Tips for Recognizing SPD

Are you wearing orange this October?  Wearing orange in October means more than just Halloween in the Sensory Processing Community.  October is Sensory Processing Awareness Month and orange is the awareness movement’s color.

Since children living with sensory sensitivity are near and dear to our hearts, we wanted to spread awareness by reminding us all of the signs a child may display indicating a sensory sensitivity.  The information below comes directly from the book Raising a Sensory Smart Child: the Definitive Handbook for Helping Your Child with Sensory Processing Issues.  We recommend the book which can be purchased on Amazon.  The blog should not be used in place of advice from a medical doctor or occupational therapist.

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What is Sensory Processing?

Sensory Processing refers to how a person uses the information provided by the sensations coming from within the body, as well as the external environment.  We all remember learning about the five senses in school (touch, taste, smell, sight, sound).  In addition to the five traditional senses, a person will also receive sensory input from the body’s position and movement.

What is Sensory Processing Disorder?

When it is suggested that a child may have sensory processing disorder, it usually means that the child displays symptoms of hypersensitivity – a child who is over sensitive to stimuli – or hyposensitivity – a child who is under sensitive to stimuli.  There are many different symptoms to look for when determining if a child may have a sensory processing disorder.

Over-Sensitive Children

Touch

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A child who is over sensitive to touch may avoid several of all types of touching or may shy away from being touched.  This is known as tactile defensiveness.  They may not like to be held as infants or toddlers.  These children may not like the feel of certain textures on their hands and feet and avoid things that may make them messy like paint, glue, sand, etc.  They may not like holding things in their hands – especially if the object is made of certain textures.  This avoidance can lead to delays in fine and gross motor skills.  They also may take issue with certain clothing items or fabrics, socks, shoes, seams, tags or waistbands.

Body Position

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A child who is over sensitive to the body’s position has trouble understanding where his own body is in space.  This child doesn’t understand how much force needs to be applied for certain activities, so they appear to be weak and clumsy.  They may have trouble closing snaps or buttons or attaching snap-together toys.

Body Movement

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A child with body movement sensitivities may avoid movements that require him to unnecessarily pick his feet up off the ground, such a jumping or skipping.  He may be hesitant or afraid of stairs or playground equipment.  He may have trouble with balance or easily become dizzy.  He may easily become motion sick and avoid things like carousels or spinning toys.

Sound

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This child has trouble shutting out background noise.  Simple sounds like the noise of a vacuum cleaner may be too much.  Or the hum of an air conditioner or refrigerator may be distracting and annoying.  This is also the child that needs total silence in order to go to sleep and stay asleep.  Being in loud or crowded settings may be difficult for this child.

Sight

sight

A child who is over sensitive to sight may have trouble adjusting to bright lights.  They may have trouble following moving objects or making eye contact.  They may become overexcited or agitated if there is too much to look at.

Smell

smell

The difficulty that this child experiences is that many common scents or odors may seem overly fragrant.  He may hold his nose and object to things that may seem fine to most people.  They may gag easily or become nauseated.

Taste

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Taste goes hand-in-hand with smell, so many of the symptoms will be the same.  But, this child may also object to certain food textures.  He may have difficulty with foods that are too hot or too cold.  He may gag easily on foods or may find that only certain foods are acceptable.  He may have difficulty trying new foods.

Under-Sensitive Children

Touch

touch

A child who is under sensitive to touch may not react to sensations that other children find upsetting.  These can include childhood vaccinations or common, minor injuries such as scraped knees.  The may seek strong hugs or cuddles and may be especially comforted by them.

Body Position

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Like a child who is over sensitive to body position, an under-sensitive child has difficulty determining how much force should be applied to an object.  This child may too easily break crayons or spill drinks.  He may push or bump into other children and seem aggressive because he can’t properly apply an adequate amount of force.

Body Movement

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This child will seem fearless.  For example, he may be the child that climbs furniture or wants to swing higher and higher on playground equipment.  Or, he may be unable to sit still and constantly fidgets.

Sound

sound

This is the child that just doesn’t seem to pick up on verbal instructions.  He may miss something a teacher says during class.  He may seem to not hear you when you call his name even though his ability to hear is not impaired.  He may frequently ask others to repeat things.

Sight

sight

Under sensitive children may overcompensate for their sight sensitivities by touching objects.  They may stare at objects or words or may seem distracted by them.

Smell

smell

An under sensitive child may crave certain scents.  He may frequently sniff food, people or objects.  Or he may not be bothered by unpleasant or strong odors.

Taste

taste

This child may want to taste objects that are not meant to be food.  He may crave certain foods or crave extra flavor – particularly something spicy or strong-flavored.

Knowing some of the common symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder will help parents to identify ways to help their children better process input.

Don’t forget your orange SmartKnitKIDS socks to help spread awareness!

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Biel, Lindsey, and Nancy K. Peske. Raising a Sensory Smart Child: The Definitive Handbook for Helping Your Child with Sensory Processing Issues. New York, NY: Penguin, 2009. Print.

How to Choose the Best Back-to-School Clothes for a Child with SPD

Choosing the Right Back to School Clothes for Your SPD Child

It’s part of the rite of passage for the start of each school year – back to school clothes.  Every family takes part in this ritual – some with excitement and joy, and others with dread.  Families with SPD children must tackle this task than most.  But, following these few tips will help you end up with new school clothes your child won’t fight you to wear.school

  1. Allow Your Child’s Preferences to Dictate Your Choices – Take your child shopping with you. Let him select outfits that feel good and are comfortable.  They may choose clothes that are loose fitting or baggy.  Or, they may prefer things to fit more snuggly.  They may prefer certain fabrics or fasteners.  Resist the urge to select outfits of your choosing.  As long as the clothes are school appropriate, your child will be more likely to wear them if he has selected them himself.
  2. Choose Items that Don’t Have Extras – Most experienced sensory parents will recommend seamless and tagless clothes, those with no zippers, buttons, or buckles, and those that are extra soft. This especially goes for things like undergarments.  Many children find SmartKnitKIDS seamless bralettes, undies for girls and boxer briefs for boys to be more comfortable than traditional undergarments.  They are all made with super soft materials and are knitted with no seams.
  3. Give Your Child Time to Get Used to the New Clothes – Some clothes and shoes need to be “broken in” before they are comfortable. Do your school shopping a few weeks ahead of time.  Then let your child wear her new clothes for short periods of time leading up to the start of school.  You’ll learn if there are things that make certain outfits annoying or uncomfortable.
  4. Stock Up on Tried and True Things – You know your kiddo. If you’ve found that a certain brand of t-shirt gets the most wear, buy several in different colors and even different sizes.  You may get sick of seeing the same thing on your kid, but if your child is dressed and comfortable, you’ve really scaled quite a mountain.
  5. Choose an Irritant-Free Laundry Detergent – This is something that can often-times be overlooked, but some people have sensitivities to certain dyes and perfumes in laundry detergent. For most people with this sensitivity, it can cause skin rash or irritation, but could also cause an itchy sensation.  Most major detergent brands make a dye and perfume free version that will help cut down on the sensitivity and irritation.  Also, avoid dryer sheets.
  6. Practice Dressing – Some children find comfort in a routine and this can be especially true when dressing. If your child is one of these, help them come up with a comfortable routine of dressing in the morning.  It will make school days go smoother.  Another reason to practice dressing is that you will find there are some things that your child has difficulty with – buttons, or difficult snaps.  You can help them work through these difficulties, or determine that a certain article of clothing may be better for home wear.
  7. Choose Weighted Clothing or Compression Shirts – Many children with Sensory Processing Disorder find comfort in heavy garments. They might be most comfortable completely covered, or want to wear fleece or other heavier fabrics.  Some have described this as putting a protective layer between them and the outside world.  Weighted vests tend to offer a solution for some, but many of these options are not ideal in warm environments or warmer months.  A compression shirt like the Compresso-T from SmartKnitKIDS gives children a sense of protection and calming without bulky or unnecessary fabrics.  The Compresso-T is lightweight and moisture wicking – the perfect solution for hot weather, or as a layer underneath other clothing.
  8. Get Rid of Regular Socks, the Biggest Irritant of All – We hear from parents everyday who tell us that socks are the biggest irritating issue for their child. Lumps, bumps and seams bunch and rub making wearing them very uncomfortable for them.  All of our SmartKnitKIDS socks are made with super soft and stretchy materials that are very comfortable for kids.  And better yet, they are knitted cocoon-style meaning that there are absolutely no seams throughout.  Your kids can rest easy knowing that there will be no irritating lumps or bumps to bug them at school.

Following these eight tips will help you with your child’s Back to School wardrobe, as well as navigating through the morning routine during school days.  For more general tips on preparing for Back to School with an SPD kid, check out this post.

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6 Sensational Summer Sensory Activities

We’ve arrived at summer!  With no school for the next three months, many parents struggle to find ways to keep their children entertained.  The activities below are great fun for all kids, but are especially good for children who struggle with sensory processing disorder.  They are all great ways to introduce children to new textures and senses in a fun and non-threatening environment.

Sand and Water Play

Children have always loved playing in the sand and water.  This is a great way to experience tactile input in fun and creative ways.  But, since not everyone has a beach in close proximity, try a sand and water table.  These great toys come in several different shapes and sizes and can be set up most anywhere.  They are relatively easy to clean out, so sand and water can be changed out frequently, so as to not invite dirty, unsanitary environments.  Better yet, you can fill them with just about anything textured to help a child explore.  Uncooked rice, beans or noodles and shaving cream also make great options.  And if cleaned out at the end of the summer, the child can even use it with winter snow!  Add some toys to mix to make playtime even more fun!

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Play Doh, Gak, Oobleck, Silly Putty

Children need to be able to touch a variety of textures in order to develop normal tactile processing.  These great substances can allow a child to develop, while also being creative, exploring and having fun.  A set of cookie cutters, small bowls and measuring cups will enhance the fun and exploration.

Sensory Scavenger Hunt

Plan a scavenger hunt for the kiddos using different textured areas of your yard.  Include an activity or something to find in the grass, mud, flowers, water or any area that will give them a different textured experience.

Blow Bubbles

What kid doesn’t like to play with bubbles?  Start out by blowing the bubbles for the kids and let them chase them around.  Then help them to blow the bubbles themselves.

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Crazy Straws

Buy a package of fun and crazy straws.  You can use them to let the kiddos use their breath to blow different objects around.  (Lightweight boats in a small pool of water is a lot of fun.)  When the kids get thirsty, they can use the straws to sip on some lemonade.

Water Balloon Catch

Play the good old fashioned water balloon catch game.  The surprise drop of a balloon and spray of water will be a fun way to help them develop.  If you’re unsure of whether or not it will scare your kids, just show them up front what it looks and feels like.

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Memorial Day Facts

Field of Flags at sunset, Lubbock TX

Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer.  The three-day weekend is chalk full of barbecues, parades, super sales and pool and water park openings.  But, what is it, truly, that we are celebrating?  Many people don’t know that the day is set aside for remembering and memorializing American servicemen and women that have been killed in American wars.  But, there is so much more to the story.  Here are several facts about Memorial Day you may not know:

  1. Civil War origins – The late spring remembrance to American war dead began in the aftermath of the Civil War. Originally called Decoration Day, it was an informal commemoration of the roughly 620,000 soldiers killed during the Civil War.
  2. Freed American slaves organized earliest commemorations – On May 1, 1865, black US soldiers, including the Massachusetts 54th Infantry, gathered in Charleston, South Carolina at a new burial for Union dead. They distributed flowers and sang hymns.
  3. Official holiday founded in May 1868 – General John A. Logan, who was commander of a Union veterans’ group called the Grand Army of the Republic, decreed that May 30 would become a nationwide day of commemoration.
  4. Did not become a federal holiday until 1971 – After General Logan decreed a national day in 1868, more than 27 states adopted some form of commemoration. By 1890, every state had adopted it, but the day still only recognized Civil War dead.  After our entry into World War I, the holiday was expanded to include those killed in all wars.  But it wasn’t until 1971, when the U.S. was 6 years deep into the Vietnam War, for Memorial Day became the federal holiday set aside on the last Monday of May that we know it as now.
  5. Many have lobbied for it to return to May 30 – Many Veterans groups that American do not use the day for its intended purpose, but instead associate it with the first long weekend of the summer. They argue that returning the commemoration back to May 30, regardless of the day of the week would return the significance to honoring war dead.
  6. Memorial Day traditions and practices – On Memorial Day, the American flag should be hung at half-staff until 12:00 noon, and then raised to the top. In 2000 Congress passed a resolution that suggested Americans should pause at 3:00 pm local time to offer a National Moment of Remembrance.
  7. Who is included in a Federal Holiday – A Federal holiday, like Memorial Day, technically only applies to Federal employees and those in the District of Columbia. However, many of the 11 federal holidays, Memorial Day included, are observed by all 50 states and many businesses.

This Memorial Day, as you’re having barbecues and parades, pause for a few moments to remember those American servicemen and women who made the ultimate sacrifice. Happy Memorial Day from our team and Knit-Rite and Therafirm.

Beautiful Purses Giveaway for Mother’s Day

We are very excited to be able to offer two very unique giveaways for Mother’s Day!!  These two beautiful purses were made with love by a long-time Knit-Rite/Therafirm employee, Gloria Ladines.  Learn about Gloria and her bags from Gloria’s Creations below and click on the link to register to win.  Contest ends on Saturday, May 7 at 11:59 p.m. Contiguous U.S. states only.

ENTER HERE

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When Gloria Ladines retired from Knit-Rite’s Sewing Department in 2014, the highly skilled and talented seamstress wasn’t able to rest for long.  She put her skills to work making beautiful diaper bags and purses.

Gloria began sewing as a 13-year-old girl in the Philippines, where she eventually opened her own shop making wedding dresses with her sister-in-law.  In 1972 she married Dionisio Ladines, Jr. and together they had three daughters, Laurie, Leonida and Lourdes.  Dionisio then began working towards immigrating to the United States for his family and by 1984 they had been accepted to immigrate.  Gloria closed her wedding dress shop and the family came to the Kansas City area where soon after Dionisio Ladines began working at Knit-Rite.  He had brothers-in-law that were already working at Knit-Rite, so it became a natural fit and a family tradition. Gloria stayed at home raising their daughters.  In 1991, Dionisio and Gloria and their family became U.S. citizens.  Once the youngest daughter, Lourdes, graduated high school in 1996, Gloria began working at Knit-Rite as a seamstress.  For the next 10 years, she and Dionisio had lunch together every day while working.  They watched all three of their daughters also come to work for Knit-Rite – Laurie and Leonida still do!  Dionisio retired from Knit-Rite in 2006, before passing away in 2013.

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Gloria and Dionisio Ladines and their daughters, Laurie, Leonida and Lourdes shortly after arriving in the United States.

Now in her retirement, Gloria will occasionally work a temporary part-time shift applying her skills and talents to many of Knit-Rite’s products.  But, the majority of her time is spent with her daughters and grandchildren, and making her beautiful purses and diaper bags.  Her bags are extra special because of the amount of love she pours into everything she makes.

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Gloria today.

National Youth Sports Safety Month

Well it’s springtime, and if you house is anything like mine, spring sports or even practices for summer sports, are in full swing.  Seems like perfect timing for April to be designated as National Youth Sports Safety Month.  Many studies have shown the true benefit to children playing organized sports.  But, one main concern involving children’s sports is always safety and preventing injury.

Injuries can range anywhere from serious injuries like bone breaks, concussions and dehydration to small things such as blisters.  Many parents tell us that our SmartKnitKIDS socks help to cut down on rubbing, irritation and blisters and make especially great soccer socks, as well as socks to wear under ice skating or horse riding boots!  Who knew?!  Actually, it makes perfect sense because the moisture wicking properties in SmartKnitKIDS socks help to cut down on rubbing and irritation caused by moisture.  The completely seamless nature of our socks eliminate other sources of irritation and pressure points.  Our socks are actually great at helping to prevent these small injuries from occurring keeping your kiddos active and in the game.

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Our team at SmartKnitKIDS encourages kids to get active and be involved in youth sports.  It’s a great way to build confidence, develop teamwork and maintain a healthy lifestyle.  And even though our socks can prevent the blisters, it’s important to remember the following things to prevent the serious injuries from occurring.

  1. Get a Pre-Participation Physical Exam – Most school organized sports will require children to receive these physicals before participating. They are a great way to help diagnose any medical conditions that may put your child at risk.  Many sports for younger children don’t require a physical in order to participate, but it doesn’t hurt to mention to your pediatrician any sports or physical activities your child will be playing.
  2. Develop a Hydration Culture – Always send your child to practice with plenty of water – especially during the hotter months. Make sure your child is well hydrated before arriving at practice, and that coaches are allowing frequent hydration breaks throughout practice.stock-photo-14296124-soccer-player-drinking-water
  3. Stretch Before Practicing – A good warmup before practices or games will help keep muscles loose and prevent tears or sprains. Always build in plenty of time for warm up into any practice and arrive early prior to games in order to warm up.livestrong.comImage from livestrong.com
  4. Develop an Off Season – Children are children and it’s important not to push them too hard or let them push themselves too hard either. Most sports medicine specialists recommend 10 consecutive weeks of rest from any one sport in a year’s time.
  5. Wear the Right Gear – Each child should wear all appropriate safety gear (helmets, shin guards, mouth guards, cups, shoulder pads, knee pads, etc.) for both practices and games. Ensure that the gear is the right size and is being worn correctly to prevent injury.omaha.comImage from Omaha.com
  6. Don’t Forget Sunscreen – Whenever you are outdoors for longer periods of time, sunscreen is definitely in order. Many stores will carry sweat proof sunscreen specifically designed for sports.  Remember that the sun can be damaging even when cloudy or even when the temperature is cool.  And, make sure to rub some on the whole family, not just the athlete.
  7. Be Prepared for Minor or Major Emergencies – At least one coach or parent volunteer should be certified in first aid or CPR. Keep a first aid kit and cell phone handy with your sports equipment.  Make sure you know the address of where you’re at in case you need to relay that information to an ambulance.  Be able to recognize the signs of dehydration or concussion.
  8. Eat a Healthy Diet – Grabbing some chicken nuggets from the McDonald’s drive through on the way to a game is sometimes necessarily convenient for many parents. But, make an effort to feed your child foods that provide essential vitamins and minerals, as well as lean protein which will help build muscles.  Carbohydrates in moderation are a good fuel for right before a game or practice, but avoid foods high in sugar or fat.healthy food
  9. Get Adequate Sleep – Sleep allows your body to refuel – something that is always important, but especially so when playing sports. Got an early Saturday morning game?  Make sure the kids get in bed early on Friday night so they will get enough sleep.  Children should get the following based on their age:
  • 3 to 6 year olds: 10 to 12 hours
  • 7 to 12 year olds: 10 to 11 hours
  • 12 to 18 year olds: 8 to 9 hours

With that SmartKnitKIDS wishes all of our young athletes a successful season!  Play hard, Stay safe and healthy, and Do your best!

** Disclaimer – Not to take the place of medical advice.  Always consult with your doctor about health concerns.

Bugsley Bucks for Autism Awareness Month

Nearly 25 years ago, the Autism Society designated the month of April as Autism Awareness Month.  What they began was a nationwide effort to promote autism awareness, inclusion and self-determination for all.  Today, the prevalence of autism is 1 in every 88 American children.

SmartKnitKIDS works every day in manufacturing products that help children with sensory differences. Many children with autism also have these sensory issues and therefore, irritations like clothing seams can feel like big irritations to these kids.  SmartKnitKIDS socks are seamless, leaving nothing to irritate sensitive feet and toes.  The form-fitting design gives children’s feet a gentle “hug”, which provides closeness and gentle pressure that are soothing to children.  SmartKnitKIDS uses this same technology and design in a host of other products for kids with sensory issues, including Big Kids SocksKids UndiesCompresso T, and Bralette.

SmartKnitKIDS believes in spreading awareness of the condition, as well as celebrating the amazing individuals that live with autism daily. To celebrate these great kiddos, we are offering one amazing deal on SmartKnitKIDS and Big Kids products.  For any purchases made in the month of April that are at least $25*, SmartKnit will send you a Bugsley Bucks card in your order.  The Bugsley Bucks cards will then work like cash on a single purchase made between May 1 and June 15.

$25 – $49.99 Spent = $5 in Bugsley Bucks
$50 – $74.99 Spent = $10 in Bugsley Bucks
$75 – $99.99 Spent = $15 in Bugsley Bucks
$100 – $124.99 Spent = $20 in Bugsley Bucks
$125+ Spent = $25 in Bugsley Bucks

And we haven’t forgotten about those ordering small amounts either.  Any order under $25 will receive 10% off at checkout!

So, this April, we encourage you to do something to raise awareness for autism.  Wear blue. Put a blue light on your front porch. Participate in a local autism event. And don’t forget to order your SmartKnitKIDS products for extra Bugsley Bucks!!

* Subtotal must reach $25.  Tax and shipping are not included.  See www.smartknit.com/rewards for more details.