Tag: sensory issues

How to Handle Anxiety And Sensory Issues in an Older Child

analog, binder, blank

This week has been an interesting week with Michael. Well, pretty much every week is interesting. Some weeks are more challenging than others, good and bad. Last week was a good week overall, but I did notice a lot of anxiety in Michael. The good thing is he is learning to express himself better and talk about his feelings. The bad thing is that the same measures that used to work (offering him sensory massages, pillows to squeeze and showing him his exercise ball) don’t always work. He will sometimes actively fight me on even trying these techniques. This is what I am calling the curse of the tween hormones, with a touch of autism. I add the last part for a little bit of humor to get us through the tougher moments when Michael is pretty arguing with us about everything. This morning it was when he would do his chores so he could accumulate money to buy his next toy. Weekends are tough as the structure changes, and though it has been nice taking a break from extracurricular activities, Dad and I now he needs them again. The brain break was good, but physically for stress relief and sensory reasons we see how he really needs to move.

It’s tough though, as he is at the age when he does not like challenge. Our school physiotherapist warned us that due to a mild hypotonia, he may not like being physically pushed to go a little farther. But in order for him to get strong and build muscle,  he would need to move as this would help him. When he moves, just like any child, he also burns energy, feels more relaxed and positive, and handles stress and sensory issues better. It’s a tough balance, and one I am slowly learning to navigate as the mother of a tween. In all areas, he is growing up, pushing us away in daytime, and then pulling us closer at night. Sundays he dreads going back to school even though he is doing well. It is the pushing of limits. He wants to play it safe, as we are trying to teach him that only by taking risks can he make progress. I find that by giving him some freedom, I am helping him learn his own power. But then I must remind him, these are your strategies to calm down. Let’s write them on a paper. Let’s look at pictures of the equipment. Now you try what works.

Exceptional parents, what sensory issues/anxieties are your experiencing with your Exceptional Child? Are they close to or at the tween age or younger? You will see your child move through cycles, no matter what age they are. There will be good days and bad days. There will be victories and setbacks. The most important thing you can do is remind your child that though there are rules they have to follow with you and adults around them, they also have a measure of control over their life, their anxiety, and their sensory issues. Praise them when they make a good choice. Calmly redirect when they stumble. And if you need a minute, give yourself a time out to breathe and move forward. Only if you are calm and centered, can you help your child move forward into independence as stress-free as possible. Until next time.

I am a writer and parent coach who is passionate about empowering parents to trust their own instinct when raising their exceptional children with autism, and remembering that parenthood is as much a journey for us as childhood is for our children. For more information on my parent coaching programs, and to book a FREE 30 Minute Consultation Session, see my website: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

SPECIAL OFFER: February is the month of love. We show love to our children, partners and friends But what about to ourselves as parents? Do you know how to practice self-care and truly love the amazing parent and person you are? If you need support in this area of your life, until Feb. 28th I am offering a FREE ONE HOUR one on one coaching session, as well as a second one hour one on one coaching session at 50% off regular price. Give yourself the gift of self-love, and learn some great tools to begin to put your needs first so you can parent in balance. Contact me at joanne@creatingexceptionalparenting.com or 514-827-7175 to book your Skype session. www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com



Differentiate Between Sensory Sensitivities, Boredom and Challenging Behaviors-Let Your Exceptional Child Lead the Way

I used to think I knew Michael one hundred percent. I used to think that surely all the books, articles, and experts I’d talked to about him and his various behaviors could give me an accurate peak into his mind pretty much 24/7. Then I saw that wasn’t the case as he got older. Yes, I know a lot. The books and articles accurately describe a lot of what Michael and kids like him experience, and his therapists know a great deal. But none of us really knows Michael or the individual with autism better than the individual himself. Maybe another person with autism could come closer than us neuro typical parents, educators, and experts. So this has helped me greatly to trust that Michael will usually know what is right for himself.

Now, don’t get me wrong. This does not mean that he does not need guidance and rules to follow like any kid. Believe me, he has tried and continues to try to get his own way with staying up later, not wanting to listen to us, etc. But I see that when I give a little as far as asking him how he is feeling, he will give back more. Some days I have less patience than others. I shared a great quote on Facebook yesterday about pausing and showing patience before we respond to our children. This is hard when we are tired and low on energy, but mandatory. It is the way to their hearts and souls as it is to ours. Understanding and giving them space will go a long way to help us as parents understand what they are going through. I now can tell the difference when Michael is having real sensory sensitivites, experiencing boredom, and showing challenging behaviors. When I look back, I can now see the pattern and know where he needs help.

Exceptional Parents, how do you know what is going through your Exceptional Child’s mind? You don’t know everything, but you definitively have an idea. To get more details, you need to let your child open up to me in a way that only they can. Let them express how they are feeling and with time you’ll recognize if they need space, a hug, sleep or new strategies to deal with sensory issues. The important thing is to give them the steering wheel and let them steer you to where they need help. Until next time.

Are you looking to make changes in your special needs parenting life? Do you need support on your journey?  I am a writer and parent coach who is passionate about empowering parents to trust their own instinct when raising their exceptional children with autism, and remembering that parenthood is as much a journey for us as childhood is for our children.

For more information on my parent coaching programs, and to book a FREE 30 Minute Consultation Session, see my website: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. For a limited time, I am also offering a special New Year’s Promotion: Refer a friend for one of my six month programs, and receive 2 one on one 1 hour coaching sessions with me for 50% off the regular price. Don’t be afraid to move forward while parenting your exceptional child in a happier and healthier way.

Looking to make a fresh start in 2017 with the way you handle anxiety in your special needs family? Download my FREE EBOOK: “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS.



Snow, Snow and More Snow-The Joys of Sensory Play Outside

The first snow fell Sunday night into Monday. And, like any child, Michael was ecstatic when he woke up yesterday morning. He asked about building a snowman and was crossing his fingers about having time to play outside at recess. I promised him, regardless, we would do something outside after school. Unfortunately, he did not come home with his snow pants, but we still want to race in a nature park nearby and watch the ducks after our race and walk. Michael loves being outside and so enjoys the snow. He, as well as I, are looking forward to sledding, skating and doing all kinds of activities outside.

For exceptional kids who have many gross and fine motor challenges, being outside can be great to help them build up their muscles. Walking in deep snow or up a hill with their toboggan, skating, building a snowman and making snow angels, all work either the larger limbs of their body (gross motor), and/or hands, fingers and arms, (fine motor) skills ,in a fun way that gets them moving and releasing a lot of pent up energy. When Michael was a baby, being outside was difficult for him. The temperature and the feel of the snow was something weird, though he did enjoy eating snow, and actually, much to my frustration, still does. He also went through a period where he would be outside for ten minutes, then tell me he was tired and wanted to go in. I realize now that was his low muscle tone that had to build up tolerance to movement and coordination. But, as with everything else, once Michael built up that tolerance, did he ever go. Now, he is my little movement machine, loves to be active, and, as a plus, has gotten me to be active too.

Exceptional Parents, do you have trouble getting your little ones outdoors? Are they sensitive to light, cold or not liking to get dressed up in snow gear? Start slowly with small spurts of time outside so your child can build up tolerance to being outside. Do fun things with them. Remember what being a child was all about; making snow angels, building snowmen, running, your cheeks all nice and rosy, sledding. If they see you engaging in fun play with no pressure, they will eventually be curious enough to want to join in. Not sure how to do it? Sure you do. Just be yourself. They will be comfortable with you and eventually be able to be themselves. As always, trust your parent’s gut on how to do this. You know your child. Until next time.

Tired of anxiety controlling you and your child? Download my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.exceptionalparenting.net/EBOOKS


Keeping Busy Versus Over Stimulation-6 Ways Parents Can Plan Out A Reasonable PED Day

Yesterday was another PED DAY. Michael was thrilled that he was home from school and looking forward to his day off. For me, it was great to have him home, and we enjoyed doing stuff together, but it was, as usual, about finding the balance in not overdoing activity and becoming overstimulated. This is a tricky one for Michael and me. Yesterday we crossed the line on over stimulation. At the end of the day, I  realized I had scheduled too much for him. It’s hard for him these days as there is so much nervous energy, and I know if we under plan the day then there are fights due to boredom and under stimulation.

I sat back last night, and as usual when we have challenges in the later part of the day, thought of how can I best address this for the future? What can I learn and share with parents so we all can see when we are crossing the line of busy into over stimulation? Here are 6  ways parents can plan out a reasonable PED DAY:

  1. Structure the day reasonably according to your child’s temperament: A reasonable day for one child may be one place where the child stays for the day. Another child may need two places, in the am and one in the pm. Believe it or not, mine likes three to four places as he in constantly moving and learning, and having a change of environment. He can do two, one in the am, and one in the pm to break up his day, but they need to be VERY engaging. Go with your child’s flow.
  2. Make sure child (and you) are rested: Having a good night’s sleep for both of you is mandatory to being able to function at your best and have fun.
  3. Give them breaks between activities: This is where I went wrong yesterday. Even us veteran Exceptional parents make those mistakes. He went to a park and to run some errands in the am, but then had an hour lunch break to prepare for the afternoon. In the pm though, he went from one busy place to another. Next time, transition break.
  4. Make sure to limit sugar: On PED DAYS it’s not that it is junk food mayhem, but let’s face it, friends come over and Moms will put out the cookies and goodies, myself included. It’s important we make sure our kids don’t have too much sugar, juice, and anything that can add to the hyperactivity.
  5. Offer a reward system for good listening: We are still using tokens and they work for most of the time. There are lots of options available. You need to find what works for you.
  6. Give your child focused attention to talk about what is happening: It’s important on PED DAYS to also have some quiet talking time. Michael and I had a little bit at the beginning and end of the day, though I may have had less patience at the end of the day to see what the bedtime stalling was signalling; the stress of back to school the next day. Try to pace yourself better too to be able to handle the after dinner/homework/bedtime battles.


Exceptional Parents, what do you do on PED DAYS to keep your Exceptional Children busy? Are they in childcare, with other caregivers, or with you? There are lots of options available. The most important thing to remember is to structure their days so they feel excited, calm, and will have a fun and successful day. There will be ups and downs. Celebrate the ups and learn from the downs. Remember, look for signs of your child having fun and being over the top, and let them guide you in how you can make further adjustments. They are raising you as much as you are raising them! Until next time.


Tired of anxiety controlling you and your child? Download my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.exceptionalparenting.net/EBOOKS