Managing Sensory Issues And Helping Your Older Exceptional Child Self-Regulate

Michael is having a really hard time managing his sensory issues. I have not seen him this bad since he was a baby. Whether it is due to puberty bringing things on, the new medication he is on that is helping  with hyperactivity, but causing other OCD like anxiety, or the hot humid weather turning cool, turning hot and humid again, it is anyone’s guess. Anyway, I am a little at a loss. The old tools we directed him to don’t always work, or as he has said, he does not want to use them.

“How come the other kids at the park don’t need a fidget too not to pinch or squeeze their parents? How come the other kids don’t need a massage to calm down?”
Yep. Puberty and self-awareness is happening. BIG TIME.  And though I am so happy that Michael is so aware, it is also hard because I have to be the one to tell him that he is different and needs to find different ways to control his impulses that could hurt or anger people who are not us. Other kids don’t have these impulses as their brains are not like his. We would never want him any other way, only that we want him happy, balanced and feeling safe and calm in his own body and mind. But this is a process. I am learning that too, one day at a time.

I am also learning how to troubleshoot again with a tween who has sensory, anxiety and aggression issues as well as hyperactivity. Not an easy thing for either of us. However, this tween is also funny, creative, thinks outside the box, is so bright and remembers details from years ago that many people have forgotten seconds after hearing it, and has so much to offer the world-his creative abilities in cooking, music, art and navigation.

So what ways can I help my little guy calm his sensory nervous system, this the first week of school? Here are some tried and true ones that have worked for our hugger, squeezer, exuberant little boy:

  1. Deep pressure massage: As long as your child will sit, it is definitively worth while being trained to do the many massages that are out there to help children with are under or over responsive to touch.
  2. Weighted blankets and vests: I have yet to personally try these tools, but am looking into trying one or both as tools to help Michael regulate. They have worked well for many children with sensory processing issues.
  3. Bear hugs and Burritos: This would be hugging your child with deep big bears and applying pressure slowly as they instruct you to. Burritos would be rolling them (or helping them) roll themselves in a blanket while pretending they are a hot dog between two buns. They could also try this themselves. It is very regulating, and works well with younger children.
  4. Fidget toys: For some kids mouth or hand fidgets make all the difference in helping with their energy level. Fidget spinners can work wonders too. It’s all about discovering what your child needs.
  5. Sports and Movement: One of the best ways to help your child regulate is by sports- swimming, soccer, playing at the park, basketball, anything that interests them physically is great. Michael loves running through the splash pads at local parks, particularly some where the water spray is more intense. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your child.

Exceptional Parents, what sensory tools have helped your Exceptional Child  self-regulate at the beginning of the school year? I would love to hear some of your tricks of the trade. In the end, it’s all about what works to calm your child. This means listening to them, watching their cues,  and moving forward from there. Until next time.

 I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  and Type 1 Diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

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2 thoughts on “Managing Sensory Issues And Helping Your Older Exceptional Child Self-Regulate

  1. love your suggestions…weighted blanket and stuff animal, deep hugs, rolling in a funnel tunnel all work for our M. However, the best thing I found was free. Straps of swim suit fabric that a company was throwing out. They re colorful, scratchy, vary in width/length and did I mention FREE….great for M releasing energy or stemming. http://www.rethinkautismmom.blog p.s have baskets thru out our home with them in it so M can grab when needed.

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    1. Love your suggestions too! Our kids are often the best teachers for us and help us see what they need. I don’t have baskets, but leave sensory toys, often inexpensive fidget toys for my son, throughout areas of the house where he can access them. Great ideas!

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