5 Tips for Parenting a Child with Sensory Processing Needs

A big thank you to our partners Total Education Solutions for these parenting tips! The following information was written by By Jennifer Wolverton, OTR/L, Lead Occupational Therapist at TES Columbus Clinic

You adore your sensitive, active or “spirited” child, but his sensory needs pose unique challenges. Here are five tips from an occupational therapist for creating a supportive environment at home for a child with Sensory Processing Disorder.

Explore Your Own Sensory Needs

Are you overwhelmed in crowded places or bothered by background noise from fans or outdoor construction. Do you enjoy perfume, or does the smell give you a headache? Complete a sensory questionnaire or consider your own sensory cravings and sensitivities. Doing this builds empathy for your child’s struggles and creates a point of connection in your relationship. It also builds your skills as a sensory detective, which will help you anticipate your child’s needs.

Follow a Routine

Children with Sensory Processing Disorder often find comfort in routines, and benefit from the use of a visual schedule that they can easily understand. Putting one together can be as simple as gathering pictures of your child completing routine activities and putting them in order for the day or week. Your child’s speech or occupational therapist can assist you in designing a visual schedule that caters to your child’s specific needs and strengths.

Develop a Sensory Diet

Once you understand what kinds of sensory experiences your child dislikes or craves in order to self-regulate, you can incorporate those sensory activities into your daily routine. Push- ups and jumping jacks before school, and snuggles and a weighted blanket for calming at night are a few examples of sensory diet activities that might be helpful for a child with sensory processing issues. Be sure to follow your child’s lead, and incorporate sensory activities based on his preferences. Your child’s occupational therapist can help you develop a sensory diet that matches your child’s unique sensory needs.

Discipline with Care

Do not punish sensory-based meltdowns. Instead, avoid them by following consistent routines, honoring your child’s sensory needs, and consistently enforcing rules and consequences. Learn to discern the difference between a tantrum and a meltdown caused by sensory overload, and offer support to help your child calm himself before giving consequences.

Reach Out

Establish connections with other parents who are raising a child with sensory challenges. Join a support group in your community, online or find an expert to discuss your concerns with like a professional at Total Education Solutions. You are not alone. Connecting with others who are walking a similar path or have the proper training will be able to provide encouragement and strength, and can serve as a good resource when searching for solutions.

Follow these TES parenting tips to live a “sensational’ life!

Total Education Solutions is excited to announce the opening of our new Columbus Clinic, located at 1930 Crown Park Ct, Suite 100, Columbus, OH 43235. There services include speech-language therapy, occupational and physical therapy, applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy, clinical psychology, child and family counseling, and Orton Gillingham Reading Intervention for children and young adults from birth to age 21.

TES was first established in the Ohio region in 2007, and has grown immensely under the leadership of Regional Director, Tawnia Novak. Since then, TES has served communities all over the state of Ohio, including Akron, Cleveland, Dayton, Cincinnati, and Columbus. The company’s first Ohio-based clinic opened in Fairlawn in 2011, and has grown to include TES Academy, which offers full-day academic curriculum and therapeutic intervention to students with exceptional needs. It continues to thrive as a respected authority in the special needs community.

Total Education Solution is open and accepting new clients now! If you’re interested, please call us at (877) TES-IDEA, or visit our website for more information at www.tesidea.com.