In observance of Sensory Processing Disorder Awareness Month this October, our team would like offer the following nine tips for parents navigating life with an SPD kid. Sensory sensitivity can be overwhelming to parents, especially if it is a new diagnoses.
- Embrace your own sensory issues. – We all have them – there’s no denying it. Personally, I don’t like the texture of oatmeal or the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard – that one’s all of us, right? I don’t like dirt on my hands and feet. Some people pale at the sight of blood. The difference is that people without SPD can usually manage their sensory issues, while people with SPD do not know how to process them and they tend to get overwhelmed. But, in embracing your own sensory issues, it helps to understand what an SPD child is feeling or going through.
- Create a sensory diet. – Once you’ve identified your child’s sensory needs, make time each day to fulfill them – or at least one thing. Perhaps it’s swinging at the park or having some quiet time to his or herself. Whatever it is, ensuring your child gets this input each day will help them to be more balanced.
- Celebrate your child’s strengths. – SPD kids are extraordinary individuals who just happen to struggle with certain aspects of everyday life. When things become frustrating for you and your child, focusing on his or her strengths will help get through the frustration.
- Trust your intuitions. – You know your children better than anyone. If something just doesn’t feel right, trust that feeling. Don’t let family members, other parents or doctors sway you away from your intuition. You are the best advocate for your child.
- Join your child in their world. – Connect with your child by doing the things that they do. If he loves to spin, spin with him. If she enjoys a cold popsicle, have one with her. Take a moment to let loose, be silly and have fun.Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
- Focus on the long term. – A good road trip is the best analogy to describe parenting, because overall it is a journey, but especially with a sensory kid. Sometimes the road is smooth and other times it’s bumpy. And sometimes you need to pull over at the rest stop. Sometimes you need to take a detour or return home and start again. But ultimately, the destination is worth the journey – a happy, well-adjusted kid!
- Be willing to rewrite the playbook. – No sensory solution will work forever. As your child grows and changes, their sensitivities may change. They may get better or worse, or they may develop other sensitivities. Be flexible and work towards new solutions.
- Do research. – The world is full of information that is always changing and developing. Stay on top of studies and ideas by reading websites and books. Knowledge is power!
- Raise awareness. – You are the best advocate for your child. Help other parents or teachers to understand things in your family’s world. Many people won’t understand SPD unless they are faced with it. Wear orange proudly. Just like pink is the color for breast cancer awareness, orange is the color for SPD awareness. And we know right where you can get a pair of perfectly seamless orange socks that will feel great on your child’s toes! Visit smartknit.com and wear your orange!