I am going to say welcome, welcome.. And I see a few faces that I do know, and a few faces that are new to me. So welcome to your first group session… We are going to make sure that everyone is on mute just for, you know, we are recording this so that those who are on different time zones or had to work, we’re not able to made it so that they can actually get the information as well. At the end, everybody will have an opportunity to ask questions.

And I, I’m just gonna request that you ask questions related to the topic of the presentation, so that we can make sure we’re sort of staying on topic. And then if you do have other questions, you can send it to me email and those of you, your coaching sessions, you can ask questions related to something else as well and feel free.

If you think of a question you can put in the chat box cause sometimes we forget our questions during the presentation. So feel free to just put in the chat box and then I’ll go to it during the Q and a, and I am going to get started.. Alright, so when we think about sensory processing disorder, and one of the reasons I really wanted to talk about this topic is because it’s fun but it’s important. And last group session, I talked about executive functioning.

So I think it’s really important for parents to understand like all of those things that of get in the way of our kiddos, being able to follow directions, carry out a task, communicate effectively. And so that executive functioning was the one that I addressed on last group session and this time it’s the sensory processing component.

How to Decode an Autistic Child's Sensory needsAnd lot of times when we think of sensory processing, we think of, you know, the five senses, right? ? Taste, touch, smell, hearing what we see but it’s so much more, it’s really so much more. And often I will, you know, those of you who I’m coaching, I will say, you know, what are your child sensory needs? And a lot of times parents will say- well they don’t have any sensory needs.

They don’t they’re not bothered by sound and they don’t, they’re not afraid to touch things. And so then we talk about how it’s so much more than that, right?? It’s not just the cover your ears, sensory overload and sensory overload is real. It is not something that kids are just creating, adults talk about it very openly in terms of the struggles and challenges they have as adults as well.

And it has to do with, you know, the pain, the temperature, taste, smell all of those little things that can sort of just, you know, make it really hard for our kiddos to navigate through their environment and navigate through their day. And a lot of times they’re misunderstood or they’re punished in school because it’s not really, no one is understanding that they really are on sensory overload and it’s not just easy to just sort of get over it. It’s a neurological challenge for them… So if we think about the sensory differences, we talk about the visual, right?? Kids who may be visually stem or some kids are very sensitive to sunlight.

You know, one of the reasons that kiddos do not like to eat at school in the cafeteria is because there are so many smells and for kids who really have challenges regulating their old factory system, those smells will just disrupt their ability to just function in the cafeteria.

And so, sometimes the easiest out is to just not eat lunch, right?? Because it, it’s not gonna be a pleasurable experience. The taste that’s where we have a lot of kids who have, sort of preferred foods and not, not wanting to explore new foods, that vestibular component in regards to balance. And that protive component that body awareness, not knowing where their body is and really in the space, you know, that running, running, running, jumping, jumping, jumping, all of those things are, you know, sensory seeking behaviors..

And then of course we have the tactile, the touch and then the auditory it’s too loud. For some kiddos, it’s always fun when kiddos like to sing but then they don’t want us to sing and that’s because their auto system is processing intonations or your tone is not being processed the same as them, theirs, when they can control theirs.

And I wanna quickly just touch on the concept of the tactile in regards to a myth where, you know, people say, oh, kids with autism, don’t like to he touched, or he doesn’t have autism.. He likes to hug people.. It’s really not about that at all. It’s not about people wanting to be hugged, not wanting to be hugged, not wanting to be touched. It’s really about processing that tactile information properly. If they cannot process it properly, then they’re going to avoid it, right?? Like I wouldn’t want to be touched from behind either if I didn’t process the information as appropriately, a lot of times our kids will hug us on their terms because then they’re ready for that input. So we have to consider that and think about that. Especially, when those relatives come over and wanna give all the kids hugs and kisses and, and our kiddos are kind of running in the other room.

Just tell relatives don’t take it personal. It’s really not about them. It is all about their sensory differences and processing that information. And so this one picture, it’s one of my favorites to just sort of explain or sort of demonstrate, you know, all of these senses are just being processed at one time. And if you have a system that’s not processing efficiently, not processing correctly, then it’s gonna be a traffic jam and then misinformation. And then what do our kiddos do? They react inappropriately what we consider to be inappropriate right? By running or screaming or cutting their ears, different things that they do to cope with those circumstances where the input is just not comfortable for them, but it’s not being processed correctly. So let’s talk about those in a little bit more detail. And it’s really not just a simple in terms of all child has sensory processing disorder. And sensory processing disorder can be a child can have sensory processing disorder and not have a diagnosis of autism.

However I found, I have found that majority of children with autism diagnosis have sensory processing disorder. It just looks different in every kiddo. And so those kiddos are really struggling with the demands of those day-to-day activities, school, getting ready for school, getting ready for bed, all those things that we, we don’t think about how that’s really a big deal sensory wise but it really is. And so when a child gets an appropriate evaluation in regards to sensory processing disorder. There are three categories and one is sensory modulation, sensory based motor disorder, and then the sensory discrimination disorder. And so those are the three subcategories that kids can fall under. And typically an Occupational Therapist is the person that can do the evaluation for that and provide the sensory integration therapy. However, I am a certified sensory enrichment therapist, so I have a lot of training and knowledge.

And my interest was because I just found that it worked for my students, right?? So in regards to sensory modulation disorder. These are our kiddos who are like sensory seeking, sensory seeking, jumping money. You know, I love when I have a coaching session and a parent says, well, I provided, you know, tra Toline time. And they jumped for, you know, know 45 minutes and they still wanted more. They need more, it’s hard to sort of conceptualize how much sensory input our kiddos need in order to be regulated but they really need a lot, every child’s different. However, our little kiddos, right, because they’re also neurologically immature are just very dysregulated. And then you have those kiddos who are very under responsive to sensory stimulation or very over responsive. So those are kids that, you know, cover their ears because it sounds too loud, even though it’s not technically too loud but they’re processing it a little bit differently or kiddos who will talk really loud or make a lot of noise auditory, information that they’ll do not this is not related to verbal stem.

This is, you know, there are a lot of kids who will make lots of repetitive, loud, loud noises or that wonderful high pitch screen that we’re all familiar with that we heard at one time or another, which is a very distinct high pitched screen that our kiddos can do. And then we also have kiddos who are, you know, when they’re over responsive, someone says, you know, they’re attacked all the defensive, they’re sensory defensive which technically defensive is the correct term. Because when you’re defensive, you know, you’re, you’re, you’re protecting yourself. And so that’s where that tactile information of someone coming up to you from behind or someone touching you and a child either taps their hand away or just walks away because they’re just, their system is over responsive to it and they can’t process it correctly. And of course the kiddos who are sensory defensive, who won’t touch things like they just don’t wanna explore shaving cream or they’re not really comfortable with walking with grass. You know, all those different textures even in regards to the foods that they eat, some kiddos will stick to the same sensory type food because it provides them with the input that works for them.

And they will avoid the foods that, sort of, they’re over responsive to so it’s not comfortable. So they’re just gonna defend themselves and stay away from it. Alright, when we talk about kiddos who are, that say sensory based motor disorder. Those are those codes where they are, they’re not getting that information in regards to their body in relation to space. So, you know, you have the kids that they’re motor output. Like some kids are sitting really hard on the sofa or they’re are sort of appearing to just fall to the floor because they really are not getting enough information to actually know where their body is and to be able to process and integrate that in their brain to have the sort appropriate motor output. And this affects handwriting, you know, when our kids they can’t really hold the pencil, but what do we see??

What does the teacher see? They don’t wanna do their work. They don’t wanna do handwriting. He hates it when I make him write his name. And those of you who know my stance on, you know, attaching the feeling to it technically, yes. They don’t like practicing handwriting but it’s not because they’re against handwriting. It’s because sensory wise they really are struggling with how much pressure to put on the pencil where the, their hand is in relation to the paper and making those movements.. And so if it’s really really hard and you are really little kiddo, I mean, even older kids but if you are kiddo and you can’t communicate that you’re gonna do what resist, throw the paper on the floor, you’re going to escape that activity because it’s really really just brain wise extra extra heart because they’re just not integrated.

They’re, they’re not integrating that information properly to actually carry out that motor skill. And those are those kids also that are kind of slouching in their chair. I always recommend, you know, a bean bag or various ways for kids to be able to sit in class so that they can have that support so that they can attend a little bit better.. And what happens is a lot of times teachers and parents, of course, if you’re not understanding a sensory based motor disorder component, you are thinking that a child who slouch is not paying attention, right?? Because we relate paying attention to sitting upright. And that means they’re, they’re really listening, but if you put it in a bean bag and they’re supported and they don’t have to keep working on that core because it’s not really the strength that it needs to be. You would be amazed how the bean chair laying on the floor.

They can actually taken information and learn much better that way than having to sit up in their chair which most of the time they don’t end up sitting in their chair, Right?? We end up seeing all of these behaviors that interfere in the learning process. So, you know, I wanted to go over this so that you could start thinking about, Hmm, why is there? why is my child really struggling? Some of these activities. Is it really related to the sensory processing disorder? And it’s not just, they just don’t want to do it.. Alright, and then we have the sensory discrimination disorder which, you know, these kids really are and this is the majority of our kiddos in regards to the autism spectrum, just processing and understanding the information, you know, that what they see some of our kids that visual perception…

And it’s not, you know, I know we use visuals but the visual perception can be just the order of things on a paper. Right??And that’s why it’s important to understand how to structure information for your child to actually be able to complete a task that’s paper and pencil. Because that visual perception just could not be working as efficiently, you know, the auditory perception, all of that brings a lot of problems with following directions. We wonder why they’re not following directions. And it’s because auditorily, it’s really a struggle because of the sensory discrimination. So that’s why we have those visuals, right? So they can really get that communication through the visuals. And then of course a tactile and, you know, I, I have little tricks and tips that I teach parents on how to get our kiddos to explore different tactile, information, just so that they can help their system grow.

Now, it’s not the end of the world. If a child doesn’t play with shaving cream but we don’t want our kids who miss out on something that they wanna participate in because of that sensory discrimination component in regards to that tactile sensation. So we don’t force it but we try to do little things in order to engage our kids to explore different things. And then they can decide whether or not it’s something that is comfortable or not. Alright… I talk all the time about a sensory diet. And I have to really careful when I write sensory diet as a recommendation because, sometimes it’s misperceived as a diet pertaining to food and it’s not. It is a list of sensory activities that can help a child feel calm and sensorily organized that then allows them to attend, to learn. And as my grandma used to say behave right, their very best ability.

So it’s, it’s thinking about providing our kiddos with activities that are specific to their individual needs. And a lot of times, you know, you’ll see in face book post, you know, my child, you know, does this, what should I get them for Christmas? Every child is different. Some kiddos need a trampoline. Other children don’t need a trampoline. Some kiddos need, you know, squishy other kids it’s not something that is going to be necessary for their individual needs. So it really is important to at your child’s sensory profile provided so that you can give them exactly what they need so that they can be calm. They can be sincerely organized so that they can do the attending and the learning and, you know, all of that builds their communication skills and that’s important communication, so important. And so I have a picture of my little guy that if, you know, you all see in any of my modules, I have examples of this little co because, this was a picture and he was on a swing getting some sensory input. And all I thought was what is going on in that beautiful mind of yours, because he was so calm and just so regulated in at swing. And so I like to put that picture just to remind everyone how our kiddos can feel calm when we provide them with the input that they need.

Alright, my favorite question. When do I have to provide my child teen or young adult?? When do they provide, when do I, when do they participate in these sensory activities? When do I provide it? That is a question that for every child is different, however, every day with consistency and creativity, right? So every day it should be on their schedule, part of their routine, participating in sensory activities, consistency is key. And the reason consistency is key- Just think of anything else that we are trying to build, right? If we’re trying to build our health, right, we’re gonna consistently provide it with foods that are healthy. If we are going to try to build, you know, our muscle or exercise or, you know, whatever it is that you’re trying to do, consistency is what helps to build, um, that, that progress and that stability.

And so it, it, it really is important to always remember, did I provide sensory reactivity today? I need to make sure I’ve provided it every day. And if it’s on the visual schedule then you won’t have to think about it because it’ll already be there and you’ll remember and your child will remember. And if you’re, if you don’t remember, you’ll know when your kiddo starts running around the house or they have a meltdown, then you will say, we were running late from the doctor’s office. And we’ve, we didn’t get to trampoline time in today. And it happens, you know, life happens but you wanna try to be as consistent as possible every day. And, I love to do things with, creativity, because it just makes life fun. Doesn’t always have to be regimented. Doesn’t always have to be at a table.

It can be outside in the mud. It can be in the bathtub raving cream, it can be on the floor, it can just be anywhere and it should be fun and creative for the kiddos. Alright… So one of the things that’s important to remember is children are very aware of the sensory input they need. They know that’s why they run around. That’s why they jump on the sofa. That’s why they are trying to avoid sitting because they’re like I need input, I need input, I need input. That’s why they are rubbing on someone’s skin because they need tactile input. That’s why they’re smelling things because they need input. So they know and if we don’t provide them with input, they’re going to find a way and it’s not always the best way. It’s not always the most appropriate way.

So it’s really an our best interest for, you know, parents sanity to provide it with a structured in a structured manner so that they can get the input they need without having to seek it out in inappropriate ways. And one of the other things that I talk a lot about when I’m coaching parents is to be flexible in your demands for sitting, sitting, sitting, sitting. I mean, there’s so much demand on sitting for kiddos today, especially with a lot of technology that they have access to and kids really need to move their bodies. So I’m going to stop talking and show. Hopefully I don’t have any technology issues but just show a little video of this kiddo. And he is actually we were, you know, working on letters and fine motor and, you know, sitting wasn’t something he’d do on that particular day because for whatever reason he just wasn’t regulated. So I accommodated the situation and we still got the task done. Let’s see you found a

Where does the T go? There’s the yellow T dig the water beads. What’d you find? So if you’ll notice, I have a few things going on here. He’s on the trampoline on his core, on his Billy. And we have the letters that are a little bit tactile. I dunno if you can see the bumpiness, but I also have the letters kind of in the water beads. So I’m trying to provide him with anything and everything to give him input so that we can actually have success with the activity and complete the task which is to work on our letter and complete the puzzle. You found it, sorry!

Alright., There are many many ways that you could do sensory based activities and pile on some learning as well. I like to do multiple things at once. And when it comes to sensory activities, there’s so much that you can do in regards to communication and building, academics as well. And so this is just a bowl of letters and some painters tape. And now this is really fancy. I tried to do a spider web. I will admit that I was not successful. So I just made lines. This is someone else’s picture but I’ve done this activity before. And this really really simple, especially when kiddos can’t go outside the weather, you just put this tape. It doesn’t have to be a elaborate. I just want you to see the concept of how the letters are in little places. So they can just walk along the lines of tape and pick up a letter.

And if they’re not necessarily efficient with their verbal skills, they can either, you if they have their AC device, but if, you know, if they’re walking around. My recommendation is if they find an M you can say, you found an M??They’ll either echo it or they will, you know, say it. But the key is you are modeling, you’re teaching and they are getting that tactile of the letter. And they’re also visually getting the letter and they’re getting sensory input by walking on those lines. It’s not just sitting at the table, going through the alphabet. This is another really simple activity. You know, I’m very much all about not having to buy a bunch of fancy things. You know, everybody has a tray from something they had food in and you just get some finger paint and some cute tips. And they can sensory practice their letters, their numbers shape their name, or they can just make zigzags whatever it is that floats their boat. It’s just a different way for fine motor with sensory fun.

Okay. So this is an example and this is one of my favorite videos because , this is a kiddo that, I, we were doing a homeschool program over the summer. And part of his visual schedule was sensory input in between structured activities. And this is a sensory activity that really really regulated him. However, it was really a struggle for his mom to do with him, even though the benefits of it was amazing. Like, when he finished doing this for a good 10 minutes, he was regulated and ready to work. But mom just really struggled with the noise and the and so I, I took, you know, video that’s where the video came from. But I want you to see how something really so simple and just looking sort of, you know, outside of our comfort zone to allow our kiddos to get what they need so that they can be ready to do those tasks that we’re asking of them.

This is a stretchy and then he sits on the ball and he will bounce. And if you, if you notice how he’s sitting upright in that ball, when he is in a chair, he is usually very slumped. And so a lot of times flexible seating in a classroom, you know, you can recommend to your child’s teacher. Hey, can we get a big therapy ball for them to sit on? And it’s not. So something uncommon. They actually make ball, chairs for balls to sit in just for that purpose for kids to be able to get that input, because they learn while they move, they just do alright. This is another really simple example. And if you’ll notice on the right, this is a classroom where the teacher has her students and she made it really cute a book boat, and it’s just a container.

And what I did was that you cut the top, and if you’ll notice I have, it’s just a bath rug. And the reason I have the bath rug is because he requires a lot of tactile input and the bathtub has the little tingles. So he actually pull while he’s working. And if you see, he is actually able to write his name when he is in this workstation. And I will say, honestly when I made this, I did not know how he was going to respond. I thought I would have to teach him how to use it. I couldn’t even get the rug in quick enough. And he just climbed in on his own. And I put the top on and that’s where we did homeschool every day. And he did very well. So he was getting all of his sensory input while he was learning which is great, really great. Cause we want our kids to, we want him to learn and they can learn.

We just need to support them. Alright, I’m just gonna let this play for a little bit. Some of you may have received this from me personally, but this is really really simple. It’s BB and salt. I throw in a Ziploc bag and put a little coloring. Sometimes, I add some essential oil, but it’s a really good sensory activity for different things. I tried the new sensory activity today and all you need is a flat container for usage in storage, two chopsticks ebbs and salt, which I tinted with food coloring. And I also infused it with lavender oil for the calming effect. Kids can use it for a fine motor practice shapes. They can write their name for kids who have an aversion to some sensory feeling. They can use the chopsticks.

So this is just an example of things that you can do to make sensory bends but it also can help for, you know, with sight words. They can practice their math facts. I mean, there’s so many things you can do with this one simple activity and your child is getting that sensory input at the same time. Alright, these are just some simple examples. Water beads are great. And this is a picture of a child receiving input during occupational therapy. And they are actually able to complete a puzzle which they were not able to do when they were actually sitting at the table. So it’s really important to understand your child’s sensory needs get creative, think about what you can do to help them show you what they know and to set them up for success. This is another simple one.

This is just, and I don’t like to use sand. I use absent salt or just regular salt because it doesn’t stick to your hands as much but you can see and this is, you know, this is a fancy trade. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It’s, you know, if they’re practicing sight words or letters. They’re able to do this in this little tray with salt and get that sensory input at the same time learning their letters or sight words or math facts shapes as well. This is one of my favorite activities. That’s so simple. What do we do with those little noodles after the summer, we cut them up. We get some little tongs and we can do sorting. We can do counting fine motor practice. But the Palm palms are really good sensory and those, the swim noodles, they can swish them as well.

So just some examples I wanted to show you all. Cause I want everyone to, try something new this week, this weekend, actually it’s a weekend. Alright, sensory bends, I love sensory bends. They can be very very helpful for everything. And a sensory bend does not just have to include rice. There’s so many things- Pasta, POM- POM balls, Beans, different Beans. You can color your rice, lots and lots of different things that you can do to make sensory bins and really quick tip. Sometimes, we don’t always have a lot of space to have a bunch of sensory bins, so you can have one or two containers but you can just keep the different items, the different tactile items in zip bags and just switch them out so that your child gets a variety of that tactile input.

Alright, so I am going to challenge everyone with the task of, I think this might be in the way I’m gonna challenge everyone with the task of thinking outside the sensory box to facilitate language, development, communication skills, and attention to tasks. And I want everyone this weekend to try at least one, two would be great. At least, one new sensory activity this weekend. And then, send Stephanie a message letter. Know what you did or write it in your journal and coach accountability share because sometimes, you know, you don’t, somebody comes up with a new idea. We wanna share that and then we can share it with other parents. But I wanna challenge everyone to do something new sensory wise and I am going to open the floor to question.

How to Decode an Autistic Child's Sensory needs
Article Name
How to Decode an Autistic Child's Sensory needs
This is a video about how to detect your child's sensory needs and act accordingly. Here Stacy shares some excellent tools and tips.
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Autism 360
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