Coping with Sensory Issues
Proclivities, most kids have them, but when you’re dealing with a child who has sensory processing issues it can be ten times magnified. How you deal with your child’s proclivities will determine how it affects their world. Kids who have sensory processing issues are over-sensitive to many things they can’t control.
For these children sensory issues are coping mechanisms. For parents it’s a daily nightmare because you don’t know what your child will do from day to day. Dealing and coping needs to be done with delicate diplomacy to stave off meltdowns.
A lot of kids with sensory issues don’t liked to be touched either by certain materials or people. Some don’t like other objects to touch them. Some don’t like things to touch either. Depending on your child, you will have to deal with one or all of the no touching issues.
• If your child doesn’t like to be touched by certain fabrics you will have to cope with this sensory issue with substitutions. Kids with sensory issues may not like itchy material or tags touching their skin. Whatever the case, you must make allowances. Try buying flannel or cotton. A lot of autistic children like the feel of soft material. Cut out tags or go tagless. Whatever it takes to stop your child from having a meltdown is well worth the extra effort.
• Don’t touch me” are familiar words to a parent of a child with sensory issues. They don’t liked to be hugged or cuddled. This is very disheartening for a parent. Parent’s want to touch, but when your child has touching issues even a simple hug can turn violent. This sensory issue has to be handled delicately. You can sense when your child wants to be touched. Never push your child into hugging or cuddling. Meltdowns can be avoided if you let them approach you.
• Bath time can become a sensory overload for your child. Soap and water are like monsters under the bed. Some kids are afraid of soap and hot water. Sensory sensitive kids need to be bathed, but this can become a constant struggle if you can’t get your child in the tub. There are ways around the bath time “monsters”. With a lot of patience and ingenuity you’ll be able to get past this sensory issue. Kids don’t need hot water to get clean. Lukewarm or even a small plastic pool filled with cool water will work. As for the fear of soap, use a non-tear liquid or foam soap. Kids love foam and bubbles. Make bath time fear free and fun.
• Because kids with sensory issues don’t like things to touch teaching table manners may be pointless. Some kids don’t like their food to touch. This can be solved with a simple plastic divided plate. They may not want to use utensils. That’s okay, finger food work great. Your child doesn’t have to have perfect table manners. If you want to avoid meltdowns, adjust and avoid.
• Some kids with sensory issues refuse to do things for themselves. This can become a huge problem. From dressing themselves to going to the bathroom, autistic kids will need your help. These issues are usually reserved for preschoolers, but grade-schoolers can also have these issues. It’s how you as a parent handle the issue.
• By the time most kids are six they can dress themselves. However, if your child has sensory issues this may be a difficult challenge. It’s frustrating and you want to scream. Instead of becoming impatient or frustrated, just breath. It may take several years for your child to learn how to dress themselves, but once they do it’s a major victory. Learn to celebrate every small milestone.
• Your child may still not be able to fully function in the bathroom. You may still have to wipe them or change their underwear several times daily.
Whatever your child’s sensory issues are, also remember patience is the key in coping and dealing on a day to day basis.