Mom thoughts

Sensory Processing Disorder – what worked for us.

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Here is our 3 boys playing monopoly. Jr is in red shirt. (2010 Sidney house)

My youngest son has sensory processing disorder and we have tried multiple therapy ideas with him in the past 16 years. The best therapy we found was a swing shaped like a laundry bag with 2 open sides. We hooked it up in our basement at the Sidney house. It was very helpful when he was over stimulated. He’d swing until he was calm. We also used a bumpy seat cushion, a ball seat with legs and sand paper. At school he had gum to chew to keep him from being fidgety. I also got erasers you can disassemble and put back together. They didn’t last long he got bored and was throwing them.

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Looking through pictures I think he’s always wearing blue.

We have learned to pick your battles. The clinking of metal silverware really bothers him. So we go to restaurants that use plastic silverware one where kitchen is further away from seating area. For special occasions we can’t avoid those restaurants. We would tell him a few days in advance and talk again day of meal. With positive reinforcement we have avoided major meltdowns. Advance preparation is the key. No surprises for him. I can only remember one instance that I was not able to avoid a meltdown. I took him to church and they had really loud music. I tried distracting him with paper and crayons. It did not work. He curled up in a ball and hid under the pew. We excuse ourselves and left earlier. Another time before he was 5 the fire alarm went off at the dentist office. Loud screeching noises and flashing lights. My poor child. Fast as a mouse he ran to a corner away from people. He sat down pulled up his knees and covered his ears. It was upsetting. He pretty much was in the fetal position. To this day he hates the dentist. We even changed offices 😦

Products we have found to help during his growing up have been limited. Here is a link to online store where we found awesome products for sensory issues. https://www.southpaw.com We got a swing thru them and it was like night and day. It really helped Brian Jr a lot. Other items we bought from them was Feetballs pictured here. He used it at home when he was using the computer. He could wiggle all he wanted and it never tipped like a regular chair would. We also used a Fitball seating disc. I sent to school so he could use there. It helped him keep attention longer. Tri-grip pencils really helped also. Order a catalog they have tons of items for sensory issues. 

feet balls

I’ve been doing some research online to see what has helped other parents. People are very supportive nowadays. When jr was first diagnosed we got a lot of crap. People didn’t understand that he was not choosing to act this way. I kept getting told ways to discipline him the old fashioned way. I chose not to do those ways. Why discipline a child for something he couldn’t control ? That’s like punishing him for having brown hair. Not going to happen by me.

Here are some remarks from my Facebook friend Denise on what has helped for her son. He was diagnosed with Aspergers. She says “They had my son listen to 20 minutes of classical music at school before he was sent to class. It seemed to calm him. He also had three safe places at school. If he ever felt overwhelmed, he was allowed to get up and just walk out and go straight to one of his safe places without asking. This kept him calm. He got to pick his 3 places. One of them was the vice principal’s office. That’s the one he used the most. So they had a little chair over in the corner. And he could just walk in and sit there without anyone saying anything to him. So safe places work. Another good therapy is actual therapy. My son was on Medicaid. So it may depend on the insurance. But Medicaid actually sends therapist around to schools. My son’s therapist would pull him from one of his less important classes (like art or music or P.E.) once a week to talk to him. It was free of charge to me. Sometimes these therapists can offer suggestions on exercises they can do to concentrate more or to stabilize their moods. Another thing that helps is rewards for good behavior. For instance at my son’s school, they purchased a PlayStation for him. And if he was able to go so many hours without having an episode, he was allowed so many minutes on the PlayStation. They had it set up in one of the rooms not used for teaching. Also my school provided my son an adult shadow to sit with him in class. She couldn’t help him with his work. But she was there to kind of guide him. For instance if he would space out, she’d tell him to take out his book and pencil. Stuff like that. They also allowed him to go only half a day once he got into high school. So he would have the special needs bus bring him home at lunch. Because high school can be overwhelming for a regular teen, can you imagine how overwhelming it is for a child with aspergers? Well he’s an adult now. Out in the world. If it wasn’t for his amazing teachers/school staff coming up with all of these great ideas during his IEP meetings, it would’ve been hard. He was sent four hours away when he was 7 to the medical university in Charleston. Because for several years before that, the doctors couldn’t get his diagnosis right. Once he was hospitalized for a week, his aspergers was brought to light and life got easier. There was no more uncertainty. When he turned 18, I finally put in for him to get SSI pay. He was approved in two months. Because of the referral letters submitted from the doctors, therapist and a lady at our local department of disability and special needs center. Everyone has always been so supportive.”

This past June Brian graduated from high school with a regents degree. I remember a man saying “Every kid that he’s seen go into the Boces program ended up in jail by their 18th birthday.” He was CSE chairperson in Sidney and this was over 10 years ago.  Needless to say he was fired. It was a conference call and Jr’s therapist heard it. Guy was a horrible person. He never should have been in a position of authority for special needs kids. So for all the parents out their with a special needs kid “NEVER give up. You can prove negative remarks wrong and do miracles for your kids.” We never gave up fighting and never will. God gave us Brian Jr as a gift. It has been amazing to see how far he has come. he even got his driving permit this week. He was laughing because other teens at DMV took almost 1/2 to do test. It’s 20 questions – 30 minutes really? Makes you wonder type of people we have out there driving on our roads. Jr will climb mountains and fight dragons for the rest of his life. Mom and dad will be right besides him fighting with him. Take 30 minutes out of your week and have a 1 on 1 conversation with a special needs child. You will be surprised how awesome they really are if you take the time with them. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment. We are a community raising these angels and need to support each other. Join me in this fight it’s so worth it.

Till next time hug your hubby really tight. Mine is my first line of defense in this crazy world. Stick tight to those that support you and those that don’t they can “Kiss my britches” hugs to all. Have a great week.

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His diploma arrived from school and dad was proud to present it to him.

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