Christmas Crafts for the Sensory Seeker

Christmas Crafts for the Sensory Seeker

Christmas is a confusing time for our Sensory Seeker. All that change of routine, different stimulus, and really the lack of understanding of time. Every morning waking up wondering if it is Christmas, or if it is Christmas tomorrow? Trying to stay awake, and being absolutely over-exhausted. Our Sensory Seeker already has  eyes that are so black. You can see my previous post on Coping with Christmas when your child has Special Needs, but one of the ways is to keep busy, keep it structured, and make sure they get a sensory diet. With this in mind I give you ideas to keep your Sensory Seeker (or avoider) entertained over the Christmas period that will help them remain grounded, focused whilst aiding their development.

Christmas Crafts for the Sensory Seeker from last weeks Weekly Kids Co-op

Candy Cane Play Gel Winter Sensory Fun – The Science Kiddo Christmas Crafts for the Sensory Seeker

Easy Snowman Craft for Kids – Spark & Pook

Glittery Christmas Tree Collages – Where Imagination Grows

Christmas Reindeer Printable Activities – Enchanted Home Schooling Mom

Frozen Sleigh - Keeper of the Cheerios

Snow Dough Snowmen –  Multicrafting Mummy

Build a Snowman Busy Bag Activity – Sunny Day Family

Dipped Pine Cone Ornaments Christmas Craft – Christianity Cove

Clotherspin Manger Nativity Scene Christmas Craft – Christianity Cove

Clay Nativity Ornaments –  Crafty Moms Share

Sensory Play: How to make pretend snow in 2 easy steps - Pinch of Perfect

Christmas Sensory Bin – My Bright Firefly

How to make Olaf from a sock – Playtivities

Christmas Tree craft for Toddlers – Playtivities

The Weekly Kids Co-Op

Sensory Soap: Kids Stuff ® Crazy Soap

Kids Stuff ® Crazy Soap RangeDo you have trouble when it comes to keeping your child with Sensory Processing Disorder clean? This may be because they are sensory avoiders and do not like touch, or they may be sensory seekers and always touching things (for more information see my previous post on Sensory Processing Disorder: The Tactile Sense). Either way Kids Stuff ® Crazy Soap might just be the answer you have been looking for.

Kids Stuff ® Crazy Soap Range

Kids Stuff ® Crazy Soap RangeThey have a range of bath paints, bubble baths (colour changing/glitter), goo, bath crayons, soaps (that you can mould to make shapes out of!), body paints (let that Sensory seeker go wild whilst actually getting clean!).

With smells to tingle the senses and fun characters to really appeal to their visual nature – what’s not to love?

And of course it is all soap in one form or another so it is getting them clean at the same time. But the real beauty of it is that it is cleaning itself up!

Kids Stuff ® Crazy Soap Range

I think they’d make an ideal present for their stockings, or to help fulfill the additional sensory needs triggered by the festive season. They also have little characters on the tops of the bottles for an additional tactile feel – and they are designed to be played with in the water.

I also liked how this developed my Sensory Seeker’s hands as he played with the products – from undoing bottles, to developing his pouring technique (hand-eye co-ordination, estimation of how fast the liquid would pour out, tilting his hand back0; then squeezing on the flannels and sponges, to helping his fine motor development with the crayons.

Sensory Soap: Kids Stuff ® Crazy Soap

Sensory Soap

Of course soap products are not just suitable for those with Sensory Processing disorder, and are just as much fun for all children, covering such a huge variety of ages.

 

This can really help other children (friends and family perhaps) get a better understanding of say a sensory seeker – as they join in the fun of covering themselves in soap.

I was invited to Hamley’s in London with my youngest 3 children (including my Sensory Seeker) to have a messy play date with Kids Stuff ® Crazy Soap and see their new designs.

Sensory Soap

I thought that it was great to see the products being demonstrated without the bath – as this is just perfect for me  as he often wants to touch things (or again if you have a sensory avoider who does not like the bath, this could be a small step in).

Kids Stuff ® Crazy Soap RangeThis was achieved by giving the children aprons and goggles for protection. Then there were a number of stations set up – with bowls, flannels, water, the products, and others had white boards to draw on, special bath colouring in books and crayons, flannels, sponges – and all manner of sensory experiences.

Sensory Soap: Kids Stuff ® Crazy Soap

I could see this as a great idea for a Sensory soap party.

 

 

 

 

Our travel expenses were paid to attend the event at Hamley’s but I was under no obligation to write this post. I think they are an absolutely marvelous product and they really helped my Sensory Seeker as he was struggling with all the changes (it was Half Term Holidays). I thoroughly recommend them to other parents – both those who are and aren’t having difficulties with Sensory Processing Disorder.

Touching - Sensory Processing Disorder (Tactile Sense)

Touch – Sensory Processing Disorder (Tactile Sense)

Touching - Sensory Processing Disorder (Tactile Sense)Touch is the area that sent off the biggest alarm bells for us that our son had Sensory Processing Disorder. I say us it was the Pediatrician who first noticed it, as we struggled to peel him from stroking her shiny tights. We had completely missed the fact that he loved to cover himself in paint, and stroke people’s faces – we just thought that it was his age.

Sensory Processing Disorder is when the information we constantly received by the seven senses is misinterpreted by the brain when it is processed. Sometimes our brains say there is TOO MUCH information coming in, and sometimes NOT ENOUGH. One of the areas this happens in is that of the Tactile sense – or touch.

Does your Child have Sensory Processing Disorder problems in the Tactile Sense (Touch)?

They may have problems with too much, too little or a mix of the two.

Signs of Too Much

Avoiding Touch

• Going barefoot, especially in sand or on grass, wearing sunscreen, hats, messy play with hands & feet (sand, mud, finger-paint). We often find a compromise of letting him wear sandals (no socks) even in Winter helps. Look out for any tags or labels on clothing/ hats that might bother them. Consider types of fabrics most preferred by the child. Use natural fibres e.g. cotton. Wash clothing before wear. Seam-less socks & underwear brands: online www.sensorydirect.com; or http://www.fledglings.org.uk sensorysmart.co.uk

They become distressed during hair-brushing or cutting (our son was actually physically sick when he felt the hair fall and touch his skin. He is getting better but it is usually a case of one parent restraining him whilst the other just gets on with it (shaving in the case of hair). Allow the child as much control & independence as possible (e.g. control force & duration of own tooth-brush). Give warning prior to a disliked activity & talk them through it. Let them know how long until activity is finished (e.g. brush hair for the length of a favourite song/ use a timer set for 1 minute). Touch FIRMLY but gently. Light touch= startling. FIRM touch= calming. Always approach from the front. Warn them before you touch them. Use mirrors (e.g. hair-brushing, cutting, nail cutting, teeth brushing) so the child can see what is happening & increase control. The brushing technique helps with personal grooming. Avoid fans or vents blowing directly on child.

Touching - Sensory Processing Disorder (Tactile Sense)They use finger-tips instead of their whole hand. Give opportunities to play but without their hands e.g. touch play-dough/ paint with a brush/ spoon etc. before fingers. Slowly build them up – ie just started with finger-tips, then fingers, and reward them for trying it. Even let them play with their food.

They complain of being poked or bumped (this was common for both my oldest and youngest not understanding how much pressure people had used when touching them).  They over-react to touch – e.g. lashes out. They avoid standing in line or close to others. They walk on their toes. They prefer to be in a protected place e.g. in a corner/ under a table. Pair them with a child that won’t prod or poke them. Have designated spots on the mat (e.g. carpet squares).Get the child to be the line starter/ ender/ hold the door.

Not Enough – The Sensory Seeker

Touching - Sensory Processing Disorder (Tactile Sense) They touch people & objects to the point of irritating them (our Sensory Seeker is forever holding people’s faces in his hands).

• They like people to touch him/ her (fantastic for cuddles).

• They are constantly touching other people’s hair or clothing (or just general touching – good idea to carry wipes. Do you have any idea how dirty the Tube is in London Underground but he HAD to touch it, then he didn’t want the black all over his hands and tried to rub it off on a stranger!!!!)

• They love to be barefoot (barefoot trails are just heaven).

• They pinch, bites, or hurts self (and/or others).

• They have a really high pain & temperature threshold.

• They hit or bang their head on purpose.

• They throw themselves on the ground.

• They enjoy rough play.

Touching - Sensory Processing Disorder (Tactile Sense)How to Help

• Allow them to fiddle with something that is appropriate & doesn’t distract others e.g. a pasta necklace/ bracelet; elastic necklace/ something with resistance. We have tags at the end of his weighted blanket. Allow a fidget toy in their pocket during seated time (e.g. car rides, mat time). *May need a social story to teach rules of use. Provide a squeeze/ stress ball for times that may be difficult.

• Be specific with words- “if you want to touch something- you touch …. Bracelet/ squeeze ball etc. so they have an alternative to their behaviour.

• Select highly textured clothing & lots of accessories e.g. head-bands, wrist-bands, belts.

Touching - Sensory Processing Disorder (Tactile Sense)Provide textured blankets or sheets for sleeping. We have surrounded him with teddies in his bed to aid night times as he was waking a lot and kept getting in or bed. But there he would really annoy us. There’s no other way to describe it – tickling, even scratching and kicking us – just really needing to get some sort of sensory touch input from us.

• Give opportunities to learn through touch experiences e.g. sand play, water play, messy play, finger-paints. Add textures to toy surfaces e.g. sand in finger-paints.

Touching - Sensory Processing Disorder (Tactile Sense)Products & Resources:

www.sensorytdirect.com

www.fledglings.org.uk

www.sensorywarehouse.com

www.specialneedstoys.co.uk

www.sensorysmart.co.uk

Many thanks to the Children’s Occupational Therapy Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust for supply this information and granting me permission to use it. This post is a redraft of a post previously published on Pinkoddy.

Journey Around and Inside Your Amazing Body

Gold Stars: Journey Around and Inside Your Amazing Body

Journey Around and Inside Your Amazing BodyGold Stars Journey Around and Inside Your Amazing Body is a fantastic educational but fun book. I think a book like this is beneficial to my Sensory Seeker as it helps him make sense of his World, and of his self. It is very visual with lots of facts, puzzles and things to do throughout. There are bite-sized points to remember, fun facts, and quizzes to help consolidate the information. The book is really well structured and has a clear contents, glossary and answer page.

Your Amazing Body – The Contents

The book contains everything you child could want to know about the body. The boys really liked the humorous touches such as the quiz on farts – Do boys fart more than girls? We read the book on a long train journey and it was nice to see that the book catered for all 3 of my youngest boys (ages 5, 7 and 11). We explored the body map and they were all able to point to where the different parts of the body were on their own bodies. When we moved onto the more complex nature of cells my 11 year old was able to expand on the information and tell his younger brothers what he had learnt about cells at school. It was great to hear him relay the information, and consolidate it, as well as building his confidence.

Your Amazing Body – Helping with Health

My Sensory Seeker has little awareness as to why he should eat properly, keep clean, cut his nails, etc, and so I feel that this book really helped with this. Again through colourful cartoon-type images I think it explained this. It started with different types of foods needed, and why; how to have a healthy dinner; the digestive system; the teeth; when food goes wrong; and how the food comes out of the body. There is later a section on hair and nails.

Your Amazing Body – Senses

The section on the nose then had a smell experiment. This may be useful to those sensory avoiders to help build up tolerances to smell, or fulfil the diet of the sensory seeker. This could also help determine which smells the child does and does not like. Tasty talks about the five different tastes picked up the taste buds (sour, salt, bitter and umami/savoury) – again this could be really helpful in determining which foods your child will and will not tolerate. Also I think the section on touch would be really useful to discuss any sensory issues.

My Verdict

The Journey Around and Inside Your Amazing Body is a fantastic book for introducing your children to their biology. There is a lot of information presented in a fun, appealing and interactive way, perfect for engaging children. I think it can be accessed by children of a variety of ages, abilities and would make a lasting resource. With plenty of opportunities to write and draw it was also very useful for fine motor development.

Journey Around and Inside Your Amazing BodyThe only criticisms are that the page on the heart talks of the left and right side of the heart but the right side is on the page on the left, and vice a versa. As it is a Gold Stars book there was the assumption that there would have been Gold Star stickers which would have been nice.

Parragon Books Ltd RRP £7.99

Turkey Crafts

Turkey Crafts #KidsCoop

Sorry I have missed the last few weeks with the Kids Co-op but my Sensory Seeker has required extra attention. He does not cope well with changes, and he has a lot of them to deal with lately – including the half term holiday and his TA has not been at school. I find that what helps him is being focused and busy so my thoughts are really turning to crafts and other Sensory activities. I have selected some great Turkey crafts ahead of Thanks Giving from the Kids Co-op last week, which can also be utilised for Christmas.

The Turkey Crafts have utilised so many areas that will aid the Sensory Seeker to get the Sensory diet he requires – including textures, colours, fine motor development, attention, patience, instruction. I also think it really helps to give him a sense of time by doing seasonal activities, especially if they are done year on year.

Turkey Crafts from the Kids Co-op

Turkey CraftsTurkey Straw Painting and Turkey Treats – The Keeper of the Cheerios

Thanksgiving Hand Print Turkey – My Big Fat Happy Life

Thankful Turkey Wreath – Mom Inspired Life

Turkey Toilet Roll Holder and Other Christmas Craft ideas – Pinkoddy

Zentangle Turkeys – Play Dr Mom

Turkey Craft with Corn Husk Feathers – A Little Pinch of Perfect

Turkey Crafts for Preschoolers – Arsty Momma

Turkey Straw Cup – Sunny Day Family

For the Ultimate List of Turkey Ideas see A Little Pinch of Perfect

The Weekly Kids Co-Op

Is the Pen Mightier than the iPad?

Is the Pen Mightier than the iPad?

Is the Pen Mightier than the iPad?There is no denying that times are changing as we move through the Technology age.  More and more is technology based these days, gone are the days of record players, cassette tapes, video recorders (being replaced with downloadable content), and even cheque books are being phased out (not really needed as much with online banking and ParentPay). I am sure you can think of lots more examples too. But how about the Pen? Can you see it being replaced? Will in the future we only make marks on computers, iPads, and smart phones? Will the pen go into extinction?

The reason I am considering whether the pen is mightier than the iPad is because one of the reasons that it was picked up that our son has Sensory Processing Disorder was the fact that he was falling further and further behind his peers. Last year it was even discussed whether to hold him back a year at school. So far this term he has been doing really well, and even holding his own in some of the groups that he is in with his peers. But now the question falls as to whether his inability to hold a pencil and write properly is further hindering his development – and if, indeed, using an iPad would help him to progress more.

The Pros

For our Sensory Seeker the obvious answer would be yes to him using iPads if writing is going to become a skill of the past. If the need to write things down by anyone wouldn’t matter. Other ways of developing fine motor skills needed for other things could be developed. Obviously it would give him more of a chance to work through his learning without the added pressure of being able to write. If pens were to become obsolete that would save a lot of trees and a lot less landfill waste from pens that have run out.  Our 11 year old already has a laptop for school and most of the work is done on that, as opposed to pen and paper. It means that he is always ready and never runs out of paper or ink. It also allows teachers to send information and interact with the children easier.

The Cons

I do not know, I like writing. The actual act. Surely there is more to making marks on the page than the end result. I would love to hear what the many stationery lovers out there have to say on the matter. Do we think it could ever become a possibility? As writing is not about to become defunct any time it still leaves the question as to whether our Sensory Seeker should be using the pen or the iPad. If he is not practising his fine motor skills will this not make them weaker? Making it less likely that he will be able to write in the future? Will this make him lazy? Different? And more addicted to technology? The idea is that they will try this out in groups (at least at first) so he would not be on his own. But then the school are wondering whether he should then utilise it at other times too. I guess it is a tricky one, like all things that need to be considered.

What do you think, are we likely to get rid of pens/pencils any time soon?

And I would love to hear from anybody that has any experience with Special needs children and using iPads at school – has it helped them?  Or even anyone’s thoughts on the matter. Our Sensory Seeker  is equally behind in all areas (apart from technology) so it is not to say that he will not progress with his writing at the same rate, and just be behind his peers.

Alphablocks Multi Sensory Reading Programme

Alphablocks Multi Sensory Reading Programme

Alphablocks Multi Sensory Reading ProgrammeOur little Sensory Seeker is doing much better than we imagined at school but is still developmentally far behind his peers in many areas. In fact he only got one tick in the expected box at the end of the Reception year. Although we are not going to worry about it, it is always nice to hear of fun ways we can tap into the way he learns best and give him a helping hand. Therefore when I heard about how Alphablocks magazine had launched a multi-sensory Alphablocks Reading Programme to support foundation stage children develop and progress their reading ability. The programme consists of 15 Alphablocks Reading Programme magazines and Alphablocks resources – including finger puppets, letter tiles, games, pencil and pencil case, flashcards,  stickers and gold stars to reward the achievements. Split into 3 packs that build on each of the stages of development – £39.99 (plus p&p)

Pack 1 is Red and Orange levels (first steps and next steps

Alphablocks: Introducing the alphabet and its sounds

It is important that children learn the correct sounds for each of the letters. If you are Alphablocks Multi Sensory Reading Programmeunsure then visit the website. They may also learn actions to accompany the sounds, to help them better remember. Our Sensory Seeker is in year 1 now as so already has amazed us by learning all his first sounds so this really helped developed his confidence. It made it less of a challenge to encourage him to practise writing these sounds too. Again this is organised progressively and I was able to stop and move onto the next letter when the task became too difficult for him.

Blending

I was worried that our Sensory Seeker wouldn’t get blending. It must be extra hard for him to try to filter out the extra sensory input whilst he remembers the sounds and tries to put them together again. This is really important for his Phonics test at the end of year 1. In this children are given 40 words and nonsense words that can be phonetically sounded out. The children need to use the rules of phonics with the correct sounds even for the nonsense words, to demonstrate that they understand the rules of phonics.

Alphablocks: High Frequency Words

High frequency words are those that cannot be sounded out phonetically (such as THE). To read them then you just have to remember what they say by sight. We have them attached to walls and doors around our house. By the end of the Reception year children should know 45 high frequency words. Our Sensory Seeker could read about 10 when going into Year 1 so I was pleased to see so many fun ways to help him catch up with his peers.

Pack 2: Yellow Level (arriving December 2014)

Alphablocks Multi Sensory Reading ProgrammeAfter the first 2 levels in pack 1, pack 2 moves onto Diagraphs. Diagraphs are when two letters make a team to form one sound – such as ch and sh. They can appear at the beginning, middle and/or end of a word. For example when you think of the word “church” it starts with a “ch” sound not a “c” “h.”

Pack 3: Blue and Green Levels (arriving Easter 2015)

This final stage moves onto words with letter blends, magic E (also known as a split diagraph eg. A_E), and long vowels. The programme concludes with a certificate.

What I thought to the Alphablocks Reading Programme

I liked all the different sensory input for my son. So many different visuals, puppets forAlphablocks Multi Sensory Reading Programme tactile, stickers to help develop his hands – obviously writing and drawing practise, cutting and gluing – all good for fine motor skills. I liked how it is very much focused on fun and that it can be done at our Sensory Seeker’s own pace. It is so straight-forward that many different members of the family have been able to engage him into the activities and games. It was also easy to adapt – we used some bubble wrap to pop when on the popping balloons activity (good for fine motor and tactile stimulation).  I like how the resources include the diagraphs, and hope that the next pack has trigraphs (sounds made with 3 letters).

I’d love to see the series continue onto homophones (words that are pronounced the same as another word but differs in meaning, and sometimes also spelling) and other things they will be required to know grammar-wise for their SATs in Year 2. The box was very comprehensively packed with resources so it would have been nice if everything required was readily available (pencil crayons, scissors and glue were still required). All in all though I thought that the pack was absolutely amazing and a fantastic price (think how much you pay for those foreign language courses!) – as well as being a lot of fun.

You may also be interested in my Writing Skills Development post.

We received this programme free in return for an honest review. I will update further when the other 2 packs arrive. All words and opinions are my own.

Scooby-Doo Halloween Party

Scooby-Doo Halloween Party

When planning a party for Halloween why not consider having a Scooby-Doo theme. Not only can you incorporate all scary monsters, ghosts and ghouls into it, but you can also feel protected by Velma and the gang. We were invited to a fantastic Scooby-Doo party as part of an exclusive screening of the all NEW original Scooby-Doo movie, Franken Creepy. Here I picked up some tips to share with you for hosting your own Scooby-Doo Halloween party.

Scooby-Doo Halloween Party

Halloween Scooby-Doo Costumes

Halloween costumes are a must at a Halloween party, and that goes without saying, but my youngest son absolutely loved that he did not need to be a ghost but could instead be one of his favourite cartoon characters Scooby-Doo himself. The costume also went over his head which is really good for his sensory processing disorder.

Halloween Scooby-Doo face paint

If you have a child who does not like dressing-up then maybe they could settle with some Halloween face paint. There are plenty of ghosts, ghouls, spiders, bats, monsters in Scooby-Doo so there is plenty to pick from. Or it could add to the costume. Face-painting whilst at the party gives the children something else to do too.

Scooby-Doo Halloween Party

I liked the idea of using a stencil to add Halloween designs to hands (or you could do it on their cheek). I think this is a great idea for children who are not keen on even having Halloween face paint on because they are tactile resistant.

Scooby-Doo Halloween Party

Halloween Scooby-Doo Scenery

My Sensory Seeker absolutely loved all the visual stimulation at the Scooby-Doo party – simple to do really as it was just coloured paper, cobwebs, spiders, tomb stones, bats etc. All different kinds of pumpkins too – I loved the one made of Lego.

Scooby-Doo Halloween Party

Halloween Scooby-Doo Balloons

There were plenty of Halloween balloons – with ghosts, skeletons, etc and these added not only decoration but gave him something to again appeal to his sensory tactile nature. There was also a Balloon Modeller there – once again providing a good source of entertainment for the children.

Scooby-Doo Halloween Party

Scooby-Doo Snack – Biscuit Decoration

I loved the Scooby-Doo shaped biscuits* set up ready for the children to decorate. This also was good for my Sensory Seeker’s hand development as he had to squeeze the icing out onto the biscuit. It also utilised hand-eye co-ordination and creativity.

scooby_snack_biscuits

Of course he was also able to eat it!

Scooby-Doo Halloween Party

Scooby_Doo Halloween Party food

There were some great ideas of how to turn everyday food into a Halloween theme. One of my particular favourites was by decorating a pot and filling it with fruit.

scooby-doo halloween party

I think the children’s favourites were the numerous sweets around!

Scooby-Doo Halloween Party

Scooby-Doo Halloween Movie

Then we all went into the theatre to watch Scooby-Doo: Franken Creepy. Scooby-Doo and those “meddling kids” Shaggy, Fred, Daphne and Velma are back! With reference to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, we learn the reason why Velma is so intent on getting to the bottom of spooky mysteries. After the Mystery Machine blows up (as a warning) the gang end up going to Transylvania, Pennsylvania for Velma to claim a cursed castle she has inherited from her great-great uncle Dr. Von Dinkenstein: This mystery is personal!

Scooby-Doo Halloween Party

It was great to see the original crew but now with a modern twist. There was lots of signs of the modern age such as laptops and referencing to social media. It held its same great charm it always did, and my boys were truly captivated as the mystery unravelled. I liked the educational references (such as Frankenstein was the doctor not the monster) and was really impressed with the sound and graphics.

Halloween Scooby-Doo Party Bucket

The boys then got to take home a bucket full of Scooby-Doo goodies and sweets and other treats. A great way to end the party and keep the fun going.

 

*Biscuits courtesy of Biscuiteers: Biscuit Boutique & Icing Cafe


We were invited to an exclusive screening of the Scooby-Doo movie Franken Creepy. My Sensory Seeker was provided with a Scooby-Doo costume and we cannot say thank you enough. All food and entertainment was provided free of charge and the boys took home a Scooby-Doo goodie bucket. All words and opinions are my own.

aspergers bullying

Bullying & Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Bullying is a problem for too many children, but a child on the Autistic Spectrum may be more at risk than their peers. They are also less likely to be able to make it stop, as they struggle with social communication. They might not even be able to tell those close to them. The National Autistic Society have written a guide on bullying for parents. In this post I talk about bullying and Asperger’s syndrome, as experienced by my son.anti-bullying week

Victims of Bullying generally are either:  Passive Targets – those with low self-esteem, shy, academic, on their own, smaller, weaker OR Pro-Active Targets – those with inappropriate behaviour, socially clumsy, perceived as irritating, attention-seeking and not knowing when to stop. Children on the autistic spectrum are more likely to be a target for bullies because they may be seen as different because they cannot always relate to the situation they are in – or communicate what is going on. Children with Asperger’s Syndrome are often perceived as being low in  social status & friendship – having few friends to defend them. They are naive, gullible,  & eccentric. They are neither cool, macho or popular and are perceived as ‘soft’

I remember my oldest son crying upset that he did not want to go to school when he was only 7 years old. Now granted, he was at a new school, where he had to make new friends and the rest of the children had known each other a long time – but we’d moved a lot and he was used to this. He loved  enjoyed school and has always worked hard, so it came as a bit of a shock. This actually was one of the first big moves to discovering that he has Asperger’s Syndrome.

aspergers bullyingThings can be very black and white.

I remember my son being confused as to why he was in trouble when one of the boys told him it was “a good idea” to bend another boy’s fingers back.

Those on the Autistic Spectrum are unable to distinguish between who are bullies and who are friends. They are unable to differentiate between friendly sparring and physical attacks.

Our son often kept complaining to the teacher that he had been hit so many times that they stopped taking him seriously – they said he complained as if he had been punched when someone so much as accidentally brushed passed him. Fortunately, the school was very supportive. I went in and explained the situation and they put things in place to help him. They made break times (when he was less supervised) more structured by introducing chess club. He also had a dinner lady buddy – that if he had ANY problems (even the seemingly most trivial) he could go and speak to them. They encouraged circle time sessions where children would focus on each other’s strengths.

I hear of so many children who end up being Home educated because of bullying. Do you have a story to share about bullying and ASD? I would especially like to hear any success stories.

Images maybe subject to copyright, used for illustration purposes only.

Vestibular Sensory Seeker - Movement and balance

Movement: Do you have a Sensory Seeker in the Vestibular Sense?

The Sensory Seeker: Vestibular – (Movement & Balance)

Vestibular Sensory Seeker - Movement and balanceOne of the areas of Sensory Processing Disorder is trouble with the Vestibular sense (that is movement to you and me). My Sensory Seeker is one of the ones who just cannot get enough movement (it also linked to balance but we will talk in terms of movement to keep it simple). One of the things people comment is does he have ADHD – because he is always on the go. Even when playing computer games he is constantly jumping (and I mean for ages), or if he has managed to sit down he is tapping his foot on the floor. He spins around on the spot or tips himself upside-down (usually a headstand on my sofa). He has always been an excessive risk taker – with no fear of heights and climbing really high even when he was really young.

How can you tell that you have a Sensory Seeker in the Vestibular Sense (Movement/Balance):

  • Rock while standing or sitting
  • Constantly fidgeting/tapping
  • Always on the go!
  • Jump & bounce a lot
  • Can’t sit still in the car/ on the mat
  • Rocking/ movement seems to be the only way to calm them (babies)
  • Seek out intense movement activities e.g. moving toys, merry-go-rounds, adult spinning, see-saws, hanging upside down
  • Take excessive risks with moving or climbing
  • Become overly excitable during movement activities
  • Runs rather than walks
  • Is fast but not always well-coordinated

Meeting the needs of The Sensory Seeker for Movement/Balance:

Basically provide as many opportunities for movement as possible. Big movements, not precise as your Sensory Seeker may struggle with this. Encourage movement throughout the day, star jumps, skipping, hopping,  dancing (musical statutes is good for the balance part), sing songs with actions etc – something that does not take long and can easily be fitted in wherever you are and whatever you are doing. Try to encourage back & forth movement rather than circular though, as it is more calming. Give them chores which require them to move around (setting the table, vacuuming, setting the table)

Outdoor Activities to encourage Movement/Balance:

outdoor movement opportunities for the sensory seekerOutdoor play is a really good idea – especially if they get a good chance to run. Before school my Sensory Seeker often goes on the trampoline (we have a 14ft so there’s lots of room for plenty of movement). I walk the boys to school – well I walk, my 7 year old rides his bike and my Sensory Seeker goes on his scooter. We found that a 3 wheeled scooter was much easier for him than a bike. Play games with movement – a favourite here is tag, plus we have a swing ball in the back garden. Go for walks – we like to make them more interesting for example by going at night and taking glow sticks. Give them a section of the garden to dig and tend to. Or you may want to think about getting a dog and have your Sensory Seeker take it for walks.

Days out or Activities to help the Sensory Seeker with Movement

I like to keep all my boys active anyway, so it is easy to incorporate movement into our activities.  Swimming is good for movement and our Sensory Seeker has a weekly lesson. This is not only good for meeting his movement needs but teaching him a life skill. Rock climbing is another good activity, our local center has special lessons for younger children as well as free climbing times. We love to visit theme parks and other day trips/activities that gives the Sensory Seeker plenty of opportunity for movement (spinning, being tipped upside-down, etc). Other ideas include bowling, ice-skating, canoeing. Our Sensory Seeker absolutely loved Go Ape – plenty of movement and balance.

I would love to hear about other ideas you have for encourage movement into the daily lives of children, to help my Sensory Seeker with his Vestibular sense.

This page was originally featured on Pinkoddy but has been updated for this blog.