It has been busy. there have been many many changes. Ryan has flourished in our new neighborhood, made friends, adjusted to regular public school after finishing 2 years of homeschool, and become more secure, more coordinated and more content.
This year has brought many many changes to our household, and change for an SPD kid is hard. Change for anyone is hard. But why is it so hard to handle for SPD children?
First an SPD child is always right on the verge of losing control. The more assured they are that routine and structure will be maintained, the more in control they remain. Life simply doesn't work that way, no matter how a parent tries to maintain the status quo...there will be times when things just go crazy, and change happens.
Guiding your child through the maze of change is something I would like to address. As parents there are many things you can do to enable your child to maintain his or her control, even when the things around them are moving fast.
So how did Ryan do it? how to adjust in changing times?
1. I make sure he has plenty of good nutrition and sleep. Sleep, so important for all children, is even more so for SPD kids. Get a good blackout curtain, run a fan in their room, make sure your house is cool and their pajamas are comfortable..no scratchy labels, etc. invest in a sound machine and let them choose their sound they like to sleep to. Bedtime should be around 8 p.m. each night..summertime a bit later IF they can sleep a bit in the a.m.
nutrition also important. No soda. Sugar only at dessert after a meal, then limited. Limit also artificial dyes and nitrites. Both are stimulants and not beneficial. Lots of fruit if they like that, lean meats, veggies if you can and whole grains. Peanut butter is a good thing!
2. Plenty of down time. Time to be a kid. Time to be outside. Time without other children when they do not have to share their toys and time. This is important and hard for families with multiple children...but it is a must for your SPD kid. This will allow them security and harmony.
3. Exercise. Pushing is calming. lifting heavy things is calming. Jumping is stimulating. Swinging promotes language and learning. Hanging from a jungle gym gives stimulation to joints and can make or break an afternoon. Invest in an indoor swing that you can mount in a doorway. Play in the rain.
4. brushing. I will address brushing and joint compressions in the next blog.
5. Time to adjust. if things will be changing, give them a list if they are old enough. Talk many times about what to expect. For instance...we are going to Grandma's on the airplane. The child needs to have a schedule, what he or she might need to take, what to expect in the airport and in security, what he or she will do on the airplane and what food you might be eating. the more he knows the better he will be when the actual event occurs.
6. Give a time frame and don't expect instant obedience to change play or to leave from playing. Time, such as "in 15 minutes you need to have your shoes on and we will be going" gives them a moment to collect themselves instead of an instant "get your shoes we are going.' It can be the difference between a great evening and several hours of temper tantrums.
All of the sensory diet suggestions, such as heavy pressure, water, brushing and of course, therapy, can improve a childs' adaptation to change.