Understanding your child’s sensory profile is crucial for creating supportive environments. Here are some tips you can try to assist with sensory challenges:

Safe Space:

Try creating a dedicated quiet and happy space for your child. Fill the space with soft lighting, calming music, a weighted blanket or noise-canceling headphones. This can be their retreat when feeling overwhelmed or overstimulated.

Routine & Visual Aids:

Children with sensory challenges often thrive on routine. Establishing consistent routines for daily activities can provide your child with a sense of security. For example, every day at 6 pm it’s bath time. And before bed, at 7.30 pm you read a book. Children with sensory processing challenges respond better to visual schedules and social stories. Incorporating these can help your child understand what to expect in different situations and how to navigate them successfully.

Understand & Observe:

Observe and see if or when your child becomes overstimulated, withdrawn, anxious, or frustrated. Their body language often indicates how they feel. It’s important to acknowledge that their sensory experiences are real and validate their discomfort. This fosters trust and helps them feel understood.

Additionally, try tracking your child’s behaviour by setting up a journal or notepad that is easily accessible, where you can record their reactions to different stimuli. This will help you to identify the behaviour and possible triggers to avoid in the future. Make a note of the behaviour observed, and what happened directly before the behaviour.  Also, take note of what brings comfort and calm to your child.

For example, seemingly unprovoked, your child bit you. Upon reflection, you noticed that directly before this you used the hairdryer. This is the trigger. Your child may have felt overstimulated by the loud noise, so in future, you may want to warn your child you will be using the hair dryer or use it when they are in a different room.

Self-Regulation Strategies:

Providing your child with sensory input throughout the day will help to regulate their nervous system. This could be deep pressure massages, chewy toys, or playing with textures such as playdough or slime. Other self-regulation activities can include deep breathing, quiet time, jumping on a trampoline or swinging.

Empower your child by giving them choices. Letting them choose between an apple or banana for a snack or ask them to choose the activity during playtime. This will provide a sense of control.

Additional Resources:

Educate yourself about Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)and how it can manifest in different children. It is essential to understand your child’s specific sensory needs. Additionally, consider consulting with your child’s school, or an occupational therapist who specialises in sensory processing challenges for tailored strategies and activities.

By having a good understanding of your child’s sensory profile, and implementing some of our tips, you can provide a safe space for them at home. Remember that every person’s sensory profile is different – there is no “one size fits all” approach. However, with some patience and observation, you can find what works for your child. Small changes can have a big impact.

Bailey Hogan