Soon after my son was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder, we lost our health insurance. I was blessed to keep in contact with his Occupational Therapist who gave us some guidance as to what to buy for the best sensory processing therapy at home.
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Loopy has vestibular issues (related to his inner ear) which cause him to have a lot of gravitational insecurity. He seeks out strong touch and heavy work (the proprioceptive sense) to help his body “realize” where it is in space.
Please note: If you suspect your child has sensory processing disorder, you need to get them evaluated by a professional. Now that we have health insurance again, we are going back to the expertise of the O.T. But of course we still get Loopy as much sensory input at home as possible.
Here are some of our favorite purchases that we’ve made over the past year.
Swings are great for the vestibular (inner ear) sense. Rocking back and forth is relaxing while spinning is invigorating. Loopy used to be quite fearful of the spinning. But with a lot of patience and distraction, he is now learning to handle that input and be comfortable with it. We like to sing, or read stories while swinging. I also put my 14 month old in Loopy’s lap. They giggle like crazy while Loopy enjoys the reassuring pressure (proprioceptive sense) of his best bud.
We just purchased a trampoline from a garage sale. It’s pretty much the holy grail of sensory toys for a lot of kids. Loopy is beyond excited to jump on this multiple times a day. I swear, “no more monkey’s jumping on the bed” was inspired by Loopy. It’s the perfect combination of vestibular and proprioceptive input because he’s flying through the air (vestibular) and having his joints compressed (proprioceptive).
Stability Ball (65cm)
We love the stability ball! So many different things can be done with this one tool! I wrote about six of those ways here.
Weighted Compression VestLoopy calls this his hug shirt. He doesn’t wear it constantly, not even every day. But when I suspect a day will be extra difficult, we put this on. It gives Loopy great proprioceptive input. He can feel secure in his own body as it’s squeezed and weighed down.
Chewy Necklace with Break-Away Clasp
One of the giveaways that Loopy’s issues were beyond just the typical terrible twos, was that he started chewing on everything again at 2 1/2 years old. These chewies are a more socially acceptable way of getting that jaw doing some heavy work without ruining your little one’s teeth. There’s a bunch on the market, Loopy’s in camo colored and has bumps and ridges that he likes to fiddle with.
Magnetic Pocket Chart Squares
This is our newest purchase. I plan a writing a whole blog post about how we use this in the future. Suffice it to say, I’m a free spirit that recoils at the idea of a schedule. But I’ve been told over and over that kids with SPD especially need routine and predictability. Using these amazing printable daily schedule cards from the impressive blog “And Next Comes L“, we found a happy medium. I love that they’re visual, there are no time constraints, and I can switch the activities around from day to day. The square charts are great because they can be rearranged and they have a magnetic as well as Velcro backing!
Well, those are just a couple of the tools we have purchased to help our son get the sensory input he needs at home. Our wish list is extensive, but we’re beyond thankful for what we have. We’ve seen so much improvement in his ability to handle the world around him.
Looking for a way to explain Sensory Processing Disorder to your Child’s Care Givers. Check out the details of this printable brochure!
Boasting in Weakness: I’m not one of those rock star moms of a kid with special needs. I don’t always act selflessly. I don’t ooze patience. I have the occasional pity party. I get annoyed with quirks that really aren’t Loopy’s fault.
I’ve seen a lot of encouragement on the internet lately that basically says to a mom “You Are Enough”.
Well, I don’t find that encouraging.
If I have to somehow summon the strength to be a supermom, my family is screwed. I am here to tell you, I’m broken and in need of repair. I need a Rescuer. No band-aid is going to fix the mess that I am.
I don’t just make mistakes. I do evil.
But Hallelujah, Jesus is my righteousness! He is more than enough! He is at work within me!
That folks, is grace.
Why do I BOAST about my weakness?
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Don’t forget the best FREE sensory tool – your son! (which from the looks of your blog you certainly have not – you have some great child focused activities) but there are many activities that require little or no equipment that he can carry out to support his sensory needs. Ask your OT for suggestions that he can independently carry out that require items from around your house (i.e. couch cushions, bed sheet, grocery bags, etc) or simple bodyweight exercises that you squeeze in during the day. Not only is it free, it can help to empower children to take control of their sensory needs without needing special equipment.
You’re absolutely right! The only way we could ever get all the input we need throughout the day is to use everyday items in everyday ways, just with purpose! I’m hoping to do a post about that in the future. It’s just harder to get pictures of it because it just happens, ya know? Thanks so much for adding to our community! You have great insight!
Julie – have you gone to a chiropractor who specializes in pediatrics? I work closely with one who works with kiddos who have sensory processing issues and it’s miraculous what happens being under care! Most can work with you without having insurance.
Not since he was young (he was a super fussy baby). I’ll look into it! Thanks for the suggestion!
Thank you for this community! I just found you today on Pinterest. It was great timing because I’ve been on the verge of tears all day. The way you describe your son, describes my son to a T!
So sorry to hear of your struggles Kali. Hope you find this site useful! Feel free to email me with any questions, or like the facebook page where I share other bloggers posts on SPD as well.
Natasha@anxious Toddlers says
These are great tools to help a child with sensory issues! I also like the comment about utilizing what you have around the house.
Thanks for your honesty and openness about the realities of being a high needs mum. My little guy is a crash and bash sensory seeker and I am truly surprised that my head didn’t explode years ago. I call myself mumzilla when I’m not coping with all the chaos. I think humour is the only thing that keeps me going. I admire your ability to home school. All the best for you and your family.
Thanks for writing Lisa! Sounds like our boys would be two peas in a pod! If you’re ever looking for a supportive community of sensory parents, I have a private facebook group you might enjoy! https://www.facebook.com/groups/442931342556658/