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inclusion means not being different

Inclusion means not being Different

Inclusion what do schools think that means? I recently went to The Sensory Seeker’s annual review of his EHCP to find out that his school means that they don’t want him to be different. I guess it is a feeling of once again coming back to rubbish parenting really, as it sounded like that the only thing causing any problems is him being treated in a way not like the others! They said that even with a one-to-one teacher he hasn’t made “extra” progress (just in-line with his peers) and that actually he needs to be encouraged to be more “independent.”inclusion means not being different

They did not seem to even understand Sensory Processing Disorder (which unfortunately is not a diagnosed condition in the UK) so it is no wonder that they don’t “get” that his one-to-one helps The Sensory Seeker deal with sensory input that may distract him and need his focus brought back. In fact the SENCO and his teaching assistant didn’t seem to think he had ANY sensory needs at school – which I found really surprising. They were thinking about just taking that section out of his EHCP all together. I thought that there was no point in arguing with them after I tried to explain some of his difficulties, because they just said it did not happen. Or well, that time he was hugging someone else all the time was okay because that person wanted him to do it. Of course the good old social stories came up – as obviously if he understood that he couldn’t just go around touching people then that tactile need will just disappear!sensory processing disorder

His EHCP actually has good guidance in it about his Sensory Issues from the Occupational Therapist, but because they discharged us they no longer come to the meetings. I can’t even really get her involved whilst the school are saying there aren’t any issues either! Luckily his class teacher was able to quickly pop in to the meeting at the time we were just about to move on to the next bit of the EHCP. She was then asked about The Sensory Seeker’s sensory issues (in a tone that he did not have any). But, thankfully, straight away she said that yes he clearly did and came up with an example straight away. In fact, ironically, it was to do with their sensory time where a few children go off to practice writing. She said that music was played to help them feel calm – but actually it stopped The Sensory Seeker from concentrating. That he was able to let her know it was a problem. The SENCO again was immediately in the frame of mind of not wanting him to be “different” so asked what the teacher did to resolve it. The teacher explained that they just turned the music off! That they didn’t *need* it. It is a shame that next year not only isn’t she his class teacher but she is leaving to go on to another school.party planning sensory processing disorder

We will have to see how things go in year 4 because I am concerned that they are just knocking his confidence by ignoring his sensory needs and treating him no differently – such as setting him the same homework as the others for example. And then when it is not complete (because he has struggled with it so much, or not in the right sensory frame when he has come home) he is then punished (like the other children) by missing break times. I fear that this will then further impact his social skills and relations with his peers -especially as he becomes more aware of things such as being the only child not invited to parties. They have also mixed up the children in his year group and this change has already upset him. Unfortunately he was sick and missed move up day too – so we shall have to see how it goes. It isn’t all bad however, and I am not blaming the school it is because the knowledge just isn’t there. Things I mentioned (such as his inability to use a dictionary as he does not know the alphabet) they tried to help straight away. He seems to have a good relationship with his TA and in our opinion has helped him come on leaps and bounds.

Hair Washing & JOHNSON’S Baby Easy-Rinse Foaming Shampoo Review

Many people whose children have Sensory Processing Disorder may find that they struggle when it comes to hair washing . The anticipation of water coming can be a threat to the nervous system, with the feel of water being uncomfortable or even painful when it hits the skin. It may be the temperature of the water. Children who over-register tactile input may also over-register temperature, they may feel things in extremes – so something cool could be experienced as bitterly cold; and something warm as scorching hot.

child in mirror

It important to consider that there are a lot of factors as to why a child does not like hair washing , and important to think about them individually. One of the ways to help a child is to slowly break it down into small steps. Explain what is happening and slowly build up to what you wish to achieve. It may be that they refuse even to go into the bathroom, for instance, so just start by letting them go in and then leave again straight away. Then build up to getting them to stay in there a little while: Until slowly you can eliminate a fear of the room. If they still are screaming just going in the room then it may well be worth considering changing the colour, feel, or flooring of the room. It may be you just need a new air freshener or a new rug. Try adding things that appeal to them – maybe with the use of bathroom tile stickers of say dinosaurs. Make it fun – provide plenty of bathroom toys.

The most important thing is to let them guide you. Try to establish what is upsetting them, rather than just trying to force them to do something that you feel they ought to do. Believe me I have a teenager with Aspergers – no-one died from not washing for a little while. Let them decide on the temperature of the water for example.

johnsons challenge independent hair washing

We were thrilled to try the JOHNSON’S CHALLENGE, with New JOHNSON’S Baby Easy-Rinse Foaming Shampoo, because it really did fit with where we are with our little Sensory Seeker. He is about to start school and needs a hand with his independence and more of an understanding about personal hygiene.

Challenge 1 DIY Fun Factor: this gave us the option of letting him wash his hair – so he had full control. I was really pleased to say that he managed the pump action soap (with a little difficulty at first), largely unaided. This is good for a few reasons – them being that he is hypermobile in his hands and all manner of other terms the occupational therapist said to me and forgot – but basically he needs to do certain things to strengthen them. That he didn’t get too much shampoo, as a seeker I expected him to just keep pumping it out, but he never, he was happy with the right amount and happily lathered it into his hair. I was also supplied with a frog mirror and jug for him to be able to see what he was doing whilst controlling where the water was going. We have also found that a mirror has been a great help in brushing his teeth. If he can see what is happening he is a lot less distressed. I believe it is because it makes things more predictable.

Challenge 2 Funky Foam Fun: This was about seeing what funky foam hairstyles you could make – this happened rather quickly as he is a sensory seeker and so was very keen to start tipping the water over his head again.

child smile in mirror

Challenge 3 Rinse Ease:

100% of the mums  who had already tested the shampoo agreed that it was easy to rinse off.

tip water over head in order to independently wash their hair

Yes I can agree there too – his hair is curly (although quiet short at the moment) and can be really difficult to get the bubbles out (one of the things I feel adds to his distress), but these bubbles came out with ease when he washed it himself. There was no need for me to help with extra rinsing.

94% also agreed that it made shampooing delightful.

It was indeed a delight to see him so happy to wash his own hair. It was such a proud milestone for me and made me feel very proud.

And 70% agreed that the shampoo kept the fun going all through bath time.

To be honest we have quiet fun bath times, so although it was nice to see him so happy to wash his hair it wasn’t the reason that the whole bath time was fun.

I received a free bottle of JOHNSON’S Baby Easy-Rinse Foaming Shampoo, a frog mirror, and jug. I have not been compensated in any other way. All opinions are completely honest and my own.