Does it seem like every little thing is a BIG deal to your child with Sensory Processing Disorder?
Take the morning routine, for example.
- Getting dressed is fraught with anxiety over texture, tightness, and tags.
- Eating breakfast is stressful, especially if you ran out of the preferred cereal and refuse to turn on the T.V.
- Leaving the house is a nightmare because it requires finding the misplaced backpack and attempting to tie shoes.
If you didn’t know any better you would think the world was ending due to your child’s too-intense reaction. And this is just the start of the day.
For children with a Sensory Processing Disorder, routine tasks take a serious toll on their tolerance, flexibility, and capacity to stay calm.
You’ve seen it with your own eyes but might be wondering…”WHY?!”
Imagine how your day typically unfolds and how you respond when little stressors appear. It’s likely you are pretty good at self-control and don’t “lose it” when something goes wrong at the breakfast table or in the office.
Now, imagine that you have a sensory processing disorder and the equivalent of a capacity for only 10 stressors a day before you meltdown. That adds up pretty quickly.
Take a look at what the getting-ready routine involves:
- Morning alarm clock (annoying)
- Polyester t-shirt (bothersome)
- Socks with a seam along the toe (irritating)
- Favorite cereal is all gone (aggravating)
- Toast burned (provoking)
- Not allowed to watch T.V. during breakfast (plaguing);
- Hate the feeling of tooth-brushing (disturbing)
- Being reminded to “hurry up” (exasperating)
- Misplaced backpack (maddening)
- Shoes that are impossible to tie (infuriating)
Children with a sensory processing disorder not only lack self-control but are often hyper-sensitive to touch, sound, and change. Sadly, they wake-up at a disadvantage for handling typical stimuli and the constantly-changing nature of the world around them.
As a parent, what can you do?
3 Solutions To Helping Children With SPD Feel Comfortable:
- Understand where they’re coming from.
Your child isn’t trying to make you angry – they honestly get over-stressed over-quickly so when you can keep cool it reduces environmental stress.
- Be compassionate.
Your child needs to feel loved, no matter what. Communicate in a soothing tone that acknowledges their emotions. E.g. “Oh honey, I can tell you’re stressed out. Shoe tying can be really frustrating, huh?”
- Schedule sensory exercises first thing in the morning and throughout the day.
These help their brains become calmer and more tolerant. Click here for one example of an activity you can do at home, or ask your child’s OT or neurological chiropractor for ideas.
Now, I’m curious to hear from you.
What is one thing you already do to help your child with a sensory processing disorder feel more comfortable in their own skin and the world at-large?
Please share a comment below.
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