Hello, I'm a mom of a sensory kid as well. Circle time can be challenging but our preschool really worked hard to make it a success. Is your son on the seeker side or the avoider side? Does he not want to sit or lay down--------- kids seem to do both. Mine is a sensory seeker . . . so he was constant motion and disruptive. (he was/is pretty good at home but school was difficult). At the age of 3.5 to 4--------- things that helped with circle time were: before circle time, some "heavy work". Have him and another student do a leap frog jump down the hall, or have him do a job and move some chairs or carry some books to the office, have the teacher do an activity with the whole class----- get next to the wall and play "push over" and everyone (and especially your son) pushes against the wall. So, some of that heavy work is good. If circle time is first thing when he arrives---- then it is up to you to do it before he gets there. Do some animal walks before you leave the house---- crab, bear, snake or frog are all good. Jump on a mini trampoline or mattress on the floor, etc. Carrry a bag of books for you from one room to another. And on the drive there---- give him a piece of gum to chew (I swear by this).
So, circle time is starting----- give your son some choices. Does he want to sit on his spot on the floor or would he rather pull up a chair outside the circle? Does he want to sit right next to you while you read? Or would he like to sit on Mrs. X's (the assistent teachers) lap? So he feels like he is having some control over the situation.
Having a peace spot or calm down spot is great. If he starts to get upset, tell him "you look upset, would you like to go to the peace spot for a moment?" This could be a bean bag chair in a corner, a pop tent, something like that. Make it available to everyone but your child will use it the most. That way he will not feel cornered when upset and go somewhere to calm himself. Enclosed is good and is done with the bean bag or tent. My kids preschool has drums in it with little doors. It is funny---- but it really helped to have a designated spot to go to.
I posted a few down on "chewing shirt) with lots of sensory ideas too. Feel free to contact me any time. My son is now 6 and doing really well. No issues in kindergarten at all. We keep his sensory system maintained with his "diet" of activities. good luck.
Thank you so much! When I volunteer in his school he seems to need some kind of sensory input like rolling around, standing up and sitting down out of his space. He is a very in your face kind of a kid which I love but is not so great when he is in school and trying to hug or sit right next the child next to him.I know the teachers are trying to be patient with him but im not really sure what will help. He is in a preschool that I pay for right now but he will start regular preschool in september because of the way his birthday falls and im afraid of how that will go. I dont want him to be looked at badly that breaks my heart to even think of that. Its not as if he is trying to jump around or fidget so much but he can't help it. He is not aware of his own space and its a distraction for the teachers and the other students. Please help!!!!
Forgot to ask if you can recommend any special diet that would benefit him as well? I think he is looking for deep pressure because he throws himself around alot pretending to play football lol and what I think should hurt him because of the way he falls doesnt he seems to like it. Please help thanks again!
Yes, sounds like your guy is like mine . . . mine has space awareness issues and loves pressure. I am so glad you are working on these things . . .it will benefit him so much. As he gets older and even by next year---- you will find his behavior bothers not only the teachers but the other kids. That was very painful for me--- you are smart to address it now.
As I said, I think for all things sensory, you should work on it as much as you possibly can away from school. If he craves deep pressure (what you describe is exactly what my son loves)---- give it to him during his time with you at home. Help him out with some of the games I mentioned. Do it AS MUCH as possible. If you do some before school and he has just had deep pressure, he may not want to roll on the floor as much. And if you do a few hours of sensory play the afternoon on the day before school, it will have a lasting affect the next day. So it is really important for you to work on this nonstop. We don't do quite as much now as he is 6 and also knows certain things now to do himself to "slow his engine down".
As far as some of the things you mention, sitting too close. What about spots that the teacher sets out. Like carpet squares or something? I think you also start talking to him. I told my son when he is just sitting he is to put his hands in his lap and hold them there. He would work on it. We talked all the time about being a "good friend". This is important as this is now a simple cue that I can give "are you being a good friend?" My son knows what this means at 5 and 6 and will change what he is doing. Robot arms helped----- stand no closer than "robot arms" (arms straight out in front and to the side) cue by saying robot arms. That means he takes one step back. Then for hugging, you just to have rules. NO hugging at school. Make it firm. And you have to be kind of black and white and over the top---- as in a NO hugging rule because that is easier for him to do then . . . once in a while you can hug, or you canhug when you get there, etc. If it continues outside of school, there are things you can do when he is a little older involving a picture game and appropriate response to each picture (family, best friends, aquaintences, strangers).
Keep his self esteem really hight. Our son's took a hit at 4 as his peers started to notice his behavior and weren't too keen on it. They weren't overtly mean or anything, but he felt left out. And if you are the kid that easily bumps into others or has trouble keeping hands to self---- then others will claim you did everything bad in the classroom after awhile. It is like a no win situation. It is best when the teacher gets other kids to do the sensory activities. For example, the whole class marches to the playground rather than just having your boy do.
In my son's kindergarten, they have those chair pads that are inflatable and wiggle. They just have them there so we didn't have to bring one . . . but it allows a kid to sit and wiggle without getting out of his seat. He'll eventually like one of those maybe. We had one for the dinner table and "homework" which was 10 minutes a day of practicing letters (have you gotten into that yet . . .another trouble area for sensory kids, usually) but recently he asked not to use it. They also tie rubber bands (like those used in a ladies exercise class) around the bottom of it and they can push it with their feet. Those will help more maybe next year or when "real" school starts.
I will say that I did not push preschool. I didn't send him 5 days a week or anything. I wanted him to have days in which we had long periods of sensory diet work and I didn't want him to get too stressed out. It worked for us.
Lastly, regarding diet. We don't do anything too special. I try to keep it healthy---- he is a picky eater with vegis and meat. But he gets plenty of protein and lots of fruit and all the other food groups. We tried gluten free and I didn't notice any difference. He takes a multi vitamin. They say fish oil is also good for sensory. I stay away from fast food. My son doesn't really react too much to sugar. But we still don't have it much. So, I just keep it as healthy and kid friendly as possible.
Please have hope. You are giving your boy the coping skills to get along in the world. Things will improve each year from here on out. good luck and again, contact me any time!
Have you ever tried the fish oil with your little one? If so how much do you give them one a day and how many mgs? My little one is around 45 pounds and I will definately try it if it is gonna help him. Do you know what fish oil is suppose to help with sensory? I do give him an all natural vitamin every day. Where can you buy that chair pad and rubber bands that you were talking about? I did read on the other post all the good suggestions to help him with deep pressure I loved them all we are going to try all of them. This morning we already did the frog, jumping jacks and tryed to move the wall lol he seems to love them of course I was pooped lol. Do you think any particular one works better that I could try before he goes to school he goes two days a week on Mondays and Wednesdays for 21/2 hours 9:30 till 12. I put him in this school to try and get him ready for real prek. If nothing else its helping me learn how to help him in the areas that he has difficulty like circle time. I am gonna try the chewing of the gum also but i have to find one that is kinda all natural any suggestion? Thank you so much for everything it is so nice to talk to someone so helpful that is kinda going through the same thing and that it will get better :)! I do have him on a healthy diet that eliminates preservatives and food colorings and that helps a little. Thanks again!
I have found eliminating food dyes helps too. It's hard b/c it is in SO Many things. I like the Nordic Natural brands of fish oils. YOu can go to their website, they are good quality and have been in a lot of studies.
Do you have a little one with sensory and if so do you use the fish oil? How much should they take one a day and what about the mgs. Where do you get the Nordic brand of fish oil I live in New York or can you only get it online? How does fish oil help them or sensory? Thank you! Yes I agree there are so many food with artificial colors its terrible. You dont know of a gum that is all natural by any chance I hear thats really helps to?
do you have any natural food stores out there. LIke whole foods, etc, they carry it. Food dyes are IN EVERYTHING. I get my son the chewy ones from nordic naturals, he is five. He does not swallow pills yet.... You can also get the oils in a liquid form nad put them in juices, etc.
I am trying to figure out what is the isue with my son, right now I am thinking ADHD and some sensory issues, i've been reading they go hand in hand a lot. both are neurological conditions.
Vitamin Shoppe has it I know for sure, not sure if you have those in your area.
As far as knowing what to give them I really have to idea as to the total amount. It is more like what can I get my son to take.... He's very stubborn about things...
I posted some stuff on another post about the studies that have been done.
Here is the website and here is the site for the studies on kids/behaviors/issues, etc.. They list autism and asd, which is probably as close to sensory issues as you get.
Yes I do have some vitamin shops around here I will check to see if they sell them. They do come in a gummy like form if so thats great? The multivitamin I give him is all natural and look like gummy bears and he loves them. How many do you give your son a day? Have you seen any benefits from them when you give them to your little one? Thanks for the websites I will check them out!
Well, I don't do fish oil with my son to be honest. I looked into it but decided against it. Here is why----- I had a breast cancer scare (thankfully no cancer!!) but during the biopsy process I got a list of things they would be concerned about and fish oil was on it. I had to have my biopsy quickly (one week after seeing the breast surgeon). Fish oil was a concern because it thins your blood. So we decided to just go with the multi vitamin. supplements can be helpful but I think they have to be considered like medication Everything has side effects. BUT . . . my son was already doing much better--- This was when he was 5.5 yrs. So I wasn't feeling like it was necessary. I know that Little Critters makes natural fish oil in gummy bear form for kids and has the amt to give by age on the bottle. We use little critters natural multi vitamins and vitamin c for our kids----- no preservatives or colors.
To be completely honest, I just keep my son on a well balanced diet and that is it. It has worked for us. We don't get many sweets (because I will eat them . . . LOL) but have some occasionally. And the things I mention like gummy fruity treats and fruit chews are things he has had at ot . . . both regular ot and we've done a few camps (which were AWESOME) and those are the sensory snacks they offer. As far as gum, when my son was 4 we did a sugar free piece (and they were these little circles . . . can't remember the name but bought them at the grocery checkout.) My son would be given this piece of gum on the way out the door for school. He'd chew it on the ride and then spit it out---- about 6 minutes total. His occupational therapist suggested moving to thick pieces of bubble gum. So we've moved to that. I give him sugar free but sometimes regular. He gets it on the way out the door and chew it on the way to the bus stop (3 houses down) and then spits out when bus shows up (about 4 minutes total). It is the chomping down that is organizing and soothing---- that big chomp is better. Our ot also is the one that took red licorice and tied it in a knot for him to bite down on the knot. She is pretty natural but thinks the oral soothing and organizing is worth it. So I go with this. My son is not on a restricted diet, however. He's also never had a cavity and we brush well---- so these are things I was open to. I am sure a health food store has natural gum (but taste it first to see if it is appealing.) My son at 6 now understands why he is chewing the gum. He knows about his engine running too high and that this helps slow it down. It is nice to get to that point.
As far as the bands and seats--------- the seat I got on ebay. But there are lots of sensory websites that sell them. Therapy source is one. therapy shop is another and both have websites if you google those. Your ot should also be able to hand you a list of sites to go to. Our ot has sites that she likes and tells us places to go, so ask your ot. The bands we got from the ot office. They sell things like that, chewy tubes (again, that biting down action is calming and organizing, big with sensory kids), putty, etc. So ask if they sell those. Our occupational therapists is a big group---- and they have contracts with many schools. Our school district is big and has its own ot's but they do many of the same things within school that our private ot does. So tieing the bands on the bottom of the chairs and using the seat cushions are commonly used in schools. That always makes me feel better to see things used practically for down the road too . . .
As far as activities --- one over the other. Well, I change it up to make it fun. Today we put lots of pillows and couch cushions on the floor and he was the mouse and crawled through them and I gently pushed and of course yelled "EEK!!" every time he popped his head up. He thinks that is hilarious (got to love kids!) But I always had my child carry the bag of books across the kitchen through the dining room and into the living room (so it was a medium distance). Then I placed a dumb bell where the drop off point was the bag of books----- 5 pounds (you could use 3 for your boy) and he carried it back to where he started. We also have a trampoline---- I have him count out a certain number of jumps (practiced counting that way too!). Those were constants every day before school. I think the crab walk is really good and follow that by either steam roller with the ball or make a "sandwich" by putting pillows on him and pressing. But switch it up for fun. Then do lots of the other stuff after school and on days off. There is a cd that we like called "sensory songs". We got it on ebay----- and it has activities to music. And YES, it is tiring!! I keep thinking I should be a lot skinnier than I am----- LOL.
Does your ot use the "how does your engine run program?" It is excellent!
Anyway, always happy to share. I hope some of it helps and contact me anytime. Happy to bounce ideas around. It sounds like you are working hard for your little guy and I just know that will pay off big for him!
I use the lil critters multi vitaman as well they are great! I just talked to his ot and she is gonna look into some things for me to help as well. Thanks again. I am working very hard to do anything I can to help him he is my life :)!!! I love the saying to slow your engine down thats great and of course fits perfectly. I am gonna look into getting that cd sensory songs sounds great. I dont think my ot uses how does your engine run program what is it?
I just got off the phone with the therapist and we talked about adhd and sensory issues, she said it was VERY common to have those in ADHD children. Where do you get the therapy bands and seats?
I think that they try and label little ones too fast now a days and that really bothers me. I know that my son has sensory issues and that I agree with but I would never let them put a label on him its uncalled for. My OT never even mentions that because she feel that same way that they throw labels around way to much. We can help are little ones without labeling them cant we? Sorry I get so mad when they right away mention labeling kids. I think she said you could get that seat and band online at a therapy source.
Yes, I'm funny about labeling too. But sometimes maybe to get any help you have to have a label. Sad, but true. But I think all kids at some point have issues, even adults do.
I so agree everyone has issues but I think as we get older we learn how to deal with them better. I am sure are little ones will get better the older they get im hoping anyways lol!! Hey do you give your little one the fish oil and if so how do you feel about it I mean does it help?
Hello again! Kids that have ADHD/ADD and autism often have sensory integration disorder along with it. And sensory disorder can be all by itself in a child as with my boy. Everyone has sensory issues but it is a disorder if someone can not cope.
My thoughts on labels has evolved over time. I do think that schools and teachers and therapists are pretty quick to diagnose many behavioral things as add/adhd. That is a shame. And I know that the signs of sensory integration and adhd can look similar at times . . . but they are very different. They are also treated differently in that sensory does not respond to any medications. Add/adhd does. I've always been very aware of this and wanted to make those who need to know that my son has sensory and NOT add/adhd.
Once leaving preschool and entering public kindergarten I was not sure what to do. Did I wait and see what the teacher thought or what special things my child might need to function or did I address it up front proactively? Well, I decided that I would be proactive and if my child is labeled----- well, it is all confidential and the only way a child could receive any additional services. Plus, it gives a reason as to why my son is sometimes different than his peers or has a reaction that is not the norm for kids. So I called the counselor and then met with his teacher over summer before school started. I forwarded her lots of information about my son. I told her worst case scenario. I had her talk to his preschool teachers from the past. I really wanted everyone to know what was coming to be prepared. My son came into the class after all of this . . . and hasn't needed one extra thing. No IEP, no services, etc. but his teacher is ready to help if he does. She is in awe of my son because she knows the history and she knows how hard he is working. He has to work twice as hard as every other kid in the class just to maintain himself. And to learn what he needs to on top of that is very commendable on his part. I labeled him myself to the school and feel it was the right decision. He may eventually need an IEP or services and we'll go from there if he does. Right now, he blends in like any other kid in the class.
Our son did a summer class with some other sensory kids and the parents kind of hung out during the class. There was a mom there that is a special education teacher in our school district. I was lamenting that my son does NOT have add/adhd that he has sensory and that is VERY different and I didn't want the school to get that confused and put him under an add/adhd heading. She took me aside and gave me some advice-------- she said "you don't care what heading they put it under if he gets services. sensory does not have its own category yet in most school districts, so it has to go somewhere. the important thing is that school is working with him so he can be successful." I thought that was good advice and it changed my original stance on labels. You have to be practical when you are trying to get things done. If the school wants to have my kid coded as add in order to go to the sensory room, then I don't care. The important thing is he goes to the sensory room. None of this has come up yet------- but I was worried about it before school started.
so that is just my two cents.
How does my engine run is a program that occupational therapists can use . . . it is kid language for their bodies being too reved up or to slow as is the case with some sensory kids . . . and just right which is the goal. The first step with little ones of 4 would be to identify what too fast, too slow, and just right looks like. You can act it out. You can cut out pictures to illustrate, etc. We made little gages (use a half of a paper plate---- color one third red, one third green and one third yellow. Make a little arrow and use a paper clip (kind with dot and two metal brackets off of it that would hold a report together . . .)---- red is too high, green is just right, yellow is too slow) that they showed if someone is too high too slow or just right. So you start using the language, if they are wild------- oh, your engine looks too high. Lets do XXX to slow it down. Then do something and say, now how does your engine feel? Or if they are laying in a heep, your engine looks too slow. Lets do something to wake it up. Always the goal is to keep the engine just right. As they get older, this message becomes internalized and they can do it for themselves. "oh, my engine is too high . . . I better do a chair push up now to slow it down. " Anyway, it is really great and kids can picture that engine too high/slow/just right really well and verbalize it.
I've heard some people put a little fish oil into eggs or mix it into ketchup. I'd do the little critters gummies if I were doing it. Easier. good luck
I do agree about the labeling thing if it came down to that he would not get services without a label then of course I would have not choice because he is my main concern. Right now I think he is a little young for a label but when he goes to school Im hoping all the hard work im doing and going to do will really help him. I am not sure on the fish oil because of what you said but im gonna research it more in case it will help. Thanks again!
hms76---- I wanted to tell you that you shouldn't feel like you are alone. Being the parent of a "special" child (how I became special mom . . . not because I think I am special) at times has made me feel alone. Other parents just get ready for school while I am running around skipping, jumping and rolling. Other parents leave their kids at school without a care in the world that their child may have "bad" day. Other parents don't think about the future and can live in the moment with their kids. Other parents trust that their child will make good choices most of the time. Other parents don't worry about their child being left out. You start to feel like the only one that is dealing with all of that. Well------ at least I did. I was hesitent to talk about my son because I didn't want to be disloyal to him and was very protective.
But I have found that far more families than you think are dealing with these types of issues. The other day I was in the preschool line picking up my younger son (I have one 15 months younger than my sensory kid) and was talking to a mom that also has a kindergartner. I said, well---- my older boy has sensory issues. She stopped me and said------ so does my kindergartner!! and we started talking about things she could do as her son was just diagnosed. I run into people all of the time out and about that have kids like yours and mine.
I may be off base, but just thought I would throw this in if you are feeling alone in this. You aren't!!!
That was really nice to read thanks! I am definately one of the moms that worries all the time. He is my everything and I just want him to do good. When I drop him off at school I have so many thing running through my head is he gonna be ok, is he gonna have a good day what could I have done to have helped him more. I dont like to talk to anyone about my son at all except for my husband, his teachers and now you. Its nice to have someone to talk to that won't judge me or my son. I am gonna try all of the things you have recommended for sure and im hoping it will help him to do be able to sit and focus better :)! Thanks!
I should have mentioned that he is my only child right now n having him wasn't so easy for me so I am very protective of him maybe to protective :)!
I think when you have a child that struggles, it is natural to be protective. I am too. You are getting him ready for the "real" world though by all of the work you are doing now. That is awesome and being the best mom you can be. So good job, mom.
Thanks Im trying for sure!!!! I can't wait to try some activities before he goes to school on monday to see how he does. We have been doing lots of things already and he seems to like them :)! Thanks for all the advise you are a specialmom!!!!!!
I aslo tried something you sugested, (the ball) not sure if we did it right but he did enjoy it and it did seem to release some of that extra energy. What we did was sit on the floor with a basketball face to face and i held the ball real tight and had him try as hard as he could to grab it from me, like a tug of war type thing. He loved the activity. We took turns doing this and also we did something else with the ball, we sit about 6 feet apart from one another and lightly kick the ball back and forth. He loved it. And honestly it was fun and bearable for me. It's hard because im not one to sit still myself and i like to keep up with the house work. But i cant get much done anyhow when i have him because he is so demanding. Thats the hardest part about him is that he is always talking and running andjumping and asking questions and jumping from one idea to the next. It's crazy he is literally like a reved up engine. He blows my mind and i feel like i am going in 6 different directions, literally. Oh sorry , thanks for listening.