I’m Not Sensory, You Are.

sensory-beans Most of my sons major challenges have to do with his sensory processing: he’s both sensory defensive and seeking. Some things are just too much for him too handle; such as super busy public places, most foods, and anything that sticks to his hands(defensive). And some days, his body and mind just need more input so he’ll do quirky things like walk on his tip toes all day, hyper-focus on spinning the wheels of his toy bus, or constantly put toys in his mouth (seeking).

Actually “mouthing objects” was a huge concern for us. He was past the point of teething, but would put anything and everything in his mouth. A remote control, toys, water bottle, cell phones, sides of furniture…literally anything that he could get into his mouth, he would try to chew on. Except for food. For some reason, any and all textures of food was just too much to process and he would even gag at the site of food. Our EI teachers explained he had sensory processing so we started daily activities to desensitize as well as provide the appropriate input he needed. Continue reading

If You Can’t Say It, Sign It

sign-language-babies

this is the sign for nom nom piggies…jk

When we got pregnant, my husband and I decided we were going to teach our child sign language. We learned that before a child is able to physically speak, as in having developed muscle tone and coordination to move the mouth, tongue and breath, they have the hand coordination to sign. And since their little brains are working hard on thoughts and feelings from the get-go, signing gives them the opportunity to express their needs. It also provides a level of confidence and patience since they know you will understand them, while preventing a lot of frustrating moments. Continue reading

Early Intervention Is My Village

“It takes a village..” and the teachers we have through the Early Intervention program are my village.

early-intervention

As a first time mom, I read a ton of books about child development and although doctors say “every child develops at different paces” I constantly checked to make sure my son was reaching his milestones every month.

He always seemed to meet his milestones, but just differently. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it and since we didn’t know anyone else with newborns at the time, we just chalked it up to his uniqueness. Looking back, however, there were several early signs of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), but it wasn’t until a severe adverse reaction to baby puree that realized we needed help. Continue reading

Using YouTube Videos To Encourage Imitation

Imitation was a super hard skill for us to learn. I’m not sure why but anytime I sang or made a funny face, my son would just look at me puzzled and then get bored and walk away. Like “Mom…you look weird…is that it…okbai.” I just couldn’t figure out how to help him learn to imitate. I memorized every nursery rhyme I forgot since childhood (because it had been replaced by all the lyrics to every Queen and Tom Petty song), but to no avail.

Then I found a wonderful video series on YouTube called Super Simple Songs. Each video segment lasts about an hour and showcases the best nursery rhymes accompanied by colorful cartoons or puppets.

row-your-boat-imitation Continue reading

Grounding Objects

grounding-object-asdMy son is always holding something; a toy car, a ball, his blanket, a puzzle piece. We thought it was so adorable that wherever we went, he would find a “treasure” as we called it. The first time we went to a park, he found a tiny piece of tree bark and carried it around all day and then into the car and on the way home.

After telling the charming story to my OT (Occupational Therapist), she told me that he was actually using these objects to help ground himself. It’s a technique taught to those with PTSD to assist keeping the individual in the present. For my son, it was helping with his sensory needs.

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OMG Not Another Electronic Toy

electronic-toys-autism

Flashing lights, tons of buttons, and rhyming songs Oh My…God get it out of my house! The electronic toys are adorable and fun, but for a child with ASD (autism spectrum disorder), they become hyper focus prisons. It might take a little time to replace the toy box contents, but the non-electronic toys are out there and they are so much better for promoting cognitive and engaging play.

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Time Out For Self-Regulation, Not Punishment

self-regulation-autism

In the heat of the moment, when those “terrible two’s” begin to take hold of your child for the first time, it can be really hard to recognize what is actually happening versus what it “feels” like is happening. But that outburst isn’t coming from a place of disrespect or disobedience; it’s an outburst of independence with a serious need to learn self regulation. And as difficult and backwards as it might seem, our response should be to teach rather than punish.

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