Psssst! Wondering why it’s been a little quiet around here lately?
Here’s the nutshell version, (though in the future I may post more in depth)…
Over the summer we took our older boys along to an occupational therapist (OT) to talk through a few concerns we were having at home. Following an evaluation it was noted that they both had mild difficulty with sensory processing along with a few other possible challenges.
This evaluation was so helpful for us as parents in understanding some of the emotional responses we see on a daily basis and how it may be directly related to our boy’s difficulty processing sensory information from their environment. It was explained that ‘having sensory processing difficulties predisposes one to sensory overloads resulting in a decreased ability to handle changes in activities or tasks.’ Phew!
We’re working together with the OT on short term and long term goals to facilitate and improve motor planning abilities, gross and fine motor coordination, bilateral coordination, impulse control, attention to task, sensory processing, and frustration tolerance.
We were given an activity suggestion list, with both naturally occurring actives around the home as well as play activities. I was surprised to see that so many of these activities are ones that we naturally see kids do and never think twice. I had no idea that child-play was not only meant for the purpose of fun but plays such a role in cognitive development. So, if you’ve managed to read through to this point, (well done!) if you take anything away from this article it’s this; LET KIDS PLAY!
Sensory Therapy Activity Jar
I put together a little jar of sticks with a short activity from the suggestion list I was given. They pick one out when they seem to be getting a little bored, frustrated or over stimulated. Some of these activities include:
- Sit and spin
- Snow angels
- Play Doh
- Cut out shapes with scissors (or items from a magazine for the older child)
- Spin marbles around a large bowl
- Rock on the rocking chair
- Bounce on mom and dad’s bed
The Marble Jar
In combination with these activities I made a marble jar reward system. Their positive behavior earns marbles and when it is full they will be able to pick out a reward. (Equally a marble is taken away for negative behavior) As a family, you know what kind of things your children enjoy and they really don’t have to cost the earth if you are trying to be frugal. A few examples include:
- Stay up an extra 30mins this weekend
- A picnic in the park
- Trip to the movies
- East dessert first for dinner
If the boys are playing together in another room and I hear them help each other out or say something kind etc, they hear the ‘ting’ of the marble drop in the jar followed promptly by a ’YESSSS!’
Still trying to get our heads around it all. It’s a new world of vocabulary, new parent awareness skills, frequent trips to the OT and some days complete overwhelm! Not to mention, our nearly-two year old at home full time who is becoming busier himself these days :-) But. This is not about me or my husband alone, this is about our children and giving them what we can for them to thrive in life, not only as nine and seven year olds but as adults, too! The great news is that even in this short time of intervention and occupational therapy we have seen progress.
This perhaps gives a little insight into why it’s been a little quiet around here the past couple of months.
Whether or not you are a parent of a child with ASD, ADHD, ADD, ODD, SPD, encouraging one another as parents to love our kids well, where they are at will be beneficial. However, if you suspect your child may be showing various systems of the above, set up a meeting with a local OT who can give personal recommendations.
I hope your kids respond as well to these activity and reward systems. I would love to build up a good database of blogs for this issue, feel free to leaves comments below :-)
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