Friday, January 28, 2011

My Favorite Therapy Photo

Last Halloween, Caleb's therapy center let the kids come in costume for the whole week.  Caleb, of course, chose Spidey because he eats, lives, and breathes superheroes, especially Spiderman.  

He didn't start in the net like this, but he kept wanting to get more wrapped up.  Everyone in the office was coming to see Spidey in the net haha

Oh, that's not my reflection in the mirror taking the photo.  So don't be hatin, I'm not anywhere near that thin.  Not even close.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Blog Header

So, yeah.  I need a header.  I am so uninspired when it comes to this.  I'm still trying to find a background that I love as well.  I feel like once I make the header I'll be stuck with one blog design and I like to change things.

Ok, things to do.  Header.  Next.  Promise.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Handmade Sensory Toys And Equipment

Many products that can help our sensational kids are very expensive and available in a limited number of catalogs.  This leaves us parents trying to budget our money to get the help we need or start thinking outside the box.  Personally, I like to think outside the box.

Fortunately, I am pretty crafty and have a lot of tools to make my own therapy helpers.  There are some things, like anything that involves a sewing machine, that I can't make myself.  Some of us aren't crafty, so what can we do?


Etsy is the leading online marketplace for all things handmade, vintage, and craft supplies.  It's made of millions of different sellers that make everything from jewelry to clothing to, yes, even sensory toys and occupational therapy needs.  I've been selling on Etsy for almost three years and it still isn't the first place I think of for therapy helpers.  One of the best features of Etsy is the ability to request custom items.  You can use Alchemy or find a seller whose work you like and ask if they can make a custom item.  You can get weighted vests with your child's favorite character on them.  Find chewing necklaces that your child will want to wear to school.  Here's a treasury I made of just a small selection of sensory helpers available for sale on Etsy.  A search for sensory, occupational therapy, and autism can yield thousands more.  (Some good treasures are tagged for autism, but they work very well for our sensational kids as well!)

Monday, January 17, 2011


Neither of my sensational boys has every been a chewer.  David avoids nearly anything in his mouth and Caleb has been pretty typical.

Till now.  He's chewing on everything.  The DSi stylus, LEGO bricks, his nails, his toenails.  I bought him Twizzlers to chew on, but he doesn't like them.  What are other good chewing foods?

I want to make him a chewy necklace for school.  The only thing I've come up with is buying a baby chew toy and drilling a hole for a necklace?  He's five, so he needs something that's big boy and definitely boyish.  He is in preschool, so it's not like he has a pencil in his hand to have a pencil topper.

I feel so bad for him.  He gets embarrassed when I catch him.  I don't scold him, I tell him he needs something safe to chew on and offer a Twizzler or crunchy food.  I don't like offering food because of David's eating issues.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Calming Down After Sensory Overload

All children experience sensory overload, not just our sensational SPD kids.  The world gets too bright, too noisy, and too rough, and it can be too much to handle.  Add in a rough transition and it's enough to make anyone cry.

I have a sensational boy who is constantly over stimulated because the slightest touch feels like a hard slap.  I also have a sensational boy who needs to constantly jump and crash for proprioceptive input.  I have to help each one individually when they hit sensory overload.

The first way to help is to avoid it.  My kids have a hard time transitioning after school so we don't go to the store after school.  Ever.  Not even for one little thing.  Unless it's an emergency, we go home.  I also know they just can't do more than two stores at a time.  This takes extra time because we may have to go back in the same direction later, but it's worth it.  Trust me.

Hungry kids are more likely to melt.  My kids get fed a full meal before leaving the house.  This doesn't stop any of them from being starving five minutes into the ride, but it does help their attitudes.  They still salivate at the sight of the golden arches, but I can firmly say no.

There are times when sensory overload is bound to happen.  When we are out with family all day I know there will be melt downs. Here are some of my tips to help:

  1. Proprioceptive input is your friend.  I don't take the brush with us, but I will do joint compressions and have them jump.  They mumble and moan, but it really does help.  If it's nice out and you can get them moving that works too.  Even walking around a parking lot outside and away from the noise and lights will help.  
  2. Deep pressure.  Same idea as above, but my younger sensational boy benefits from bear hugs.  If he has completely melted and can't control himself, this gives him the proprioceptive input as well as restrains him.  I need to protect him, others, and objects from his destruction when he hits his breaking point.  
  3. Remove them from the situation.  Get outside weather permitting.  Take a walk, hop, skip, jump.  Do anything to get away from the lights and noise.  Ask what's bothering them and see how to help.  Sunglasses?  Food?  
  4. Don't let them get bored.  A bored child will have more melt downs.  Their minds must have more time to focus on the sensory overload or something  If we are with family or a group, I leave two kids with their dad and take the melting one away from the group.  No fanfare, just quietly leave.  If the group doesn't understand, next time remove yourself and leave the child with them.  I kid.  Maybe.  
  5. Give them snacks.  Crunchy snacks help because it gives a little proprioceptive input.  Always have snacks and drinks with you.  I like water bottles because you can refill them about anywhere and if they spill in the car or store it's not sticky and won't stain.  
Remember the best way to handle a melt down is to avoid it.  When you see the signs, do everything you can to get your child back in sync.  If your child wakes up out of sync, mine do, then don't leave the house unless aliens attack!

I know some of you wonderful moms have more tips and I'd love to hear them.  Please leave them in the comments.