Happy New Year! May you have a 2018 filled with wonder and progress. Thought I'd share one of my favorite resources with you all today- the great website: Sensory Smarts.com
I first encountered sensory challenges when my eldest Josie was an infant (she has Down syndrome and autism). I knew something was "off" when we had to leave places early due to distress. Windshield wipers and rain on a windshield induced such distress that my husband I made different plans when we could if it was pouring. Clothing with tags or buckles were not tolerated and there were great differences in our four month old baby after she had been bounced on a yoga ball for ten minutes- it was quite calming for her (rather then disorienting for me if I had been bouncing so long as an adult). Ahhhhh- sensory experiences.
Sensory integration is a key component to our lives that we often do not discuss. How we react to textures, noises, and gravitational forces/movement are quite profound.
Next time you encounter challenges with your own day or your child's day, ponder if there might be some sensory components worth addressing.
The website above (books available too) has some great checklists and information on types of sensory integration challenges. You can also go to an occupational therapist to have an evaluation for sensory integration done too (many pages of formal checklists to answer too as part of the evaluation so be prepared!).
There are many things that can be adapted and tweaked, tools and items to help.
Looking for a quick fix while you plan longer solutions: NATURE.
The sounds of a creek, the smells of the forest, walking or wheeling on trails- these are all natural sensory system balancing. While some folks are challenged in nature, many folks find the peace of a forest a wonderful treatment for sensory stress. Another helpful activity is swimming. While many find an indoor pool too loud, an outdoor pool or lake can be wonderfully soothing for tactile (skin), deep pressure inputting and balancing for the overall body and mind system (proprioceptive and vestibular).
Yoga also addresses sensory integration with gusto and can be customized to each individual's needs.
Try not to overwhelm yourself at first, but try to address one or two things and build from there. Create (or have a professional) help you create a sensory diet that offers custom tasks and tools to address individual sensory needs.
You can do this!