Category Archives: sensory processing

Splitting Seams . . . Again

True SmartKnitKIDS pros out there know about the amazing differences between our seamless socks and other socks that claim to be seamless.  But, we know there are some rookies out there, too, so we thought it was about time for a quick refresher on the seamless playbook – just in time for Back to School shopping!

There is more than one way to knit a sock!  Truly.  But, most don’t claim to be seamless.  Of the ones that do, some of them are just that – a claim.  Let’s break them down.

Smooth or Hand-linked Seams

First up is a smooth or hand-linked seam.  This sock really does have a seam even though the seam is a lot more comfortable than regular sock seams.  The seam is created by linking together both sides of the sock to fuse together the toe of the sock.  The process is done very carefully to ensure that the resulting seam is as flat as possible.  But, the most seam-sensitive among us can still feel that pesky seam.  It’s not truly seamless.

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This is an example of a handlinked seam.  Notice you can still see the seam line on the toe.
HandLinkedSeams-Hand-2 Here is the handlinked seam turned inside out.  It is better than a traditional sock, but still has a seam line.

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Here is an example of a smooth seam.  It is very faint, but you can still make out the seam line.

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And this is what your toes would feel.  This is the inside of a sock with smooth seams.

Truly Seamless

To make a sock that is truly seamless you have to start at the toe.  Then there is nothing to sew or fuse together.  No seams!  SmartKnitKIDS seamless socks are knitted by starting at the toe and working up from there.  It’s just like a caterpillar knitting a cocoon.  No seam means no irritation.

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This is one of our SmartKnitKIDS seamless socks.  See how there is no irritating seam anywhere in the toe of the sock.

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This is the same sock turned inside out.  Again, it is easy to see that SmartKnitKIDS socks are truly seamless.
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The difference between the seam types is clear when side by side.

Pressing Line

So some parents tell us that their child can still feel a “seam” on our SmartKnitKIDS socks.  Are they feeling a seam on our seamless socks?  The answer is no, although they may think they’re feeling one.  Why?  Because of what we call the pressing line.  The pressing line is something that occurs in the “finishing” process of our socks.  After the socks are knitted, they are pressed to give them a finished look.  To some children, this line can feel like a seam and can be irritating.  But, it can be easily washed out.  It may take a few times through the wash, but a pressing line should diminish.

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This sock is also a SmartKnitKIDS sock, but see how there is a very faint line around the toe.  This sock has gone through the finishing process and has been pressed.

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Here is a close up of the pressing line.  As it sometimes resembles a seam, some people mistake it for a seam.

Cuff Only on Small and Medium

Okay, one more item for discussion.  Many of our customers have noticed that the Smalls and Mediums have a woven cuff, but the larger sizes do not.  Why is this?  The main reason for this is due to the very small size of these two smallest socks, they require a little more special care in making them resulting in the cuff.  The added bonus is that smaller children tend to have more trouble keeping their socks pulled up and the extra cuff helps with that.

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This is the size difference between a small and an x-large.  Notice how the small has a cuff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 Sensational Summer Sensory Activities – 2017 Edition!

Ah summer!  Here you are again and here we are trying to find fun activities to keep the kids engaged.  We pulled out our list of sensory summer activities for this blog, but decided that it would be fun to enhance them a little bit for even more fun sensory summer play.  So, we turned to Google and Pinterest for some expanded ideas.  Below are some of our favorites, as well as the originals, that are both fun and sensory-oriented.

Sand and Water Play

Nothing says summer like sand and water.  Grab some buckets and shovels and head to the beach for some fun and creative tactile input.  But, never fear if you don’t have a beach near your home.  You can recreate the beach with a sand and water table in your backyard.  They don’t take as much sand as a traditional sand box, and can be cleaned out easier so as to not invite an unsanitary environment (think cats, here).  You can also fill the sand and water table with other objects like uncooked rice, beans, noodles or even shaving cream.  At the end of the summer, if the table is cleaned out well, you can bring it inside and fill it with snow!

Alternative Idea

Here’s another option we picked up with a little google search.  Perhaps you need a taste-safe option for a kiddo that may like to sample his sand creations?  The blog A Little Pinch of Perfect has a great recipe for Taste-Safe Kinetic Sand that uses milk powder and vegetable oil.  Make up a little bit of this for your sand table or even use it throughout the winter.  Read the blog for more info and a recipe.

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Play Doh, Gak, Oobleck, Silly Putty

Each of these fun substances offers a different texture sensation to help kids develop normal tactile processing, but also to enhance their creativity and have fun!  You can purchase several of these substances or many of them can be made using recipes found online.  A simple set of cookie cutters, bowls and measuring cups will provide kids with hours of sensory input fun.

Fun Playdough “Ice-Cream Shop” Enhancement

This idea came from A Little Pinch of Perfect again.  Using a little bit of flour with frosting makes a fantastic substance that looks like ice cream, but is a fun and taste-safe sensory playdough.  Kids can play using ice cream cones, cupcake wrappers, sprinkles and candy bits for ice cream shop fun.  And if they decide to taste it, no sweat!  Read more and get the recipe!

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Sensory Scavenger Hunt

Create a scavenger hunt around the yard of different textured items for kids to find.  You can include things to find that are in the grass, mud, flowers and water to give kids a variety of textures.

Sensory Checklist

We love this checklist.  It came from the DoodleCraft blog and is a perfect list of things to find that target different tactile responses.

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Crazy Straws

It’s amazing how much fun kids can have with a straw, but this is such an easy activity.  Just buy a package of colorful and fun crazy straws and let the kids get to work.  They can use their breath to blow different objects around.  It’s also a great way to keep them sipping on water on those hot days!

Pinterest Possibilities

A favorite at our house is a mini boat race.  All you need to do is fill up a small pool with water. (In Scouts, we use rain gutters, but anything that will hold water will work.)  Then let the kids make lightweight boats out of paper or lightweight wood.  (Ours usually come from kits that we get through Cub Scouts, but you can check craft stores or someone handy can help the kids design one.  You can also use all sorts of things around the house to make boats like disposable plastic cups or slices of old pool noodles.  Plain old paper boats work well, too.)

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Water Balloon Fun

Have you ever been to a summer kid-friendly picnic that didn’t have someone pull out a bag of water balloons?  They’re pretty much a given for us.  A fun game for kids that has lasted the test of time is the water balloon toss.  Have two kids stand close together and toss the balloon back and forth trying not to drop it.  Gradually have them move apart and continue to toss the balloon.  Eventually, someone will drop the balloon and get splashed with water.  (Note: Some kids may scare at this at first.  Show them ahead of time what will happen to avoid tears.)

A Whole New Water Balloon World

Oh Pinterest!  Where were you when I was a kid!  Anyway, a quick glance at Pinterest unloads on the amazing creativity all with a little water balloon.  I can’t wait to try the Glow in the Dark Water Balloons, Water Balloon Art and Water Balloon Pinatas.

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Bubbles

Children love bubbles!  Bottles of bubbles are a cheap way to entertain the kids for hours.  Experiment with different sizes and shapes of bubble wands.  Bubble machines are a fun alternative, too.

Fun with Pinterest

Just like all the others, bubbles can also be enhanced by doing a little searching on Pinterest.  We love the idea of Geometric Bubbles for the older kids.  Giant Bubbles and Painting with Bubbles are both on our list of things to try this summer!

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The possibilities are limitless.  We think summer may need to last all year long!

 

Guest Blog: Top Five Distractions for Children in the Classroom

From Buzzies.

Parents and teachers know that it can be challenging to keep children focused and on task. Classrooms are full of distractions, especially for children with attention deficit disorders or autism spectrum disorders. It is important to understand why children are distracted so that we can create calm and focused learning spaces.

Here are the top five distractions for children in the classroom, according to Neuropsychologist Dr. Amy Serin:

1) internal distractions, internal thoughts, anxiety, etc.
2) sensory sensitivities, too much noise, light, temperature sensitivities, etc.
3) too much sitting still- kids need to move in order to stay focused. Sitting still for too long makes it hard
4) Sudden distractions- loud noises, other kids chatting, etc and
5) Teacher talking too long…kids attention spans are short and teaching in a way that exceeds these spans will mean distractibility because the methods aren’t developmentally appropriate.

Buzzies can help some children to focus by lessening reactivity to sensory distractions and by lowering stress associated with internal thoughts or distractions. Buzzies basic is a version of Buzzies that children can take anywhere and use in the classroom. Buzzies original and Buzzies basic act passively and in real time, they don’ t just buzz to remind a kid to pay attention. There is nothing like Buzzies! Fidget toys, reminders, teacher prompts, etc. all can be helpful but Buzzies work continuously and in real time to help reduce the stress response, which can lead to better focus in some children.

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5 Tips for Helping Teens and Adults with Autism Manage Stress

In Bugsley’s Blog, we talk a lot about issues faced by autistic children, aspergers and sensory processing disorder.  In regards to these conditions, there are a lot of things that we, as a community, have learned over the years, and there are a lot of things that we still don’t know.  But, one thing we know for sure is that children living with autism, aspergers and sensory processing disorder grow up to be adults with the same conditions.

Many of the issues that these children live with, they will continue to live with as they become adults and this can lead to added stress.  And just like anyone else, autistic people can have stress from many areas of everyday life.  An autistic person that is not handling stress well may have any of these key signs: anxiety, crying spells, depression, desperation, difficulty concentrating, feeling overwhelmed, hopelessness, lack of enjoyment, nervousness, sadness, thoughts of suicide, trouble sleeping or worry.  But, there are lots of ways to help people living with autism to cope and manage stress.  Here are several.

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from raisesmartkid.com

Help Them Engage in a Hobby – Hobbies help people to relax, recharge and are a good release of stress.  The possibilities for a rewarding hobby are as numerous as the stars.  Perhaps one may be interested in a creative hobby like music, painting, knitting or woodwork.  Reading is a good hobby.  Some like mysteries or poetry.  Maybe writing poetry, as well as reading.  Maybe a sport like soccer or running.  Do a little exploring to find out what you enjoy.

Let Them Make Home Decisions – Sometimes loss of control is a trigger of stress.  Returning some control, even small things, can help alleviate some stress.  Choosing what to eat for dinner, what to watch on TV, when to complete household chores and what to do on a Saturday afternoon may be things that will help give back some lost control.

Encourage Them to Be Open About Emotions – Holding back on one’s emotions may greatly contribute to stress.  Helping and encouraging talk about them can help manage some stress.

Stay Involved – Some autistic people are high functioning, while some are not.  As high-functioning autistics become teens and then adults, there is a tendency to step back and let them take the reins.  And this is okay, but stay involved in their lives.  Keep abreast of their progress in high school and college.  Engage in conversation about their interests and other aspects of their lives.  The interest and encouragement can help lower stress.

Offer Support – Finally, offer plenty of understanding, support and reassurance to help them work through their stresses.

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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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.