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Tuesday, 03 July 2012 18:59

Strategies for Children with Sensory Needs

Strategies for Children with Sensory Needs

Why are the holidays tough for some of our kids? As adults, we may not realize the impact the holidays may have on an individual who prefers routine and struggles with sensory modulation. Holiday seasons create challenges for children with a Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) due to changes in:

       Routine & Schedule-
               No school/Day care/sitter
               Meal times
               Bedtime/awake time
               Increase/decrease of specific people in their lives
               Long car rides
       New additions to their day:
               Food
               People
               Places
               Things (toys)
               Lights/Decorations
       Loud environments:
               Music
               Noisy toys
               Relatives/overnight guests
               Community outings

Coping with different foods in unusual settings:
  • Bring familiar foods and table-wear to increase their comfort level, especially sipper or other types of cups.
  • Bring familiar snacks to help with change/delays in mealtime.
  • Let your host know in advance to not offer or pressure your child to try new foods.
  • Your lap may be the most comfortable place during a large gathering. If your child is sensitive to tactile or auditory input, choose a seat at the table with your back to the wall or in the corner where your child can monitor the activity visually.
  • If you let your child graze during meals, don’t expect that they will be willing to sit for a holiday meal. For children who seek big input into their sensory systems, try to provide input before going to the gathering, or give input before sitting down.

Coping in noisy environments:
  • Provide your child information about unexpected/upcoming sounds such as, “We’re going to the beach and there will be lots of boats there” or “Uncle Sam is going to sing now”.
  • Noise cancelling headphones are useful if your child will accept wearing them. They will reduce the sound input to allow for a more enjoyable time and reduce the occurrence of “meltdowns”.
  • If visiting, ask your host if there is a room that you and your child may go to for calming purposes. Bring a few of their toys or provide input known to calm your child.

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