This month, guest blogger Amy Stout addresses a concern common to parents of kids with autism and other behavioral special needs: childhood meltdowns. Her insights are so meaty, I’ve broken them into a four part series. In today’s post, Amy defines sensory issues and says that all of us deal sensory issues. Read on to learn more!
Childhood Meltdowns: Triggers and Coping Strategies,
The phrase “sensory issue” is most often connected with those who experience special needs. However, in my humble opinion, I believe that EVERYONE experiences sensory issues in some form or another.
We All Have Sensory Issues
For some, the sensory issue is so mild that it would be classified as an irritant or more commonly referred to as a “pet peeve.” For others, they are so severe and so disruptive to their quality of life, that the sensory issue is labeled as a “disorder.” Wherever you or your loved one land on the sensory spectrum, the fact remains that senses affect everyone.
What Are Sensory Issues?
What am I referring to when I say sensory issue? Sensory issues encompass any trigger that over stimulates or under stimulates an individual’s senses.
Rather than give you an education about the senses and sensory issues (which would be an entire article in itself), I’d love to refer you to one of the best and easiest reads on the subject: The Out of Sync Child Has Fun by Carol Kranowitz. This book highlights each sense and then gives you strategies: games, toys, recipes, and other ideas for helping anyone whose sensory issues are causing disruption to their life.
Sensory Issues and Meltdowns
This series will focus on meltdowns because I believe that meltdowns and sensory issues travel hand-in-hand. I do not claim to be a medical professional (and, believe me, I’m NOT- my medical experience is limited to the game Operation), but I was once a director of a childcare center and an early childhood teacher, I majored in elementary education for a time, and I am a mom of a precious little girl who experiences special needs (specifically autism). I also am an expert people watcher, observer of human conduct and my husband says I have an amazing sixth sense (also known as women’s intuition – and, unfortunately for my sweet hubby, I have a track record of being right).
In my experience, the information in the remaining posts in this series are common triggers of meltdowns and strategies that help bring peace and calm back into your or your loved one’s life.
Sensory Issues are Real
I also want to stress that when your loved one is having this type of a meltdown, they are not being difficult or naughty. They are merely having a physical or emotional reaction to the sensory stimuli that their unique body cannot handle. They are not trying to make life more difficult for you. They don’t WANT to be alienated from their family or social group. They are not being devious or manipulative. This is a VERY REAL and legitimate concern for those who experience it as well as for those who care about and for them. This is why it is so important to know and be able to recognize the triggers so that you can identify and help reduce the stress and discomfort associated with the situation.
This series will be ideal to share with grandparents, extended family members, friends, Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) groups, teachers, nursery workers, respite providers and any other person on your loved one’s care team.
The Rest of Series;
Here’s a sneak peek at what Amy will cover in the remaining posts in the series:
- Wednesday, September 7: Evaluating the Physical & Emotional Environment
- Thursday, September 8: Evaluating the External Environment, Your Child, Your Schedule & the Temperature
- Friday, September 9: Other Strategies in a Variety of Situations
Each post is filled with practical tips about how to recognize triggers and help kids cope with them. So spread the word so other parents living with sensory sensitive kids can help them avoid meltdowns. And encourage them to visit Amy’s site at http://histreasuredprincess.blogspot.com.
See you tomorrow,