Category Archives: Diet, Health & Hygiene

Children with disabilities may find areas of diet, health and hygiene a struggle. Advice and products on how to try and make things easier.

Sensory Help in the Bathroom

Sensory Help in the Bathroom

When we redesigned our bathroom we had to really stop and think about our youngest son’s disability. We took him along to make sure he approved of the colour scheme and had some real issues adjusting him to a square toilet. Our son’s needs are sensory as he has sensory processing disorder and rather individual to him. More physical needs can affect not just the disabled but the elderly too so it is useful to find solutions for their bathroom.

Sensory Help in the Bathroom

I felt mindfulness really helped me understand what the Sensory Seeker needed in the bathroom. I found that even the slightest tilt of my head under the shower can make the noises sound very different. This gave me an insight into the fact that even small changes can make a big sensory difference.Sensory Help in the Bathroom Sensory Processing Disorder is different for each individual and it can be every time they enter the bathroom, depending on their sensory diet that day. Knowing if The Sensory Seeker would be effected by colours, smells, touch or temperature etc are very important factors in encouraging him into the bathroom, and then using the products he needs when in there (see also my posts about brushing his teeth and washing his hair).Brushing Teeth & Sensory Processing Disorder

I previously wrote about Sensory Processing and Bathtime problems – but have since discovered additional solutions you can have added into a bath that may help with sensory issues such as Chromotherapy and Echo. Chromotherapy is based on light therapy and uses a visible spectrum of colours which help the body harmonise the emotional, spiritual and physical well-being. The colours can be fixed or run through a cycle of seven. Not only is this useful is you have a visually sensory seeker but it also encourages the mind and body to relax. Whilst Echo is a sound therapy which utilises sounds and music to create a relaxing environment. It works wirelessly from a music player using Bluetooth technology, with simple volume controls at the fingertips of the user. Again great for the auditory sensory seeker but also relaxing for mind and body.

Do you have any other helpful hints when it comes to the bathroom?

 

sensory emotions

Sensory Processing Disorder Dreams and Emotions

Sensory Processing Disorder and Struggling with Emotions

Individuals with Sensory Processing Disorder and/or Autistic Spectrum Condition are very likely to struggle with their emotions. Not only explaining them but understanding them in the first place. If you do not know how they are feeling that it is really hard to try and help. Emotional regulation is really important to help avoid meltdowns. Once the individual is able to identify them themselves they can then begin to self-regulate and take control of their sensory under and overloads.sensory emotions

How those with Sensory Processing Disorder may Struggle with Emotions

The individual with Sensory Processing Disorder or Autism may try and mirror other’s emotions – so if someone else is hurt they feel it too. They may feel upset if someone else is punished when they do not feel that the punishment was justified and have a sense of righteousness. Or they may become angry if someone is doing something they do not like – even if that is tickling them or being too loud.unhappy child

Helping those with Sensory Processing Disorder cope with Emotions

To help them better understand their feelings they need to be reassured that it is okay to have them, and then tell them what each one is called as they experience it. Offer reassurance and calming techniques (rubbing their back, firm hugs, music, lights, movement or a weighted blanket for example). It may help to have emotions printed on face picture cards so that they can see what they are feeling. These will also help aid the individual to communicate how they are feeling (especially good if they are feeling unwell). You may find it helps to have somewhere to put their problem (such as into a Worry Eater).sensory emotion regulation

Sensory Processing Disorder Dreams and Emotions

A good way to identify a child’s emotions is through that of their dreams. Dreams are about the self and can be symbolic or real. This can be confusing for anyone but particular those with Sensory Processing Disorder and/or Autism. They could be what prevents them from trying to sleep and/or waking them up in the night. If you can get them to talk to you about what happens in their dreams it may help to unravel how they are coping emotionally. Again using the visual aids may help with this process as you talk things through.

Ian Wallace, a well-known expert in the field of Dreams talks about children’s dreams interpreted in the following video:


in collaboration with Adjustable beds

sensory lights

Trying to sleep with Sensory Processing Disorder

You know that feeling of getting back to your own bed – that nowhere else feels just quite right? It is the right temperature, the size of the bed (being just right for the position you want to be in), the feel of the sheets, blankets and pillows as well as the hardness of the mattress and maybe even the smell of the room. When you are away it is these little things that may mean you find it difficult to sleep – possibly even making you feel irritable. This is just a small insight into what it may be like for someone with Sensory Processing Disorder to get to sleep – even in their own room. When The Sensory Seeker struggles with sleep I try to consider each and every one of the senses and try to eliminate things that may be keeping him awake. The main problem is he may not even know what it is – so cannot really communicate what the problem is.trying to sleep

Trying to sleep with Sensory Processing Disorder when the Temperature is wrong

We know what it is like trying to sleep when it is too hot – or even too cold. But generally we are able to adjust this – turn on a fan, grab an extra blanket, wear more or less clothes. The individual with Sensory Processing Disorder may either not realise that this is the sense causing the problem, or be able to take action, or possibly it could cause more problems (eg the fan interferes with the noise sense, the extra blanket the touch sense and so on). I think it is important to also understand that just because you think it is getting cold at night now may not be how they are feeling – we are all different after all. You may really need to just experiment with fans, heaters, layers of clothing//blankets etc – and just keep listening to the individual with SPD (not just their words but how they react). It may change every night. They may be asking for water and you may think it is a distraction, but they could genuinely be too hot. Be careful not to give them too much to drink at night that results in a problem with bedwetting though!

Trying to sleep with Sensory Processing Disorder when the Touch is wrong

Do you have to sleep with a blanket touching you even though you are boiling hot? Trying to sleep when things do not feel right is probably the problem we can relate to the most. Again this is about experimentation and listening to the individual with Sensory Processing Disorder until the right combinations of touch are found: A technique called Brushing may help before bed or using weighted blankets (although they are controversial as to whether they could be taken off in an emergency okay). Try different nightwear (or without), blankets, pillows – even think about the air! For example is that fan blowing on them? This could be something they like or dislike! You may need to think about the position of the fan – is it blowing from above or to the side, can you move it? How hard is the bed? Could you put a blanket underneath the sheet to make it softer?sleeping in leaves

Trying to sleep with Sensory Processing Disorder when the Smell is wrong

I think smell is hugely neglected when it comes to considering how to help in general  but it can be just as much of an annoyance as the other senses. Before even thinking about trying to get to sleep I make sure that I open the windows in the day to allow fresh air in (and shut them at night to keep the noise out). For our Sensory Seeker what works is keeping a fresh smell (and sometimes using air fresheners). Again you really need to just try and smell the room, and work with the individual adjusting things that MAY (or may not) be the problem until you hit on the perfect combination (which can then just as easily change the next night).

Trying to sleep with Sensory Processing Disorder when the Light is wrong

Whether it is having the room dark or light which helps them to sleep, I think that it is one of the easier things to control. If the individual with Sensory Processing Disorder wants light there are all manner of different lights, designs, colours, shapes and sizes on the market to meet each of their individual needs, and allowing them to be positioned where they need to be. Of course there are even ones to meet any obsessions they have too.

sensory lightsThe Sensory Seeker says that he is afraid of the dark however (possibly just due to his age); that monsters are going to get him. Trouble is he is really sensitive to light and it wakes him up (yay for winter on its way!). To get around this we have a blackout blind and have positioned his bed away from the window. If this had not of worked we were going to try a sleep mask (which he would have liked as he likes the sense of touch). However, also consider whether they will be trying to get out of bed whilst still wearing the mask – my husband worried that if we got one then The Sensory Seeker half asleep would try to go to the toilet in the night without removing the mask and fall down the stairs. We also got him a Worry Eater to which we have told him will eat his anxieties and protect him from danger.

Of course you also need to take into account other visual factors such as the colour of the room, how cluttered it is with things to see, etc.

Trying to sleep with Sensory Processing Disorder when the Noise level is wrong

I like it quiet when I am trying to sleep in bed and would rather have a window shut on a hot day than hear the sound of a dog barking or a car alarm going off. Your child may be able to sleep with ear defenders or ear plugs if the noise is too loud. If you are really lucky you could sound proof the room. But not everyone wants quiet whilst they try to get to sleep or are sleeping – and some kind of radio may help with this – or reading/singing to them until they fall asleep. Or leave some white noise – like a vacuum on for them. In fact our own Sensory Seeker has been known to listen to Yoga Nidra to help get to sleep (this helps switch the brain between the nervous systems as well as providing him with the noise input he needs).

Also you need to think about body position – I said above I like quiet when trying to sleep in bed because I know if I am sitting up in a moving car I actually find it easier to sleep if the music is on (when I am a passenger I made add). This is just an example how things you may think you have found the answer to for one of the senses can change when you consider another.

Trying to sleep with Sensory Processing Disorder when the Taste is wrong

This goes back to what happens before bed – I guess how long before they go that they brush their teeth. We find allowing The Sensory Seeker to brush his teeth and get ready for bed a while before actually going to bed helps – and this may be to do with the fact that he is not distracted by the taste of the toothpaste flavour when trying to go to sleep. I know it sounds silly but it really is important just to focus on each sense and really have a good think about what could be stopping them.

Of course it could be that the individual with Sensory Processing Disorder you are trying to get to sleep is just a human being – and we all struggle or don’t want to go to sleep sometimes do we?! Especially if they are a child – I remember trying to stay awake all night with my sister, or they could be excited/anxious. Give them plenty of time to talk – however hard they find expressing their feelings.

 

Written in Partnership with The Lighting Superstore

Carex Fun Edition Love Hearts Review by The Sensory Seeker

Carex Fun Edition Love Hearts Review by The Sensory Seeker

When it comes to Sensory Processing Disorder you really do have to consider all of the senses. And wen it comes to hygiene the biggest obstacle we have to overcome is smell – because The Sensory Seeker is really sensitive to different ones, and if they are not right he will refuse to use whatever it is or want to escape from it (and there’s no point in forcing him because this just raises his anxiety levels and brings on a meltdown – or what appears to be a tantrum!). Therefore finding the right products for the bathroom have been a real game changer for helping him to keep clean. There are some things he is more particular about than others, or that he just likes more than the rest. Carex Strawberry Laces are one of the products he loves – so how would he feel about trying the new Carex Fun Edition Love Hearts?
Carex Fun Edition Love Hearts Review by The Sensory Seeker

Sensory Seeker and Carex Fun Edition Love Hearts

It always was going to be a tough competition as the Love Hearts went up against the Strawberry Laces. Our Sensory Seeker loves Strawberry Laces Hand Wash by Cussons Carex so much so that we have had to start just topping up the empty bottle a bit at a time, or he just uses it all. Although it was quite funny the time he told me to smell his armpits as he had even used it there! When asked to try the new Love Hearts I felt unsure of how well he would make the change.

Just like the Strawberry Laces the Love Hearts Hand Wash smells just like the sweets – it really is the perfect solution for encouraging our son to wash his hands. I think even the most reluctant of hand washers would want this smell on their hands. It effectively removes dirt and kills 99.9% of bacteria. It is dermatologically tested by experts and contains a special blend of moisturisers which helps to keep the skin soft. It certainly was a winner in our house with The Sensory Seeker (and well the whole family).

RRP £1.80Carex Fun Edition Love Hearts Review by The Sensory Seeker

You may also be interested in the following previous posts:

 

I received a free bottle of Carex Love Hearts for purposes of review. All words and opinions are honest and my own. I have not received any financial compensation.

Sensory Temperature Issues and Possible Solutions

Sensory Processing Disorder is when the brain struggles with the ability to filter out stimulus from the senses, which  it does not need to function at that time. One of the senses that may be affected is that of temperature. However, sensory temperature issues are not often discussed in their own right. I believe that sensory temperature issues may just be the difficulty at work in many situations, therefore it is best to consider whether there is a problem. This is known as one of the problems with the interoceptive sense.

Sensory Temperature Issues with the Environment

Sensory Temperature Issues and Possible SolutionsThose with Sensory Processing Disorder may struggle for their brains to regulate the temperature of their bodies in the environment, in the same way neurotypical people do. For example those with sensory temperature difficulties may feel hot whilst others feel cold. It may be that they refuse to wear a coat, or in more extreme cases no clothes at all. I have not been diagnosed personally, but often find that when others are cold I feel really hot. Sensory difficulties with temperature can mean that heat can be really unwelcome and make those affected feel ill. Personally my skin goes all tight and itchy, my head hurts, I feel all dizzy and like I cannot breathe. It may be that the individual with Sensory temperature issues is having trouble sweating to cool down (or the opposite they might sweat too much).

It is important to make sure that their behaviours ARE sensory temperature related and not just behavioural (such as just not wanting to wear a coat), or other sensory issues such as due to tactile sensory issues (the coat feels uncomfortable due its texture). The main difficulties The Sensory Seeker has with temperature and environment are the fact that he finds snow too cold (but really wants to touch it) and cannot stand having sun lotion on. Temperature could affect how those with sensory processing disorder/autism react in many situations because the room is either too hot or too cold – including when they are brushing their teeth, refusal to have a bath (which also needs to be the right temperature – some like it really hot, others really cold and others tepid!), eating dinner, going to sleep, etc – make sure that temperature is ruled out!

Sensory Temperature issues with Food

Sensory Temperature Issues and Possible SolutionsWhether food is the right temperature is not just an issue for those with sensory processing disorder. Have you ever been served something you found too hot or cold? You know that if it is too hot you can blow on it (or wait). That if it’s too cold it will need reheating you simply cannot eat it. You also will appreciate that there will always be certain foods that you may prefer hot but will eat cold (in my case it is with pizza).The individual with sensory temperature issues is just the same, but may not have the same “tastes” as you. Also because it is a problem with the brain regulating the sense of temperature, they may not like the temperature to be the same every time! So one day you may cook them scrambled egg and they may like it as soon as it’s cooked, yet another time it is deemed too hot and they wait until it is stone cold before they eat it! We find that The Sensory Seeker is still developing an understanding of temperature (to regulate things himself) and sometimes needs persuading to try the food again (for example if it was previously too hot but now time has passed we know it will be cooler).

Ways to help with Sensory Temperature Issues

Sensory Temperature Issues and Possible SolutionsMy advice would be to really get to know and understand the individual with sensory temperature issues. Ask yourself if it really is a problem, and why – are they going to get ill for example. Think of ways you may be able to get around it for example, it is not very practical for the child to go out without any clothes on, but maybe you could find something very lightweight for them. Consider whether clothing covers the body or not. Those who are easily cold may prefer long sleeves. I cannot stand long sleeves as I am easily hot. What I tend to do is wear layers, with a short sleeved vest top on the bottom (well above my underwear) so that I can easily adjust my temperature that way (quickly). I take a coat that can be easily stored in a bag if there is a risk of it raining. There are special clothes that can be bought to help regulate body temperature, otherwise I have heard that silk and bamboo materials are good. Of course you may be able to manipulate the temperature of the environment with heating and air-conditioning – but this may not suit others, and the individual with the sensory disorder may not like the noise (or feel).

Be patient – can you just wait for food to cool down? Could you reheat food, because they have said it is too cold when normally they like it cold? Somethings I think have to just be accepted as being “difficult” – The Sensory Seeker often asks for ice-cream but then finds it too cold to eat. We just let him try it every time. Maybe one day he will even get the association that ice-cream is cold (and he doesn’t like that).

Do you have any sensory temperature issues or solutions?

Sleep and Sensory Processing Disorder

Sleep and Sensory Processing Disorder

Sleep and Sensory Processing DisorderSleep is possibly the most significant factor with our son’s Sensory Processing Disorder, and when I say sleep I mean lack of it. Have no fear that he has burnt off the calories he has eaten because he doesn’t eat much or keep still. In fact even when he is playing a computer game he is jumping up and down. At almost 6 he still cannot sleep throughout the night. The paediatrician told us that she thought if we could manage to get him to sleep better, then it would help all other things fall into place. We have now managed to establish a good bedtime routine so that he is able to fall asleep every night. The trouble The Sensory Seeker has is staying asleep.

Things to consider about Sleep and Sensory Processing Disorder

What is keeping them awake? Is it the noise? The visuals? The tactile? This could be because of the lights (do they need a light on? Or is there some sunlight seeping in that is annoying them?), textures – are their pyjamas annoying them or are they not getting enough tactile input?), are they disturbed by noise of others? Or is it too quiet? Is it too hot or cold? Do they have enough pressure on them (from blankets) or too much? Is their pillow soft enough? Or too soft? Do they need a tidy environment or one with lots going on?

Things that can help with Sleep and Sensory Processing Disorder Prior to Bedtime

Once you have established what it is keeping them awake you can try to work towards trying to resolve it. Think about all the things that happen in the run up to bedtime that affect their senses. Think about all the things that the individual with Sensory Processing Disorder requires and try to match those needs.

Developing a routine and a consistent way of doing things is helpful and can reduce the impact of over-reacting. Organisation can give the child a sense of control over their day. Avoid television or computer games an hour or two before bedtime and provide a quiet winding-down time, with a low-key story. We have a bath routine, which then follows brushing teeth, getting into pjs and a story. We did start with a short story and a song, as his attention has expanded we have been able to make this longer. As he has become more and more interested in things we have been able to engage him more easily too (such as with his current LEGO book). You could also try providing a snack that can provide slow-release nutrients through the night to avoid a drop in blood sugar.

Sleep and Sensory Processing Disorder – The Environment

Think carefully about the environment you are trying to get them to sleep in, and again try to adapt it to their needs. If it is too noisy then would they sleep with ear plugs in? Could you reduce the noise (shutting the door, not flushing the toilet at night)? Is it the birds – is there a window open? If there’s not enough noise is it possible for them to sleep with a radio on? Can you adjust the temperature with central heating or blankets? Are they comfortable in the bed – the mattress/pillow/pjs/blankets – could you help them with a weighted blanket or by surrounding them with teddies? Tuck them into the bed with their blankets. Could you cut out light with blackout blinds, a thick curtain or an eye mask? Or how about one of those tunnels that goes over the bed. How is the room decorated – what colour are the walls – is there too much information on them, or not enough?

The Sensory Seeker and Sleep

he is disabledWe are finding that The Sensory Seeker does sleep much better than he used to but still wakes throughout the night. We have kept him in “night pants” at night because he still wets in the day, and is not ready to be dry at night. We have tried to leave him in pants (as he is aware that he is getting older and does not want to be a baby) but this was further disturbing his sleep, which I agree is further adding to his problems of concentration and so on the next day. We have tried him in his own room and he kept coming in to us. So now he is sharing with his brother (on the bottom bunk) but still he is unable to sleep throughout the night. I think the main factor is noise that disturbs him but cannot be sure.

Please if you have any further tips on Sleep and Sensory Processing Disorder then add them below.

Sensory Processing Disorder Bathtime Problems

Sensory Processing Disorder Bathtime Problems

Sensory Processing Disorder can be a problem when it affects day-to-day life, such as personal hygiene. Bathtime and keeping clean can be a problem but it is identifying exactly why, for each individual, in order to try to help it become more bearable. I have previously discussed teeth brushing and now to consider the whole bathtime experience.

Identifying the Sensory Needs at Bathtime

Sensory Processing Disorder Bathtime ProblemsFirst discover what it is that is bothering them. Keep a diary to determine whether your child is a seeker or avoider in the 7 sensory types. Note when things calm them down and when they arouse them. Try to note all the different things occurring. For example, if they do not like having their hair washed and are screaming, “get off me, get off me,” as if you are trying to kill them – don’t assume it is because they do not want the shampoo in their hair. There could be all manner of factors at work here. Bathtime may help calm them down, or rev them up. This may also depend on what their sensory diet (things they have done to satisfy their sensory needs and make sense of their environment) has been like that day, or whether it is morning or night. Even as a seeker bathtime may help calm them down (as they have got what they want) or it may overload them(as they are taking in too much). Make bathtime an hour before bed, as it  may help them calm down and establish a bedtime routine.

Think about the Environment at Bathtime in relation to Sensory Processing Disorder

Be aware of the environment at bathtime. Is there carpet on the floor? Or mats? The noise in the bathroom may echo, they may not like the sound of the running water. If the bath running is a problem then run it before hand, when they are out of ears reach. Invest in earplugs.Give them warning about what you are going to do and how it may upset them. Encourage singing and/or clapping to help regulate and be a distracting dose of sensory input; or put on some relaxing music. On the other hand, they may like the noise of the water, and a shower may provide more sounds.

Things to do for the individual with Sensory Processing Disorder in the build up to Bathtime

Before it is bathtime do activities that provide deep touch input, e.g. rest your hands on their shoulders and apply moderate pressure. The upset before getting in the bath could be to do with getting undressed – this could be to do with temperature or pressure. Make sure the room is the right temperature. Let them test the water with their fingers, to ascertain that it is the right temperature for their needs.  Again do deep pressure touch before washing, and wash with firm pressure (if they are seeking this), especially when shampooing and drying. Make the transition from getting undressed and into the bath as quick and smooth as possible. Make sure the towel and pjs are the right texture for them.

How to help the individual with Sensory Processing Disorder during Bathtime

During bathtime give them control. Let them chose the flannel, sponge or loofah – for size and texture.  If they don’t like being washed then encourage them to wash independently. Try letting them see what is happening in a mirror. Or tell them how long you will wash for – like until you have finished counting to ten. Offer a bubble mountain right before washing their face. If they do not like the water in their eyes have goggles – or a towel at hand so they can dry their eyes. After the bath rubbing lotion in may be effective. It may also be about the level of the water – do they want a deep bath – to cover them up, or do they only want a little bit – reassure them that it will not touch them too much.

Sensory Processing Disorder Bathtime ProblemsEncourage positive water experiences – make it fun and not rushed. For those who need the stimulation then why not let them have messy play. Take toys in that are their current interest, or ones that light up, and have different tactile stimuli. Take a doll that they can wash, whilst you wash them. Maybe consider making the bath glow in the dark,blow bubbles, or a product such as squishy baff. Consider the smell, how it appears visually, and the texture of the shampoo or soap. Or possibly dry shampoos. Those who need calming try epsom salts, benzonite clay baths, lavender oils & lavender soap, or natural (non-perfumed) soaps and shampoos. As you can see from the state of the soap are boy is a sensory seeker. Bars of soap are just no good for him, instead liquid is much better as he can get the sensory seeking tactile by rubbing it all over his body.

The ability to keep clean is a basic need. If someone you care for is finding it difficult then they may be entitled to financial help in the form of Disability Living Allowance (for the under 16s) or Personal Independence Payment (over 16s) to help manage this.

Brushing Teeth Sensory Processing Disorder

Brushing Teeth & Sensory Processing Disorder

Brushing Teeth Sensory Processing DisorderThose with Sensory Processing Disorder have a difficult with filtering out the senses in the brain to make sense of the World around them. One of the areas this can cause difficulties is with hygiene. I thought that I would share my thoughts on how to best help deal with Sensory Processing Disorder and brushing teeth. The Sensory Seeker used to hate having his teeth brushed, would scream, fight and refuse – even to the point of nearly being sick. Fast forward on a bit and now he is asking to have his teeth cleaned. Here I consider what happened to change that.

Sensory Processing Disorder Brushing Teeth: What is the Problem?

You need to consider what the problem actually is. In this case The Sensory Seeker has little oral awareness. This can also be seen at mealtimes when he stuffs as much food as possible into his mouth all at once. Our oldest son also had this; he would drool lots until all his mouth was sore and his clothes were soaked. Before even thinking about going as far as brushing teeth, things that can help are by providing different sensory inputs for the mouth – this can be with different textured foods or chewy toys or even try ice. If there is an aversion to things going into the mouth then try to discover exactly where the problem is – is it the lips, inside the mouth, the tip of the tongue, the middle of the tongue, the gums, or all of the above, that is causing the problem?

Sensory Processing Disorder Brushing Teeth: Get them to agree

I am sure it seems like such an obvious thing to say but having The Sensory Seeker on-board to the idea of brushing his teeth is the first step. Now it is much easier as he has a bit of an understanding that he needs to look after them. I am not quite sure how this happened, or to what extent, but since losing his first tooth it has been much easier to get him into the bathroom. Before this, or if he is in a defiant mood then we use bribery rewards. This may be that he can play with Lego when we are finished, it may be to watch his favourite TV show, even to leave some of his breakfast – we give him some control back to get what he wants if he does what we want. You may want to get them to agree in stages – entering the bathroom one day, massaging their gums another, rubbing toothpaste on their gums after that, until you slowly progress to a toothbrush.

Sensory Processing Disorder Brushing Teeth The Bathroom

You have to remember that the problem may be the bathroom itself. If you were to enter my bathroom you may feel that it is too cold for you. If this were your house you’d probably put something on warmer or turn on the heating. Those with Sensory Processing Disorder may not understand what the problem is though, or know how to fix it. What if you haven’t got the tools to fix it either? I think it is important to stand where you will be brushing teeth and put yourself in their position. Think – is the bathroom cluttered? How does the colour make you feel? What is the temperature like? How does it smell? What are textures like? What is the flooring made of? Are there any sounds? An extractor fan or an open window? Is there a tap running? Too many sounds from other people? Is there not enough noise? Could you put some music on?  You need to think about each individual with Sensory Processing Disorder as they may be a Seeker or Avoider or a bit of both. Really think about what they require for their Sensory Diet. Maybe you could brush their teeth in another room (a smaller one) or even start in their favourite room or sensory den (just take a bowl for them to spit in to). I noticed this morning that The Sensory Seeker uses the training step for moving up and down, and around whilst brushing his teeth, but that also he makes tapping sounds with his foot on it.

Sensory Processing Disorder Brushing Teeth The Toothbrush and Paste

Brushing Teeth & Sensory Processing DisorderIt took us a long time of trying many different toothbrushes and pastes before we found ones he was happy with. There are many different sizes, textures, colours, smells of paste and brushes you can ones that spin, musical, electric and main colours and shapes. We even tried electric ones. In the end I think it was the control The Sensory Seeker had over the situation and now he has a choice of brushes and paste in the morning. Again think about the individuals need. Let them familiarise themselves with the toothbrush and paste – even if that means letting them play with the paste – without even getting any in their mouth. We did as above and had a slow build up. One of the best products we found for The Sensory Seeker was a brush that slid over the finger. We always wet the brush before adding paste – do you do this? If so have you considered the temperature of the water? Have you tried it without? If you do not put water on then – have you considered the temperature and feel of the brush – could water help?

Sensory Processing Disorder Brushing Teeth

Brushing Teeth & Sensory Processing DisorderControl is an important aspect of successfully brushing teeth for the individual with Sensory Processing Disorder. I think that our success with getting The Sensory Seeker brushing teeth was when he could see himself in the mirror. He knew what was going to happen and could see exactly where the brush was being moved to. It also gives him the control of how much pressure the brush puts on him. Now he likes to brush his teeth at the same time as me, using me as a model and mirroring where I move the brush. Prior to that I also held him firmly under the chin – and think this helped with the tactile sense. I have to admit myself that sometimes brushing my teeth makes my nose itch. Again communication has played a big part in this development. Letting The Sensory Seeker know how long it would happen – starting small and then building up. You could do this by letting them count or sing. Sand timers are great though, as they are visual display of the time that would be required to be brushing teeth. Another good visual is disclosing tablets that colour the teeth and gums so that they can see where they need to brush to get rid of the plaque.

Sensory Processing Disorder Still Difficulties with Brushing Teeth

There are some with Sensory Processing Disorder that none of the above works. The only way to get their teeth done is to restrain them and get the job done. I think that if this is the case you just have to remember how much more difficult it would be if they had to have work done at the dentist – an unfamiliar place with new noises, smells, textures.

If you have a problem with Brushing Teeth I would love to know in the comments below all about it. Or alternatively can you help give any further advice on this issue?

 

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

Kids Stuff ® Crazy Soap RangeI 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).

Sensory Soap: Kids Stuff ® Crazy SoapThis 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.

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.

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 who are on the Autistic Spetrum 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 towards him being diagnosed as having 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.

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