Tag Archives: sensory diet

nowman Nathan Wolfe

Sensory Advent Calendar

When it comes to Christmas and the individual with Sensory Processing Disorder it is all about making sure they still manage to get the right Sensory Diet. Trouble is with all the additional Sensory input (especially in terms of vision, sounds and smells) then this is going to knock their normal routine right out.  I have already talked about how to tackle things such as Visiting friends and Family at Christmas . This post is particular about Sensory Craving at Christmas. The way I have found is best to deal with Sensory Craving is to ensure that there is a regular and often stimulation given. In a way I have provided a Sensory Advent Calendar this year to help calm the excitement a little.nowman Nathan Wolfe

It is key to consider what it is that has changed and is affecting them, and what can be done to get the balance right once more. This can be really difficult to understand because it may be that there is more visual stimulation than normal so you try to limit it (keeping decorations to a minimum for example): On the other hand it may be that you need to give them more opportunities to touch as they NEED to explore the world around them. Christmas for us is one of the most difficult times of the year as The Sensory Seeker gets so excited but often struggles to control his emotions and reactions. As well as trying to keep him at the right balance we ensure that he is supervised more than usual and remember that once things are back to how they were then things will be easier.

The Benefits of a Sensory Advent Calendar

The benefits of a Sensory Advent Calendar for our Sensory Seeker has meant that The Sensory Seeker is not just waiting until Christmas to get all his much needed Sensory Stimulation. Sensory Craving at Christmas can be a nightmare as our Sensory Seeker just cannot get enough input to the senses (mostly auditory, movement and touch; but he is also more sensitive to smell – but seems to want to avoid those). He gets really excited about actual Christmas day and I have found that giving him something to do each day has helped his Sensory diet. This in turn has meant it has been much easier with his hygiene issues (Sensory Craving is not pleasant where the toilet is involved!), especially cleaning his teeth – and sleep (ie he is managing to pretty much stick to his routine and get sleep!). It has also made the build up to Christmas a pleasant one for the whole family – doing nice things together, as opposed to feeling like we are just trying to contain the Sensory Seeker’s excitement a little! An added bonus of this has also been that he has been encouraged to at least try more foods – he even licked a lettuce leaf!benefits of sensory advent calendar

About the Sensory Advent Calendar

The Sensory Advent Calendar is simply having twenty-four things to do with The Sensory Seeker, one each day in December until Christmas Day. ? I wanted to get a real mix when deciding what to include in the Sensory Advent Calendar. I told the children that we would be doing a different thing each day but did not tell them what basing which activity we did being dependent of The Sensory Seeker’s needs and the needs of the whole family. Let’s face it just because he may have limitless energy at this time of year does not necessarily mean that I do too!! Your family may need something more structured and, depending on what works best for you and your family, maybe you could map something out, even produce a visual aid showing the individual with Sensory Processing Disorder what they are doing each day.24 day advent door

Activities to include in a Sensory Advent Calendar

There are obviously a great many things you can do with your child over Christmas, with a wealth of ideas online: Things I considered when creating The Sensory Advent Calendar consisted of activities to get really messy and creative; others were simple, clean and easy to organise and tidy away: Some that he could do independently, and others that involved us all coming together.

Does he require noise? Ideas include singing Christmas Carols, Playing with noisy Christmas novelties or playing Christmas songs (and maybe even having a dance too). Or simply getting outside and letting him be as vocal as he likes! Or if he wants to be settled and quiet some Christmas colouring or other quiet calm activity.

Does he require movement? Again dancing (or playing Just Dance on the computer) is a great way to get movement, as well as our 14ft trampoline, ice-skating and walking around to see Christmas lights. We are regularly doing Parkrun and are carrying this into December – but wearing festive clothes! I have previously written about the benefits of the Forest and Sensory Processing Disorder – and at this time of year you can catch falling leaves – or collect things to craft with at home. When he does not need movement and needs to settle and relax I have bought him some films to watch (linked in with the Christmas presents he has asked for this year), planned trips to the cinema, have Christmas story books to read (The Night Before Christmas Olaf style is The Sensory Seeker’s favourite), make Christmas shapes in our LEGO (also good for fine motor) or play a board game.sensory adventDoes he require touch? I had some really messy activities where he could get covered in paint and glitter. But also some edible ones where it didn’t matter if he tried to eat what he was touching! This could even be tied in with making gifts – such as our Christmas Tree Biscuits.

Which kind of activity used also was determined by time – such as was he able to easily have bath to get clean afterwards. I considered which kind of materials to use – does he need the same as he did last time or would he benefit from a different ones? (see my previous Sensory Snowman post). We made Reindeer food so that he could put it out on Christmas Eve so that he can visually associate it with being the night that Father Christmas comes out.

Promised the kids we would do something Christmassy every day in the run up to Christmas #1goodthing

A post shared by Joy Gloucestershire UK (@pinkoddy) on

Does he require smell? The Sensory Seeker has been more sensitive to smell and taken a dislike to some. The ideas I have when he needs smell are – a big bowl of freshly cooked popcorn; creating ornaments (such as Wonderbaby’s Apple & Cinnamon Ornaments); a scented candle (supervised); bubble bath/bath bomb or even a real Christmas tree.

a real Christmas tree

I hope this post has been useful for you – and this blog has lots of ideas on it of things to do with the Individual with Sensory Processing Disorder. If you are having Bad days – then please read my previous post and hopefully things will be easier in the New Year.

Merry Christmas.

Also of interest – details of Relaxed Performances of Pantos in the UK 2016-2017

Thank you to the Forestry Commission for sending us craft materials and a free parking pass.

summer sensory diet

Summer Sensory Diet – Tips and Inspiration

I find the best way to help my Sensory Seeker to cope with the School Summer holidays is to provide him with a Summer Sensory Diet. As he doesn’t like change, ideally, a visual aid. This would  show a new summer routine, which meets all of his needs. I like to make sure I continue to provide educational stimulus, so that he does not fall any further behind his peers. I will also help  him to develop his gross and fine motors skills. He needs plenty of outdoor activities to help burn off some his wild energy and meet his proprioception and vestibular needs; some noisy activities for his auditory sense; and of course plenty of tactile activities. Of course I will also set up just invitations to play, and use his imaginative (I love a bit of craft): These are also educational for him but in a less structured way. A plan not only helps him make sense of what is happening, but also gives him an idea of time, and when he will be returning back to school. I will also factor in down-time (he loves computer games and watching television) – both for his and my benefit.

summer sensory diet

Summer Sensory Diet Ideas from the Kids Co-op

There’s some great ideas on the Kids Co-op that inspire me, or I can utilise to help make my Summer Sensory Diet plan – here are a few of them:

Educational

15 Busy Bags for Fine Motor Skills – Powerful Mothering

Watermelon free Printables – Gift of Curiosity

Handwriting practice Letter B – Crystal & Co

summer sensory diet

Outdoor

Backyard Tight Rope – Kids Activities Blog

summer sensory diet

Outdoor Playspaces Kids Love– Frogs and Snails

Nature walks (and free printables) – Livin Montessori Now

Tactile

Chocolate Slime Playdough – Epic fun for kids

summer sensory diet

Ooooey Gooooey Slime – Our Little House in the Country

I am keen to find ideas for Apps as he sees these as playing computer games. He needs to learn how to blend his sounds, count from 10-20 – and other Early Years Goals. He is going to go up to Year 1 but be measure with P scales.

My other advice is to have lots of snacks. These can be frozen! As well as great for touch and smell.

What are P levels?

When children are in Year 1 they have finished the Early Years Foundation and move on to The National Curriculum. This starts at level 1 (and goes to level 3 in infants, and level 6 in juniors). Those children who have not achieved a level 1 at National Curriculum level would be marked with a W (working towards). This can feel deflating and confusing for a child/their parent who has made so much progress but the assessment shows the same W. P levels used when a child does not meet the National Curriculum levels but still allow progress to be seen. They are designed to show layers of small change below that of the National Curriculum levels – 1-8.

The Weekly Kids Co-Op

You may also be interested in Jenny’s Waterplay Activities Kids Co-op Round up