Dinner time can often turn into dinner nightmare for children with sensory disorders. Many times multiple food textures, intense smells, dog barking, people moving around, being forced to be quiet, and being forced to sit still can send sensory seekers to a sensory dead end. At this point they will do anything within their power to receive the input they are seeking. This often causes disturbing behavior such as intense fidgeting, verbal outbursts, fight or flight reactions, or even a full blow meltdown at the table. In order to improve this experience parents, teachers, or therapists must dissect the entire situation piece by piece as there is generally no one shot fix it solution or technique. Even though concerning these behaviors are actually quite normal for children on the spectrum or with other developmental delays. As caretakers we should cautiously observe the behavior and take note of each individual display. Below we have listed some behavior traits and solutions that may possibly assist the child with his or her anxiety:
- Constant Fidgeting - Introduce the child to a hand fidget product such as the Sensory University Ultimate fidget, or Sensory University Sensory Stixx and allow its use during dinner.
- Difficulty with food texture - Many children have huge difficulty with the constantly changing textures of food. An example of this would be going from a bite of mashed potatoes to perhaps something crunchy like bread. Due to its alternating textures the Sensory University Chew Stixx product line often increases the users tolerance of the forever changing textures of food. Allowing the child to chew on this products 4 different textures on average of 60 minutes before dinner time has been proven effective for years.
- Staying Seated - The use of weighted products such as lap pads, animals, or balls along with the Sensory University SOS seat pad has been proven to dramatically improve sitting time in children prone to constant movement.
Oh no it's midnight again and your child cant sleep. For many parents this is just a way of life. Sensory University would like to break this behavior down for you and perhaps get you back on your way to peaceful sleep. Some children can go to bed in the middle of a hurricane while others find it extremely difficult to relax in any situation. This lack of sleep can cause numerous health, social, and educational problems and needs to be dealt with by using a strategy specifically designed for your child. The first things we recommend are no food at least 2 hours prior to bed time, and that any devices be taken away at least 1 hour prior to the time you actually want your child to be asleep. While leaving a TV on or allowing them to watch or listen to a device may seem like a good way to lull them into sleep, it becomes habit forming and will eventually create a negative response. If the issue is the child being afraid of the dark then an extremely subtle back, blue or green light may provide just the right amount of comfort without any further measures. For this we recommend our calming black light system or our Sensory Star system. We do offer these in a combo pack for additional savings. If looking a little deeper proves that there are more underlying issues then a more aggressive sensory approach is recommended. If you notice that your child has a tendency to fidget often or have a problem staying in one place for even the shortest periods of time during the day this could be a result of sensory integration disorder. You will learn more about this in the school time section however often times lack of a grounding sensation can carry over into the night. Even though we all wish that grounding our children would solve all of their problems we are not referencing that type of being grounded. We have all had the feeling in the middle of the night that we were falling or floating. For an adult this may be intriguing or even fun however for a child this can be terrifying. Imagine if you are lying in the bed and feel like your are floating or falling while wide awake and this feeling occurs every night. The anxiety of this feeling starts to build as soon as the child begins night time activities such as putting on pajamas, brushing teeth, taking a bath, etc. In some severe cases this can cause extreme anxiety or a full blown meltdown. We recommend the addition of our egg crate mattress topper combined with the use of one of our weighted blankets or weighted animals. This type of extra input increases spatial awareness which will provide sensory input to both sides of the child's body. The end result is giving them the feeling of being grounded in place that they are so desperately seeking.
Many children with sensory issues present with the necessity to grind their teeth or bite things. We have seen children bite anything from their shirt collars and fingers to their fathers steel tools. Regardless of the severity it will inevitably cause some form of damage. Sensory University designed its flagship product line Chew Stixx ® to assist with this behavior. Our company has developed a patented advance biting technology in which combines multiple textures to not only hold the users attention but to assist with feeding sensitivity when dealing with the ever changing textures of food. Please be sure to read product descriptions in order to find the Chew Stixx ® line specifically suited for your child' needs and age.
Travel time in a automobile or plane is often extremely challenging and even dangerous in severe cases. Always pack a plentiful supply of oral products such as Sensory University Chew Stixx for children who are prone to chewing. The use of weighted animals on long trips is often the most effective. The child forms a bond with this animal that lasts through the entire trip and then years down the road. We recommend a new animal be introduced at the beginning of the trip so that the child is intrigued by it and is more likely to "get to know" their new buddy. The animal can then be used for bed time during the trip to sooth the child to sleep in what may be strange surroundings. The new friend then goes for a ride back home and they become life long pals. Bailey the weighted bulldog is by far the most popular. A strong second is Sam the sensory bear.
Confidence / Social Settings
Many times children exhibit shyness or unengaged behavior. This is generally caused from social anxiety or lack of confidence. This behavior often presents in social settings such as schools, churches, birthday parties, or other events where there may be strangers involved. The last thing as parents we want to hear from an educator or other caretaker is that your child needs counselling to address behavioral issues. We have partnered with several publishers of both books and fun family games designed to improve your child's confidence and hopefully lessen anxiety when exposed to strangers or peers. Our two top picks for games would be the Talking Feeling and Doing Game, or Stop Think and Relax. We also offer over 100 titles in our Sensory University Library many of which address social and emotional issues.
ADHD is one of the most common conditions in childhood. It impacts how kids function in school and in everyday life. Suspecting or hearing that your child has ADHD (also known as ADD) can raise many questions, even basic questions like “what is ADHD?” You may wonder about symptoms and how to help your child. Some extremely common symptoms of this disorder are problems with flexible thinking, paying attention for even short periods of time, self regulation, managing behavior or emotions, being able to regulate memory while solving a problem or equation, and the overall lack of the ability to concentrate. For some children and adults this problem becomes severe, but for others it can be treated with something to simple as a hand fidget. Our top selections for this would be our Ultimate Fidget® Rings, Sensory Stixx, or for school our Desk Buddy ® sensory ruler and Fidgipod. For home we offer a wide variety of family fun games in which promote self regulation as well as build concentrations skills. Please also check our library which offers many titles concerning ADHD.
Divorce statistics in this country are on the rise each year. In 2017 it was stated that over 50 percent of all marriages will fail. Where does this leave our children? Often times children from divorced homes suffer mathematically, their overall behavior worsens, emotions run wild especially in females, and their overall quality of life is lessened. Male children generally bottle their feelings inside until its too late and they explode and Female children generally are more expressive causing them to have breakdowns in public which in return negatively effects social acceptance. PARENTS IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE THIS WAY! Even if we don't get along, it doesn't have to be nasty for the kids. It is important for the children to share equal time with their parents. During this time parents should refrain from any negative comments concerning the ex spouse, and should always encourage the children to be open and honest about their feelings or problems. Most importantly make them feel loved. Any of our family centered games are a great way to stay involved and get a better grasp on what your child is feeling. We also offer several Guidance Group programs such as the You Can Learn To Live Divorce series, and the Divorced Kids Club.