiet rest area that is off of the main road for a relaxing lunch. Alternatively, a sensory seeking child may need a playground with lots of space for them to swing, climb and spin.
Children with sensory challenges tend to do best when they know what to expect. Talk to your child about things that may be different on the trip such as different textures in the hotel bedding or new noises they may hear at tourist sites. You may also want to practice having your child wear the clothing that you plan to pack for the trip, especially if it is unfamiliar. This way, you can make accommodations before you leave if your child refuses to wear their new hiking boots or swimsuit.
Family vacations are the perfect time to create memories that your child will cherish for a lifetime. With these strategies in mind, you can make sure that your child’s sensory needs are met while exposing them to new experiences that foster their development.
INTEROCEPTION AND THE 8th SENSORY SYSTEM
Today, scientific research has taught people more about the brain and how it processes sensory information. However, there is still quite a bit of confusion regarding the sensory systems and how each component works together to help a person achieve their full potential for growth and learning. Interoception is the last out of the eight sensory systems, but it plays a huge role in how you respond to changes within your body and the environment.
What Are the Eight Senses?
Most people are already familiar with the basic five senses that influence how you see, hear, taste, feel and smell. However, there are also three other sensory systems that influence how you respond to the world around you, and these are the vestibular, proprioception and interception systems. These systems affect everything from your breathing patterns to your ability to feel comfortable throughout the day. For instance, the vestibular system influences your ability to balance and track an object with your eyes, and the interoception system lets you know if you are cold or hungry.
How Does Interoception Help with Brain Processing?
Interoception is often confused with proprioception. However, these two differ significantly regarding the science behind how the brain processes the sensory feedback provided from the body. Proprioception simply involves how your brain senses your body’s placement in the environment, and it affects how you walk, run and move around throughout the day. Interoception provides similar feedback regarding your body’s status, except that the feedback is received from sensors that are located in your organs, skin and deeper layers of muscle tissue. These interoceptors tell your body when you have needs such as hunger, thirst or discomfort that derives from your environment.
What Role Does Interoception Play in a Person’s Behavior?
While this sensory system works fine most of the time, there are times when a person’s brain cannot process the feedback from the interoceptive system. When this happens, a person may exhibit unusual symptoms or behavior such as failing to recognize when they are hungry. A person whose brain is overly sensitive to the sensory feedback may also alter their behavior patterns. For instance, a child may scream as though they are in intense agony when they experience an itch or irritation from their clothing. Alternatively, someone else may be unable to concentrate on a task if they are distracted by what feels like overwhelming hunger pangs.
Although it is not possible to alter the brain patterns that lead to the behavior, it is possible to reduce negative responses to the sensations by using strategies that address problems with interoceptive hypersensitivity. For example, the application of deep pressure to the skin can provide sensory feedback that makes a person less aware of other sensations such as itching or minor pain.
Understanding the science behind how interoception affects behavior allows you to make simple changes to correct any issues that arise in how your brain processes new sensory information. Whether you or your child experiences sensory dysregulation that stems from hypersensitivity or under-sensitivity to the sensations, awareness of the interoception system helps you to make a plan that encourages behavior regulation.
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