Handling the Holidays: Tips for Parents of Children with Sensory Processing Issues

The holidays are a special time of year – full of fun and family.  There are so many sights and sounds.  People are everywhere! Family members you haven’t seen in a while arrive and some family members may even crowd into the house and it feels like they’ve taken over!   Holidays can be fun and stressful for adults and children.  For children with sensory processing issues, the holidays can be overwhelming and overstimulating.   Here are a few simple tips to help you and your child make it through this holiday season.

1. Try to keep your child on a routine.  Most children thrive on routines and schedules.  They know what to expect and when to expect it.  Try to limit the number of changes in their schedule – this includes their sleep schedule.  If possible, put visiting family members in another room and let your child with sensory issues stay in their own room and bed.

2. Let your child take a break.  The sights, sounds and people can be overstimulating for children with auditory, tactile and visual sensory processing issues.  If you notice your child becoming agitated or shutting down, give them a break. Designate a space just for them that will provide the sensory break they need.

3. Talk to your family.  Well-meaning family members may have lots of suggestions for you and your child.  Tell them about your child’s sensory issues so they can fully understand what’s going on and not take it personally if your child refuses to give them a hug.  Help everyone understand and encourage them to be patient.  Talking to everyone in advance can save hurt feelings and over expectations later.

4. Prepare your child for what’s coming.  Talk to your child about the holidays and what to expect.  Talk through possible situations they may face and how they can handle these difficult situations.  For example, when grandparents come, you could tell them, “Grandma and grandpa are coming to visit.  We don’t see grandma and grandpa very often, but they love you so much.  When grandma gets here, she will want to give you a big hug.  If you don’t want a hug, you could blow her a kiss or give her a high five.  She would like that.”

Sensory processing can be a difficult diagnosis for family members to understand.  Talk to them about your child’s needs and reiterate that your child is not “acting out” or “anti-social.”  Leave handouts or books about sensory processing issues around the house and share information.  Some great resources include:

Books:

The Out of Sync Child by Carol Kranowitz
Sensational Kids by Lucy Jane Miller

Websites:

Sensory Processing Disorder
Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation
Sensational Brain

Now It’s Your Turn:  What other suggestions do you have for handling the stress of the holidays?

Disclosure of Material Connection: The above links are for informational purposes only. Brightsong, LLC does not receive a commission on any of the products reviewed or listed. The Brightsong team only recommends products or services we personally use and believe will add value to the families we work with. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Our Favorite Toys

As therapists and teachers, we are asked all the time, “what toy should I get for my child?”  There are so many toys on the market – it can be overwhelming.  The most important thing to remember is that any toy can be adapted for your child.   Playing and spending time with your child is the best thing for their development and in actuality – YOU are your child’s best toy.

With the holidays upon us, the Brightsong team has developed a list of our favorite toys from birth to elementary school ages.  All of these toys can be found at your local toy store or online.  We hope you and your child enjoy these toys as much as we do.  Have fun!

The Brightsong Team

Now It’s Your Turn:  What’s your child’s favorite toy? 

Disclosure of Material Connection: The above links are for informational purposes only. Brightsong, LLC does not receive a commission on any of the products reviewed or listed. The Brightsong team only recommends products or services we personally use and believe will add value to the families we work with. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thankful for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a special time of year.  This Thanksgiving, take a few minutes with your child to talk about the meaning of Thanksgiving and how they can share and celebrate this season with others.

1.  Read a book about Thanksgiving.  We love the book Thanks for Thanksgiving.  This book can be easily adapted for any age.  The pictures are lovely and are great to talk about with your child.

2.  Sharing Thanks.  Take time to talk about what each person is thankful for.  For younger children, they can draw a picture of the people they love and share it with that special person.  Older children can write a special note to the people they care about.

3.  Giving to Others.  As a family, take some time to volunteer to serve others.  This could be donating at a church program or making a meal to take to a neighbor.  Go through your clothes and toys and make a trip to The Salvation Army or Goodwill.  Children can donate toys to children in need through a local preschool, daycare or non-profit that works with children.

Talking about the meaning of Thanksgiving, sharing and giving to others will make a huge impact on your child.  As Cicero once said, “a thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.”
 

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Now It’s Your Turn:  What traditions does your family have to celebrate  Thanksgiving?

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: The above links are for informational purposes only. Brightsong, LLC does not receive a commission on any of the products reviewed or listed. The Brightsong team only recommends products or services we personally use and believe will add value to the families we work with. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Help Bring Best Buddies to Memphis


What is Best Buddies?

Best Buddies is an international nonprofit organization that creates opportunities for “one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

There are 8 programs associated with Best Buddies:

1. Best Buddies Middle Schools – This program partners middle schoolers with special needs with a “typically” developing peer for one-to-one friendships and social interactions.

2. Best Buddies High Schools – This program partners teenagers with special needs with a “typically” developing peer for social interactions and one-to-one friendships.

3. Colleges – This college program partners college students with young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

4.  Citizens – This program matches adults with developmental disabilities with individuals in the corporate and civic communities.

5. e-Buddies – This is an e-mail pen pal program for people with disabilities (ages 10 years and up) and peer volunteers across the United States and around the world.

6.  Jobs – This program places those with developmental disabilities into the community through supported employment.  Adults are able to attain and maintain jobs of their own choosing by providing ongoing support and training.

7.  Ambassadors – This program educates and empowers those with developmental disabilities to be leaders, public speakers and self-advocates in their schools, communities and workplace.

8.  Promoters – This program empowers youth to become advocates for people with developmental disabilities and introduces them to the disability rights movement and the importance of the inclusion through local awareness events.

Where is Best Buddies Located?

There is a Best Buddies program in every state and in 50 countries around the world.  To find a location near you, visit Best Buddies. In Tennessee, the state office is in Brentwood, TN.

How Can I Help Bring Best Buddies to Memphis? 

1.  Attend, Volunteer or Sponsor the Champion of the Year Gala and Silent Auction.  On November 9, several candidates are competing to be the “Champion of the Year” by raising the most money for Best Buddies.  There will also be a Silent Auction.  All proceeds will benefit the Memphis chapter of Best Buddies. To purchase tickets, click here.

2. Make a donation to Help Bring Best Buddies to Memphis. All donations are tax deductible.

3. Volunteer!  Help Bring Best Buddies to Memphis would love to have you volunteer at the fundraising events, stuff envelopes or call for sponsors and donations.

4. Spread the Word!  Talk to your child’s school, your local college or office.  Tell them about Best Buddies and how this program will benefit those in the community.

5. Become a Sponsor. If you would like to sponsor a fundraising event, Help Bring Best Buddies to Memphis would love to meet with you!  Contact Kristin Barek or Melissa Todd.

 

This program will change the lives of children and adults living in Memphis and the Mid-South.  Everyone needs a friend – a buddy – to hang out with, share your dreams with and learn from.  Best Buddies will be a wonderful addition to the Mid-South community.  Please Help Bring Best Buddies to Memphis.

 

Now It’s Your Turn:  Have you been involved in a Best Buddies program?   Tell us about it.