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Q:

What are some strategies for dealing with sensory issues and sensitivities in children with special needs?

Hi all,

I am a parent of a child with special needs and I am struggling to deal with their sensory issues and sensitivities. My child reacts strongly to certain textures, sounds, and smells, which makes daily activities difficult to manage. I am looking for strategies to help my child cope with their sensory challenges and make their life easier.

Any advice on how to deal with sensory issues and sensitivities in children with special needs would be greatly appreciated. Are there any techniques or therapies that have proven effective for others? How can I support my child in navigating the world around them without causing them discomfort or distress?

Thank you in advance for your help and suggestions.

All Replies

liliane87

Hi,

As a parent of a child with sensory issues and sensitivities, I know how challenging it can be to find appropriate strategies to support your child's wellbeing. One approach that has been working for us is the use of music therapy. Playing calming music, such as classical or nature sounds, can help regulate our child's emotions and alleviate the effects of sensory overload. We use this technique to help our child relax and sleep better during bedtime.

Another strategy that we've found useful is incorporating physical activities that involve heavy work or deep pressure. Activities such as jumping on a trampoline or doing push-ups can provide proprioceptive input, which can have a calming effect on the body and reduce sensory sensitivity.

We also use aromatherapy, which involves using essential oils, to create a soothing and calming environment. We've found that using a diffuser to distribute essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, or mandarin can help reduce stress, anxiety, and improve mood.

Remember that finding what works for your child may take time, and different interventions may need to be tailored and combined to provide the most effective results. Don't hesitate to reach out to professionals such as occupational therapists, behavioral analysts, and even your child's teachers, to seek guidance and support in managing your child's sensory issues and sensitivities.

Take care and don't give up!

merle.klocko

Hi,

As a therapist working with children with sensory issues and sensitivities, I have found that incorporating mindfulness practices can be beneficial. Mindfulness involves focusing the child's attention on the present moment and acknowledging and accepting their feelings and sensations in a nonjudgmental way.

One practical exercise that we have tried and found helpful is the "Breathing Buddies" technique. It involves asking the child to lie down comfortably and place a small stuffed animal on their belly. They are then instructed to focus on breathing deeply, feeling their stomach rise and fall with each breath, and visualize that their breathing is gently rocking the stuffed animal.

Another strategy that works well is teaching children how to use "I messages" to express their feelings and needs appropriately. "I messages" involve stating how the child feels, what situation caused those feelings, and what they would like to happen. This form of communication helps children advocate for themselves and express their needs in a non-confrontational way.

Therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and play therapy are also appropriate for some children with sensory issues. CBT can help children identify and challenge negative thoughts about their sensory challenges while play therapy can help them explore and manage their emotions through play.

Remember that supporting children with sensory issues and sensitivities takes a comprehensive approach that addresses the child's unique needs in a holistic manner. It requires patience, persistence, and the willingness to adapt and try different techniques to find what works best for each child.

lexus.predovic

Hello,

I am a teacher who works with children with special needs and sensory issues, and one of the vital steps to dealing with these sensitivities is to create a safe and inclusive learning environment. One strategy that has been helpful for my class is allowing sensory breaks throughout the day. This break can be as simple as a few minutes of stretching or using fidgeting toys to help the children relax, refocus and regulate their emotions.

We also make sure to enhance the learning environment's sensory center by incorporating materials that focus on different senses: sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. We add a variety of textures, including squishy balls, tactile mats, and sensory bottles, as well as musical instruments and different scents like mint or vanilla, allowing children to explore and engage their senses.

Another excellent technique is using positive reinforcement to encourage appropriate behavior. Praising the child for their efforts when they manage to cope with their sensory challenges or try something new can help reinforce positive behavior.

It's important to work closely with parents and caregivers to identify specific triggers, challenges, and effective strategies. Keeping communication open between parents, teachers, and therapists can help create a consistent plan that addresses the child's individual needs.

Remember that sensory issues can have a significant impact on children's happiness, confidence, and success. Therefore, creating a sensory-friendly environment, acknowledging their progress, and celebrating small wins are critical steps in supporting these children in navigating their everyday lives.

fbergnaum

Hi there,

As a parent of a child with sensory issues and sensitivities, I completely understand your struggles. One strategy that has worked well for us is sensory integration therapy. This therapy focuses on exposing children to different textures, sounds, and smells in a controlled and supervised environment to help them become more comfortable with sensations that they find challenging.

Additionally, we have found that using weighted blankets and compression clothing can be helpful in providing a calming and grounding effect for our child. We also use noise-cancelling headphones to help our child cope with loud noises, which can be overwhelming for them.

Another important strategy is to create a sensory-friendly environment at home. For example, we have installed dimmer switches in our child's bedroom to control the lighting and avoid overwhelming sensory input. We have also created a safe and quiet space for our child to go to when they need a break from sensory overload.

Overall, my advice would be to observe your child and identify the specific triggers that cause discomfort, then explore different strategies and therapies to help them cope with their sensory issues. Don't hesitate to reach out to professionals such as occupational therapists or behavior specialists, who can provide tailored advice and support for your child's specific needs.

Hope this helps!

rkuhn

Hi everyone,

My child also experiences sensory issues and sensitivities, and I feel your pain. One technique that has worked for us is deep pressure therapy, which involves applying pressure to the body to create a calming and relaxing effect. We use a therapy ball to apply gentle pressure on our child's body, especially during times of stress or anxiety.

We have also tried using essential oils to create a calming and soothing atmosphere. Lavender and chamomile oils have proved effective in reducing anxiety and improving sleep quality for our child. Moreover, we make sure to incorporate sensory playtime into their daily routine, using tactile and sensory toys to provide tactile and visual stimulation in a safe and constructive way.

It's vital to remember that every child is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. It's essential to be patient and persistent while experimenting with different strategies until you find what works best for your child's specific needs. Seek the assistance of professionals such as occupational therapists and support groups to provide guidance, support, and reassurance.

Lastly, take comfort knowing that with time and consistent care, your child will learn to manage their sensory issues and sensitivities effectively. Stay positive, and keep working on finding the best strategies to support your child's development and well-being.

deckow.lavonne

Hello,

As a parent of a child with sensory issues and sensitivities, I agree that finding tactics to help cope with their discomfort is crucial. One of the strategies that work for us is 'brushing therapy'. Brushing therapy involves using a specially designed therapy brush to apply light pressure to the skin, which can help alleviate sensory overload caused by tactile or kinesthetic stimuli.

We have also discovered that using therapy putty provides excellent sensory stimulation and resistance for our child, allowing them to release tension, reduce anxiety, and improve their fine motor skills.

Besides that, using visual schedules, social stories, and routine task cards have been a game-changer. These visual supports give our child structure, predictability, and guidance, making it easier for them to navigate their surroundings, understand their expectations, and cope with change or transitions.

Remember, every child is unique, and what works for one child may not work for another, so try different tactics till you find the one that works for your child's particular needs. Seek assistance from an occupational therapist, speech therapist, or a behavior expert, who may recommend targeted therapy and develop tailored plans for your child's requirements.

Take baby steps, stay positive, and celebrate small wins along the journey. You're doing an amazing job.

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