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2 Ways to Support Children’s Sensory Breaks Without Overwhelm. Children need the same sensory breaks, but how are we supposed to encourage them to take them if they won’t hear our voices or let us guide them to what they need? Instead of talking to them, show them! Read The Full Blog

"Ask An Autism Mom" Live Show on Sensory System

  • Week 1: Common Issues With Sensory Systems
  • Week 2: Strategies For Dealing With The Sensory System

Episode Highlights:

"So you see kids react differently to sound and to things they see. You're seeing that is kind of a reaction to their sensory system. So a lot of their behaviors that they're showing or demonstrating is actually caused by that input from their surroundings.... overstimulated kids are the ones that are seeking to like retreat out of the room or kind of go off in a quiet corner, or they're melting down because they don't know what to do..."

Transcript:

Speaker 2: Hey everyone, I'm back. As you know, I'm Jen Eggert of lakikid's ask an autism parent and again this month we are discussing knowing the sensory system and this week we are getting into common issues with the sensory system. So I want to thank all of you for joining us today.

Speaker 2: It is an off day for us, Normally we're on Thursday but this week we are on Wednesday. For the whole month. We will be on Wednesday. I am excited to welcome Jeana to the show.

Speaker 2: I'm just waiting for her to come up on this screen. There she is. Hi Jeana. Thank you and welcome.

Speaker 3: Thank you for having me

Speaker 2: Rose. Welcome to today's show. Angela, I knew you'd be coming, I want to thank everyone for joining us. Like I said, I am so excited about learning more about the sensory system and this week getting into common issues with the sensory system. So Jeana, let's start with why do people struggle with this topic so much Why is a sensory system such a struggle, especially for our children

Speaker 3: So everybody is unique in that doesn't exclude our bodies and how they're made and how they interpret kind of our work. And so you see kids react differently to sound and to things they see and to noises. and you're seeing that is kind of a reaction to their sensory system. So a lot of their behaviors that they're showing or demonstrating is actually caused by that input from their surroundings.

Speaker 2: Now what are some of the signs, I know everyone is unique in every child and body handles things differently, but what are the common, signs that a person can be struggling that you look for?

Speaker 3: So there's two real big differences. There's a kids that are overstimulated and then there's kids that are under-stimulated and they look completely different. So these kids, you know, kids can be both at different times of the day and in different outings and experiences and situations. So you just have to kind of know what to look for when they're understimulated. This is usually missed by a lot of people because those kids are usually calm. Oh, I mean under-stimulated they're running around and they're trying to get attention. Sometimes people say they're attention seeking but they're not, they're just trying to wake their bodies up. So, and you still, you'll see kids that are running around or fidgeting or moving back and forth. I mean, I know you said that you had talked about the vestibular system last time. So a lot of that understanding Alation is kids that need more input in the vestibular way. Also the tactile way ,that touching, the Patty, that sort of stuff. And then that the overstimulated kids are the ones that are seeking to like retreat out of the room or kind of go off in a quiet corner, or they're melting down because they don't know what to do.

Speaker 2: Okay. We have one that actually leaves school and gets home, takes off his socks and go straight to the trampoline. And mom didn't realize until last month how important that was.

Speaker 3: Right, right. It's so important because he's been working so hard at school all day long to try to pay attention and try to stay calm and then you see that release when they come home. It's like all of this energy and they need to re regain that focus. And the way they do that is by taking Lutheran breaks, basically being a lot of those, a movement with the trampoline. I work with infants and toddlers especially, so it's totally different. But even just heavy work and carrying stuff back and forth. and just anything where you're, you're using your muscles is going to help those kids.

Speaker 2: I love Riley's teacher and I talk about it often, but she does this neat thing. The whole school does it, which I absolutely love. They do what's called brain breaks. Oh. They use the big board and the teacher plays music. Oh, they practice a little songs and do the little dance. Like they did the key key. They did the, what does the Fox say And it some, when she notices I'm getting to the point where they need that, she'll stop class and actually do a song or two and then she finds that the focus comes right back.

Speaker 3: Right. It just kind of reenergizes you.

Speaker 2: And another thing that they're actually noticing that I'm recommending to all parents talk to your schools about, our kids are testing higher when they're given the brain breaks before a test. Yes. It's an amazing thing and people don't think about it, but Jeana, you realize that it is huge.

Speaker 3: It is huge. Even just that affects their attention span so much. If they have an opportunity to take a break and to enter, really increase their awareness and their entire body and that's what is happening when they take those movement breaks. They're like those songs, if they're hitting the drums or shaking instruments, you're seeing that, actively, their active response is to actually concentrate. so even for like little kids, if, if you're trying to get them to do something or to sit at dinner to eat or get in the car or something like that, then it having them do one of those really active activities before those types of transitions, they will most likely cooperate with that a little bit better because their bodies are, are ready to engage.

Speaker 2: Right. I'm just going to jump to the comments for a minute. Hi everyone. Thank you. many of you know, I am on medical treatments for a rare disease. My hair was falling out so I took it off at my own desires. So yes, there's a big difference this week than there has been in the last few shows. I know we have Stephanie watching, Stephanie's excited. She does a lot of these sensory things through the school district. She works for. I just want to bring up the fact that she has mentioned something called go noodle. You can go to Jason, just put on the screen. It's www.gonoodle.com. It is free to use, you can use it at home or at school. The teachers can use it at school. Again, Jeana, you know, every resource available is wonderful to have.

Speaker 3: Yes. And you know what could work, Wendy, for your child thing. Kathy interested in it the next day or even hour by hour, which we all know, you know, and as they grow something that works for them and they were two, is going to look different when they're five or six or seven. So having a whole bunch of different resources is very,

Speaker 2: when they hit puberty, it's even better.

Speaker 3: Yeah.

Speaker 2: We hit puberty and I'm not liking it. Chris mills says that she's a school bus driver, that she has kids who removed their socks and shoes on the bus. Again, it's that break. They need that they've been cooped up all day and they need that chance to just release. And for some removing their footwear is Riley doesn't she walk in the door, choose come off, socks come off.

Speaker 3: Right, right. It's just if you think about when you're in a room, and I don't know if we're gonna talk about this later, but in a room and you in your, you're so intensely focused on something and all day you try to keep yourself together because you know the expectations of this situation and it's really, really hard for you to do that. And so when you have any second where it's kind of of rules and the environment is let out, you're going to just relax. And part of that's what you're seeing on the bus is the kids are like, okay, I'm out of school now. This is just my kind of way of

Speaker 2: now. Chris actually recently left school for an ABA center and is thrilled because they gave lots more movement breaks through the ABA and you will find that traditional schools have to follow a set curriculum. They have to follow all these rules and guidelines and they don't always have time to throw those movement breaks in where OBA follows a more relaxed high move frame because they concentrate more on the task then the time

Speaker 3: and they're more focused on the individual children first with the class as a whole. And I think that EBA or whatever kind of you have an IEP and they're giving extra support. Students in the class having that as part of their IEP, it's a really good idea. Just say we want to make sure that these breaks are built into their day somehow, either if they're overstimulated or under-stimulated and so that they can come back and focus. And a lot of teachers are really good about identifying when that's happening. and having an aid or having somebody support them,

Speaker 2: right And parents, I want you to know that you can do that. You can request, like Gina said, these movement breaks in the IEP and like I always say, do not be afraid to ask for something in the IEP. If you really feel it will help. The worst they can do is say no, but at least you can open up a conversation and maybe eventually they'll say that see that you were right

Speaker 3: for an IEP goal. It's an goal. So you want to increase your child's attention span for X amount of minutes or whatever. And so to do that we need to give them breaks and it can be more often than gaming and the goal would be to decrease that. But at least having that in there.

Speaker 1: Tell me how they're working towards that. Right

Speaker 2: now I have Anna who has a question.

Speaker 1: Yeah.

Speaker 2: my child has autism and lately he spins a lot. Should I let him do it or try and stop him and why does this happen

Speaker 3: that's, that is him trying to write clearly himself. That is a total normal. Bernard's isn't that the typical thing that you could see if he is, is he doing it at home or it's cool or if you know what

Speaker 2: it does not specify, Anna, if you can specify if this is at home or at school. But my take on this has always been, if they're not hurting anyone and they're not disrupting major things, then I'm going to let it happen because she's doing it because she needs it.

Speaker 3: Right. Right. And if it's something where, if it's for some reason, summers where she can't do it or if she will be her, that's the kind of thing where you want to identify another outlet where she can get some of that sensory input. So if for some reason the spinning isn't, isn't a good, not a good time for that, maybe jumpy or maybe, you know, kind of squeezing a squishy ball or freezing, you know, there's other ways that you can get input. but if that be, she's seeking that out, so if it's spinning or something else, somehow we need to give that to her and give her options. I don't know how old she is.

Speaker 2: She hasn't answered back, so she may be busy.

Speaker 3: Okay. But you know, depending on her age and and stuff like that, there's different techniques you can give her to redirect her

Speaker 2: no, I just want to jump to the bottom to Jason's question. When will toddlers be on the topic again Jason every topic that I have lined up for the next while is good for all age groups. Jeana actually is primarily working with early education, toddlers, preschoolers and she at the end we will link you to a website where you can actually find activities that may help you with your son. knowing your situation a little bit. You may want to check out her website, which I will give at the end of the show where she'll talk more about different things. She has blogs on it, but she is actually into early education and early so she would be great for you.

Speaker 3: What do we know what areas that he's asking about for toddlers if their sensory?

Speaker 2: it's a little bit of everything. His son is nonverbal so it's a little bit of everything. Now I want to go back

Speaker 3: is that I, that's all I do is zero to apply for my professional life

Speaker 2: lot to say Jason's son is four. Okay. Jason, correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure he's four. now I want to get to Cindy because this is a PR or a teacher's perspective. As a teacher understand students who have sensory needs. It is frustrating when trying to help another student maybe from another class who is struggling. Often the teacher punishes to behaviors instead of realizing that they need breaks. The teacher is actually the one being stubborn and not educating themselves as opposed to the students. I'm going to jump in here. This is where in kindergarten we struggled badly to the point where the teacher was bullying my daughter because she was not the round peg fitting into the round hole. So I actually had her moved from that teacher to a teacher who was a bit more experienced, not hurting in her first year and who was good at dealing with children with different needs and who needed these breaks. She's actually who introduced me to bro brain breaks as she calls them. So thank you for being a teacher who stands up for our children.

Speaker 3: Yeah. And as you know, I spent many years as a teacher. the resources are minimal. So I think that that's also part of the problem, when you'd see a lot of the teachers during spawning that certain way. So, that's what I brought it back to the IEP or the ifs and trying to get some more support for your kids because really as a teacher you can only do so much cause what you're being given. So I think that yes, they need to be educated more, but also I think they need more support to allow them to do that.

Speaker 2: They do actually. for those who don't know right now, Canada is trying to take away educational assistance. Yes. my, I'm, my family is there and my nieces and nephews having gone to school a full week in about a month because they're striking because these special needs children are not getting what they as an aunt to a little boy who started school with a severe speech impediment and needed that extra help. It really bothers me. And of course if I had Riley in that environment, she would not thrive in the environment they're trying to create. They are going for the cookie cutter mold. You sit at your desk, you don't move, you don't talk, you get recess twice a day and you get lunch. That's it. That's your only breaks. And if you need help, you can't ask the teacher because she's too busy teaching. So you have to ask the EA and EA can no longer help you because they're cutting up. So we need to take in mind school and the way that they are set up, because not all schools are the same. Not all school districts are the same.

Speaker 4: No,

Speaker 3: not all States either.

Speaker 2: Yes. Commented, yes. My son has to be moved to a different school because they couldn't handle him. Angela, one of our friends, one of my friends on the show, she had to move to a lifestyles or a life skill school. So it's not only the school, but it's us as parents I think. And I think you'll agree that we have to change our mindset and find the best educational plan for our child if it does involve changing.

Speaker 3: Yeah. And I mean it's different state by state, but there's different, I feel like now, today there seems to be more options as far as where to send it. The cylinder schools and charter schools and public schools. I mean, and the charter schools, I believe here they're within the district.

Speaker 2: They're funded.

Speaker 3: But there, there's just if you, but then again, you know, if you're in an area that's more rural, maybe you don't have all those options. and we need to look more at, at what we can do to support the kids in the classroom. And that's where I think that giving the teacher more education.

Speaker 2: See I had the choices here of a charter school, a two charter schools that just opened and everyone's like, your daughter's special needs jumped on this. And I looked at their curriculum, I looked at their, how they run the school and it was not appropriate for my child. She is thriving in public school. Not everyone does, but she was thriving. So I left her.

Speaker 3: Yeah, every child, totally different.

Speaker 2: So you're going to see them thrive in different environments. Jennifer, yes, you can do a BA with no school, but usually most States make you homeschool your child. So they do get educational hours. So please check that out for your state as it does vary state to state.

Speaker 3: And some States you can go through your insurance as a supplement.

Speaker 2: Yes, yes. Now I have more questions for Jeana, but I just want to read Stephanie's thing because I know she's jumping off the feed in a minute. She has to go be mom. but because she works in the educational field, I want to read this. This is a common statement that we place in the IEP. Accommodations and modifications. Student name will be provided. Sensory tools and opportunities that provide deep pressure, proprio septic input as well as calming environments and strategies to sell to support his self regulation needs these items, breaks and spaces will help with Seth with self regulation and attend attending issues. The occupational therapist will be able to help identify, consult and monitor these items, spaces and strategies with students, names team and staff. Guys, therapists. I'm pretty sure Stephanie. Correct me if I'm wrong. I'm pretty sure you are in occupational therapy. Copy that down please. You feel that would benefit your child. Copy that statement down and bring it to your IEP. Don't be afraid like we were talking about to say we need this so I'm going to stop the questions for a minute and jump to 'em.

Speaker 3: I was the for you Jeff. I was going to say ask when you, when you check out a school, they have an occupational therapist also because I know that like occasional therapists, very large demand right now and there's not enough of them,

Speaker 2: so not every school has one. We share one with enough with one other school. Yeah. There's just not enough therapists out there. There's not, unfortunately our school board, they don't do private one on one therapy. It's group therapy sessions because they just don't have the resources. Right. now I want to get into, before we run out of time, can the body trigger issues with the sensory system and what about the environment as a trigger?

Speaker 3: Right And so our in body respond to and sights and what we seeing what we hear differently. And that's usually the sensory behaviors that you're seeing. Is your child responding to. So, you know, what could be a dim light for us, could be a really, really bright light for them or a, or a soft sound on the radio for us could be like a disco ball. You know, I've, I've heard lots of different people explain how if your sensory system is really a sensitive, then things that we can, we can, ignore. other people cannot. So even like the car driving by or the plane flying overhead or the sun going down or that sort of stuff can really trigger people that are sensitive. And so I think that that's important when you're, when you're looking at the behaviors that's your kids are, are, are showing you track and see if some of those things are happening right before they re they, you know, have that reaction.

Speaker 3: Because one of the families I had couldn't figure out what was going on every Thursday, why their kids would freak out, come to find out the garbage truck started down the street, but they could hear it and it was scary and they responded and they couldn't stay. You know, they were non verbal at that time. They couldn't say and they were just responding to sounds. And as adults we ignore it, use student sound and then they didn't acknowledge it until after awhile they started tracking what was happening at that time and they realized, Oh that garbage truck is extremely loud. So my child and I need to make sure that either we're out of the house at that time or I have some other noise on in the house or I have some other kind of coping strategies. I that that's really important when you're looking at Abby Xavier's environment.

Speaker 2: I agree. I'm Riley this year on Tuesdays they were the worst days. She'd always come home saying it was her worst day ever. And I started communicating with the teacher what changes on Tuesdays and nothing changed. But they have what they call specials, music, library and stuff like that. Art, they only go to once a week. On Tuesdays they had music. And when question, she did admit music was too loud, it was too much. So the principal quickly said, we're removing her tomorrow out of music cause it was a Monday and she said, I'm not going to school tomorrow. So I called the principal immediately. Nope, we're moving her. What does she want My daughter being my child picked library who loves her books. So, I mean that's a really good example too of you got to kind of go with what they need and don't be afraid. Now I just want to say that, Stephanie did admit yes, she is an OT.

Speaker 3: sounded like it.

Speaker 2: Yes. She was actually one of our OTs that really helps with, she made a post in group today about our topics. Then I'm like, that's what we're talking about tonight. I forgot, excited. She wanted to come, but I know she had to leave now.

Speaker 2: question about oral fixation. How can I help him We do it in ABA class, car or home. Dana, can you please maybe give us a little bit more information on that because that was hard to answer. Jenna, do you have an idea on that one or

Speaker 3: like eating a lot or sacking on things or what is he doing

Speaker 2: I am scrolling to see if she posted anything else about it. Just give me a moment folks. Putting fingers in the mouth.

Speaker 3: Yeah, so putting, so that's that, that's that thing where he is getting something from that. Usually it's sucking. So if there's a something you can replace that with either drinking, I dunno how old he is either, but drinking out of a straw or really sucking really hard like thick things.

Speaker 2: I want to say between four and six.

Speaker 3: Okay. So like smoothies or those vibrating

Speaker 2: yeah, vibrating teething rings,

Speaker 3: hydrating teething ring stick, things that fit in the back of their mouth. I'm like getting something to replace that.

Speaker 2: We used to use silicone straws.

Speaker 3: Silicone struggle. That's a good idea. Yeah. Yeah. But even setting a really thick smoothies, sometimes that helps because that uses your whole mouth. Your whole oral loader is incorporated in drinking and sucking out of smoothies. So if, if that's something that you can do and to have that as an offer from him throughout the day, especially when he's getting ready to stick his fingers in his mouth, that might be a replacement.

Speaker 2: I agree. Alicia, I asked that you please post your question in group, it's a little bit different than tonight's topic. How can we approach the potty training situation for older kids So please post that in our parents support group and I will make sure that it is addressed in there. I have done on that before so we can link you to those.

Speaker 6: Mmm.

Speaker 2: Let me go through. Angela says we've had better luck over the years with younger teachers being more flexible in expectations of perceived behaviors. I actually have had the opposite effect. Brand new teachers for me have come in very rigid where a more experienced teacher has been more, let's just go with the flow. They've seen it so many times that they've kind of learned to deal with it.

Speaker 6: Mmm Rose.

Speaker 2: I agree. Educational important. Our educational assistants are so important that most of our children would be lost if they have one now and they took them away. Riley's kindergarten educational assistant spent, was there for the entire class and probably spend about 50% of her day with Riley and it really shows we are friends. Her daughter is in Riley's class again this year. So we were recently at her daughter's birthday and she said that she's so proud of how Riley has come so far. We have actually taken away the IEP because Riley is advanced to that point. And she said, I'm just so proud. I said, well you were a huge part of that cause she gave her skills.

Speaker 6: Mmm,

Speaker 2: Cindy, you're right. She's been teaching for 21 years and she's seen it all at different age levels and years of experience. It doesn't matter. Shannon, thank you for my hair. yes, Chris is going to homeschooling kindergarten with ABA. That's what I thought she was doing. So now I want to jump to our last question folks and then I'll jump back to you guys. Why do our bodies respond differently to sensory stimuli

Speaker 3: Oh, that is a good question. and I'm just going to go back to saying that everybody is completely different. And so I think that something that could be, you know, something, a typical sound or a typical, typical experience for one person is going to be different to somebody else. And I think that it just depends on your own unique interpretation of outside stimuli and how you have figured out how to cope, how to cope with that. And really it's learning about coping mechanisms, something that you don't have when you're young. And that's what you're talking about, AZA and stuff like that and trying to teach your body different strategies to respond to different, different sensory stimuli. And I think, yeah, I don't think that there's, I'm sure there's a whole bunch of science behind that. I'm not an occupational therapist, but I'm sure that everybody is completely made differently.

Speaker 3: And you know, your nervous system is what is responding to this sensory stimuli. And so even if you want to talk about tactile stuff, even with touch, some kids like to be squeezed, some kids don't like to be touched at all. Some kids like to touch Plato, some don't. Some kids like sand, some kids don't. I mean it's so different, that I think that our bodies just responded, cope to thing. And that's where you use some of those learned helping strategies to learn how to teach your body, to respond to those, to those things.

Speaker 2: Now, let me jump back to the questions from the audience. Angela, I agree. We've had some amazing season educators over the years who've gotten there through experience. We've also had some that were very unyielding and, and I think that comes not only with education that comes in every field that you come across. So

Speaker 3: nothing is life experience.

Speaker 2: Exactly. Melinda says that my son is six and just started sucking his fingers again. Come to find out he lost his first tooth. So I think he may be sucking his fingers due to the feeling of the teeth coming loose or it could be Melinda, it could be possibly trying to fill that gap, which is for us, we don't realize when we have a tooth missing, we don't sit there and go, my mouth feels weird. It's missing. He may Gina do agree that he may be trying to replace that missing part of him in his opinion.

Speaker 3: Yeah. I mean, as a six year old, I'm sure he feels it and it might not. It might be more so that he feels it with his tongue and he feels, you know, when you move your time with your times in your mouth all the time and he's feeling that it's missing. so, or, yeah, he could be doing that. I, I think it's more so that he's feeling that it has changed and he's trying to figure out why the feeling is different or why there's a hole there that wasn't there before.

Speaker 2: Exactly. Yeah. Angela found a new chewy tonight made out of cloth wrapped around t-shirt materials. Her son does color chewing. Okay. So I'm excited that you found that Angela. I think that'll really hope help. Oh, in dealing with that now Anna asks my, my kid is going crazy every time I try to help him brush his teeth, but he doesn't want to do it by himself. And he's six honestly. we've recently seen the dentist and they said a child should still be receiving help brushing their teeth til they're closer to eight to 10, because they can't get all of, they don't know to get all of the different parts of their teeth. We for a long time struggled. I let her pick her own toothbrush, toothpaste, anything to get her to brush. I found songs on YouTube about brushing teeth, everything. Finally now the last while I went away in January and my mom was with the children and I came home and you call bedtime and 10 minutes from Riley runs to the kitchen, grabs through toothbrush and goes and brushes them. So I don't know how my mom did it, but I will ask her and find out because literally in two days she had my child going from never brushing her teeth to being told 10 minutes before bed and her teeth are clean.

Speaker 3: And have you tried the vibrating They have the little kid vibrating toothbrushes and sometimes that will help.

Speaker 2: And they actually, the dentist told me that they're good for younger kids, especially because they don't know how much pressure to put and they clean more, especially those back teeth that don't get as much attention as the most kids will only go for this little part of their mouth. So Melinda, I was right, he tries to put goldfish in this space. So I think the finger sucking is trying to fill that space. Some Linda, anything to fill that space. I mean silicone straws, anything to give him that oral, stimulation again.

Speaker 2: now Angela, we are struggling with unintentional eye contact being hurtful. We don't even force eye contact. Is there anything we can do to help

Speaker 3: so when you say mentionable eye contact, you mean he's staring at

Speaker 2: well for a long period of time. Angela, if you could, expand on that a little bit. I know that Angela's personal standpoint, Gina, to give you a little bit more information is they do not force eye contact. She does not believe in forced eye contact. she is a mom with sensory issues herself. So she is a little bit more in tune with how her child is struggling. So I think, I think what she's referring to is when catch his eye, it is disturbing for him and he looks away and he finds it hurtful and looks away. I'm pretty sure that's what she's referring to. I know if I'm wrong she will correct me. but I think that's the issue. Is there anything that she can do to assist him with that

Speaker 3: Well, it sounds like she's not wanting to encourage the eye contact.

Speaker 2: She encourages, she just does not force.

Speaker 3: Okay. You know, with eye contact it's, I feel like if a child is responding but not making eye contact but responding to a question or prompt that's similar for a child with, with autism then and overstimulation with the visual component is a big deal. And if he's not wanting to look somebody in the eye, that could be what's happening.

Speaker 2: and that's exactly the situation is exactly like you just said.

Speaker 3: And so a lot of times, you know, like speech therapists like put things near their mouth. Like when they, when they say Apple and they put the Apple near their mouth or you know, or they do doggy and they sign doggy, they kind of do it up near their face so they imitate and see how their mouth being formed and that can help just over time make eye contact more playful and just the kid

Speaker 2: now she did elaborate. When they accidentally make eye contact he becomes very distressed and cries.

Speaker 3: So, so are you want to find ways to help calm him down when he gets me Well I have lots of ideas for that that are calmed down when we get overwhelmed.

Speaker 2: Angela, I just want to warn you in two weeks we're doing a whole show on, I will spill the beans a little bit. His name is soothing Sammy. He is Riley's current best friend. So we will get into that more in two weeks. Angela. and you can post in group and I will hook you up with Gina and you guys can talk more because that is very specific to your son and Angela is a lip reader.

Speaker 3: Okay. Okay. And what I want to make sure that you,

Speaker 3: I want to make sure that you respect him, why he doesn't want any guy contacts are, and when he's upset and overwhelmed, just giving him things to help him calm down in a way that is simple for him is a great idea. So drinking a glass of water or crunchy snacks or, or something where you're able to redirect him if he has a lovey that he loves. I think that that's really important and I think that the more consistent you are with that, the easier it is going to be for him to calm down when he does get upset. If you have that same, one or two, interventions to give him every time, you're going to see him learn pretty quickly that he he is okay. And then

Speaker 2: that's actually a really good idea for a lot of situations. Give those two, one or two reinforcements and then let them use them. So then eventually they, like Riley now does it on her own. So folks, I want to thank you all for joining us. Unfortunately we ran over, which sometimes happens, but I want to thank Gina. Thank you for joining us. everyone, I want to thank for joining us to subscribe for updates to join us for live, to join us live. If you type five in our, group chat now we will subscribe you to live updates. And also don't forget we have a parent support group that we would love to have you join where we get more in depth to these questions and answers and parents give their opinions. We have different professionals in there. Gina, I'm not sure if you're in there, but you're welcome to join. so we really have that. We have a sensory deal group and Gina, do you want to talk about what you have

Speaker 3: Yeah. Thanks for having me. And I have a, I have a website that has a variety of Playbase educational activities that teaches to kids, with a variety of different learning languages. So it's all play based. So I have that on my website. and a bunch of blogs, talking about the full bunch of different topics. So you guys can head over there if you want to see any of that.

Speaker 2: No, I'm going to ask Jason. There we go. Jason, just put it up on the screen folks so you can see her website, to our father Jason, that was watching earlier asking about the toddlers. This is a great website for you to get more information and really work more on the toddler side. She, she does all ages, but her specialty is toddler and preschool years. So thank you all, for joining us. I will see you again. Remember this month we are off because of Gina's work schedule. We will be Wednesdays at 4:00 PM, Pacific time or 7:00 PM Eastern. So join us next Wednesday and we get into more, let me jump real quick. Shoo. Next Wednesday we are talking about strategies for dealing with the sensory system. So join us next week for that and remember, until next time, empower support and educate. Bye.

Episode Highlights:

"You know, when you transition kids into using some sensory strategies when they are feeling upset or overwhelmed and they're really starting to act out. A lot of times we, misinterpret beahaviors or when we think kids are actively trying to be naughty quote on purpose, when in actuality they're overwhelmed and they're trying to find a way to, really regulate their system. So that's where the sensory system comes into play and the best way to do that and is to find out which of the strategies best support your child."

Transcript:

Speaker 1: Oh, there we go. Hi, I'm Jen Eggert of Lakikid's ask an autism parent. This month our focus is on sensory strategies. Today we'll be discussing different sensory strategies and when to use them with Jeana. I can't wait to discuss this topic with you, but first, let's watch a quick video from Lakikid. Okay.

Speaker 2: And I want to show everybody this is a great fidget tool. If you've got a kid that really struggles with keeping their hands to themselves, this is awesome. So this is a marble maze. This all three of these things are very Lakikid I should say. This is a marble maze. So they sewed amaze in here and let me see if I can find the marble.

Speaker 2: Oh, it's right here in the piece. Okay. So you're gonna to push it along, squeeze it out, and go along the maze. And I can attest to the, this being really fun and kind of addicting in a good way. It keeps your hands busy and keeps you wanting to do stuff. each side has kind of a different texture to it. So those tactile seats, yours are really gonna enjoy it. It's also, believe it or not, proprioceptive input as you squeeze that ball along cause it's kind of tight. It's, it's doable but it's tight. So you have to push with your hands while you get appropriate susceptive input and you just, it's like infinity so you can keep doing it forever and ever and ever. And it keeps us hands busy. This is a good one for a car ride too. If your kids are close enough that they can touch each other and they're constantly touching each other. Right.

Speaker 3: We keep you busy.

Speaker 1: Thank you all for joining us today. I'm so excited to break down sensory strategies and when to use them with you and with our guests, Jeana. So now I'll wait for Gina to come on and we will get started. Hi Gina. Welcome. So today we're discussing sensory strategies and when to use them. first I want to start with what are the most common sensory strategies?

Speaker 4: Well, a lot of times you see, kids and occupational therapists in the classroom interview strategies like taking a breath or using a squishy ball or swinging a little bit understood related

Speaker 4: then a role from whatever is going on around, such as like if they have a really noisy environment and you're the little bit of a break to kind of move them into an area that's a bit more pointed and then use a variety of sensory strategies that will really, calm the nervous system. And I mean, that is what's really helpful to adults dope and kids when you become overwhelmed.

Speaker 1: Exactly. I just want to say that this week. Hi Angela. Hi Jennifer. I want to say that this week we have actually been using a product that you made that we'll get into later. for those of you that know Riley lost her best friend this week. So sensory strategies have been heavily on my mind because as Jeana and I and most of you know, during times of emotional stress, sensory strategies become even more important. Now, Jeana, how do we know when to use sensory strategies?

Speaker 4: You know, when you transition kids into using some sensory strategies when they are feeling upset or overwhelmed and they're really starting to act out. A lot of times we, misinterpret beahaviors or when we think kids are actively trying to be naughty quote on purpose, when in actuality they're overwhelmed and they're trying to find a way to, really regulate their system. So that's where the sensory system comes into play. and the best way to do that and is to find out which of the strategies best support your child. And I think that that is so important that every child is unique, and every child, they all respond differently to different sensory components. So if your child is, like to rock it to calm down, or if they like quiet space to calm down, or sometimes children drink smoothies out of a straw that calms them down or something tactile, like squishy balls or stretchy band. So there's just so many different ways that kids can use materials to help their internal sensory system.

Speaker 1: And I just want to say you were talking about kids when they're overactive. We see it as naughty when it could be sensory strategies. Say that Riley, instead of being overactive, she tends to close herself off and we have to recognize that that is also a time where they could use more sensory strategies because they don't know and she closes herself off so that she doesn't feel right. And that's a key thing I want to mention. Just it doesn't always work. You have to know your child,

Speaker 4: you do have to know your child. And every child responds to situations completely differently. and I know we talked about this last time. What they, how they respond in one situation may be totally different in another situation. And I think that if we, if we know our children and how they're responding, that will help us determine what strategies are best for your child in every day situation. We out in the community or at home, is very important to remember. So yes, there's under-stimulated and overstimulated and it's going to be there.

Speaker 1: I just want to say to anyone, if you have questions, type them in the comments section so that we can address your questions. Tonight is the last night with Jeana talking sensory strategies. So we want to make sure all of your questions get answered. So please let us know if you do have questions. Angela White says I wrap up in a blanket and close in. Angela is the parent of an autistic child and also deals with a lot of sensory and similar traces, children as adults with autism,

Speaker 4: right Yes, definitely. I mean that that appropriately or you're feeling that appropriate stuff when you're wrapping up in a blanket is that pressure against your muscles in your body, that's calming you down

Speaker 1: and especially when you have a soft blanket or the texture you like, it gives even more.

Speaker 4: Right Right. Definitely.

Speaker 1: Angela says that her son jumps, that's his thing.

Speaker 4: Yes. That vestibular system. Yeah, that's huge.

Speaker 1: And I know we have one mom who son, the minute he gets home, he's socks off on the trampoline.

Speaker 4: Yup.

Speaker 1: He never really understood it until we discussed sensory systems that he was seeking something. She always thought he just was running home and wanted to play. Now she looks at it differently.

Speaker 4: That's his calming strategy. How you self regulate and kids over time learn what's best for their personal sensory system, and you're seeing that if they run to the trampoline every single time they go home, they have learned that after a day at school that's the thing you need to do to self regulate.

Speaker 1: Exactly. And I'm so excited about our talks about sensory system and last month our talks with an OT about similar but more hands on sensory strategies. I really think I'm really excited because parents are seeing what their children are doing, are not, these behaviors are not just them going out and being silly. It's actually strategies that they have built for themselves.

Speaker 4: Right. And it's purposeful. Yes. Really purposeful and intentional

Speaker 1: and that's a huge difference that we have to make as parents. Is this a behavior or is this a purposeful need?

Speaker 4: Right. Exactly. Exactly.

Speaker 1: Now I want to talk about something that you created. You created this sweet little soft party with an amazing book. Do you want to talk to us about that?

Speaker 4: Yeah, I do. So as I created, this said, it's called Soothing Sammy and you just put it up and it is teaching kids how to use a variety of different objects to address their need that different parts of the day. So if they're over stimulated or under stimulated, soothing Sammy is a way to communicate to them in a simple visual way that they can understand how to use some of those sensory strategies to calm down. And that's exactly what we're talking about. Where you are talking about squeezing balls and taking drinks and, and listening to songs or looking at pictures and using a lot of those, the visual and auditory and the vestibular and her receptive ways to calm down. And the best way to do that is to have a spot in your house where kids can go to enable in order to access materials that help them calm down. And so that's what soothing sammy does. and so students say, I don't know if you want me to talk about it in the book or

Speaker 1: it's up to you if you want to read us a small section.

Speaker 4: Right So what happens is, like kids when they feel upset or overwhelmed, they go visit Sammy who's a golden retriever and it's a little dog house. And all these pictures are very, very simple and the words are very

Speaker 4: to keep it less overwhelming and less overstimulating for children. So what the program is teaching him in Sammy's house, they have all of these things that help them calm down like a drink, a snack to crunch a ball to squeeze. And when kids see the kids in the book doing these things, is a visual cue for them to know that they can also do those And so when kids don't have a lot of that receptive language skills yet, they may not understand you when you say, Hey, why don't you go squeeze a ball or get a drink of water.

Speaker 4: Or they're in this time frame where they're not really hearing what you're saying. Having some of these visual tools will help. And so that's the purpose of Sammy is, is to communicate to the kid. These are things we can use to calm down, in a variety situation.

Speaker 4: And so what you do with Sammy in the back of the book, there's instructions on how to build a Sammy house for Sammy. And that's what you use the plush dog and you build a half of it on an empty box or a container. And I have three different versions here and you know like with the items that are assessed in the book, like the ball to squeeze and a song to hear. And that's what Sammy lives in. So this is the box that Sammy comes in, some of the families, just use this box to build Sammy's house. And I have some things in here, like a place did gel. This is just like a place mat I got at the dollar store, but it's not slippery to put it on the floor and the kids can jump or they can go visit things out. And we grabbed a picture out or one of those wishing balls that you haven't.

Speaker 4: I have another one that's great. Just an empty crates and that could be for standing house and to put your child's favorite cup in so they know that they can get a drink of water and that that's another ball. There's the washcloth they can use to wipe their face or get it cold and put it on their face to calm down. And there's a CD in here. They want to listen to a song. And then there's baskets. Some people use gear also with baskets and put the dog in. but it's something that being mindful of is that even though there's about 10 or 12 different calm down strategies in the book, sometimes having too many options in a box could also be overwhelming. Right So Sammy comes with it. Can you see this behind me There's a cringe. Maybe show us a little better.

Speaker 4: It's if you can see, let's see here. There's a printout of all the different things that real kids are doing. You see that great care squeezing up all up here, looking at pictures of flower, using a washcloth, jumping that if kids want to request something, they can point to one of these pictures or if you're using the pet system or something else, you can use that instead. But create an if then chart with words or like what I did is I even put cut them out and laminate them and put them on a key ring and put them in Sandy's house for a child to request what they're actually interested in using the calm down. So you can limit that to two or three options, put them in and they can pick out the pictures and hand them to you to show you what they need to calm down with.

Speaker 4: Or you know, your child best. And maybe they do this with the jumping and you want to have Sammie's house up here with Sammy the dog in the book in it and then the place mat or jumping in front of them so they know automatically that they can go jump there to calm down. And so it's, it's a way for kids to understand visually what their body needs to do, to be able to regulate them. And you can use that in a variety of situations. The best part about Sammy is that you could have a box for the car, you could have a house at home, you can have a house that wherever, and if you Sammy, they see a picture of Sammy or they see the Sammy dog.

Speaker 4: Know that, that's what the sammy box is for. I think that's the most important thing is kids, especially with autism, with the communication delay or sensory, need that they need very visual and very hands on ways to learn all these new strategies. And that's what Sammy does. That's what I listen for. Certain things that to take away from this is that we need to break things, skills up in a really small increments so kids can understand very simple steps and be praised for that. And once they're calm, talk about why they were sad and, and move on to the next part of your day.

Speaker 1: And I just want to say, this week Riley's whole class has been dealing with the difficult situation I explained earlier and her teacher actually had a huge setup of different areas with sensory strategies knowing that most of the children in her class are neurotypical. There are a few like Riley who have autism and she wanted them to have the skills that they needed and the tools they needed to get through the longest week of school that they will ever have to go through.

Speaker 4: Right. Exactly.

Speaker 1: And I think we, we need to look at it more than just at home, but involving our educational team.

Speaker 4: Right, right. And the nice part about something like, as Sanny said, is that if you want to introduce this as part of something they can use in the classroom, they can do that with like a picture I included with this is like a postcard of the front of what this looks like, just the front of the cupboard. And you can use that postcard wherever you are. And when kids see that, they automatically know what you're trying to convey to them. by using those calm down skills, I picked a dog because I feel like there's a lot of, support shots out there and it kind of goes together that he is he through to help support them and learn these new skills. and it's a positive experience. It's not a negative experience. And three, the kids go to his house and he gives them all these different tools and calm down and at the very end they're happy and running around and playing.

Speaker 4: and they go on to have a fun day at the very end. Right So it's not like, Hey, it's not like a timeout situation or something where it's negative. It's really a sensory break and a time to, to gather yourself and give your body what it's craving. so that you can move on with your day. And I think that that is one of the most important aspects of teaching our kids these sensory strategies is it's not a bad thing to do. It's something your body's asking for. And we're here to support them in a way that best meets their needs, both communicating with them. And actually that hands on interactive. what I think

Speaker 1: now, I know Sammy and his book do not come alone. Do you want to explain that?

Speaker 4: Sure. Yeah. So Sammy, that is good. So Sani will come with these downloads. You can print out if you want. And they also come with a curriculum, which I have on the wall over here, but it basically teaches you how to introduce Sammy to your child throughout,

Speaker 4: that is reading the book first and then decorating his house together. And then one by one adding those sensory items into the house with practicing what they're for. So squeezing the ball that day and then the next day crime's eating a crunchy snack and figuring out how that feels to them and if that calms them down, having that to their box. so it's over a week period. You're starting to add things to Sammy's house incrementally. So it's not like you just open a box and you throw a bunch of things in there and Sammy in there and then you put into the siding, expect the kids to know what to do with that. it's a very, laid out in a way that they will actually understand the concept about what it's for. And also Sammy comes with this. This is also a pronounced, that you can print out if you want to use it.

Speaker 4: And it's a, it's a chart and it has the red, the yellow and the green. And how they explain that is if your child is able to communicate with you and he's not, they do not want to feel, they don't feel ready to communicate. They're first they're upset, then they put Sandy's picture down there. See that picture down here You can go, they'll Crow or tape. And then when they are feeling a little bit better, they can move sand and get a yellow. This kind of needs, they're not really ready to talk here, but they're coming down. They're not really, they're not really overwhelmed. And then when they're ready to talk about what's going on, they can put it on the green one. And that's just there to signify to the adult, Oh, is it on the green one They're ready for me to come over to them.

Speaker 4: And they're ready for us to have a conversation. Another word for your child if they're not talking yet or if they don't have a lot of this community patients, you know, this is another visual way that they can communicate with you. a lot of times, you know, kids that are five, six or seven or eight or even older like this chart because this stops the parents from coming over saying, are you ready yet You want to talk now And they're like, I don't want to talk to you. Right. All right. So they can move Sammy up and down based on how they're feeling and when they're ready to have that talk. So that's also,

Speaker 1: I just want to say part of why I love this book so much guys, is because like she said, the language is extremely simple. So if your child is not verbal or is on the more profound side, they still get some understanding from it because it is made simply, but it's made in a way that they can understand.

Speaker 4: Right. And I can read your, I can read the first part of it if you want to. Okay. It just says, when I am mad, I visit soothing Sammy says, who understands me. In Sammy's house, There are so many things that helped me calm down. And then it starts talking about each thing as soothing drink, a ball to squeeze, a song to har, and a picture to see and keeps going. And it's very, very simple. And the reason why I had the illustrator make these with there isn't, if you notice there's one solid color in the background and the child doing the activity. So it's very calm. It's not overstimulating, there's not a lot of pictures on the walls or other

Speaker 1: Its very focused in on that one item.

Speaker 4: Exactly. So it was very, it was done in a way that, you know, kids can understand just by looking at that picture, what that child is doing. So when they look in the box and they find the ball and they see the little boy squeezing the ball, they know exactly what that ball is for.

Speaker 1: Yeah. And I want to say that everything in the book is wonderful, but some children, you may want to add other things to Sammy's house. It's not just limited to what's in the book.

Speaker 4: Exactly. And so in the back at the very end of the story, there's instructions on how to make Sammy's house and there's a whole bunch of ideas pages of things that are examples of things you can put in Sammy's house. And if there's anything extra that your child needs, if your child is when it needs things, the trampoline, then great. Put that Sammy's house right next to that trampoline. And this Sammy can have a trampoline in his house too. And that's totally fine. It doesn't have to be just what he has. but it goes through, you know, a student drink. He can put a child sized cup with water in it. A song to hear you can have a favorite CD or a toy that has a parent's voice recorded on it or a card, a picture cue card that the can give to you as a parent that they know that you'll play that favorite song on your iPhone, that they really need to hear. Or, a picture of a family member, like a mom or dad if that helps them calm down or a puppy or, I mean there's so many examples of things that speak to all of the different sensory components and in the back there's explains every single sensory area like tactile, what it means. And if you have a kiddo that is big on calming down when they're, then they touch, there's examples of what you can put in Sammy's house for those tactile,

Speaker 1: for tactile. Our Lakikid marble maze is actually a wonderful idea as well.

Speaker 4: that's a great idea

Speaker 1: because you simply work the marble, I'll show you the backside where you can see the maze better. You work the marble through the maze. So they're getting that tactile, but it's also calming. And I've noticed with Riley she'll go like this while she does it right. She's getting a double input.

Speaker 4: Exactly. Exactly. So when you look through this with your children and you read about each area and you find out which one your child identifies the most with which, which ones help them the best, and then use the information in here, like for auditory Sandy demonstrates this. Provide providing music thing and dance to, or olfactory is the sense of smell. You can use, you know, lotion, you can use essential oils, you can use candles with whatever sends off that smell. And so they're all broken up into sensory areas. If that is helpful to you. and you, and you want to look at those aspects for your children.

Speaker 1: Honestly, as a parent, that would, I think the first thing I flipped to was the back so that I could figure out what would be best for her when we were going through the book. Right. I went through and I looked at the tactile things that she enjoys and the ones that Sammy looks at and kind of built from there.

Speaker 4: Right, exactly. And, and Sammy, I mean when I, when I chose what would go in the Sammy book, I chose things that almost everybody would have just so that it would be easy and simple. But like you had said you could add more stuff to Sammy pals or switch and change that. But I wanted everyone to be able to access Sammy and it has this plan. So that's why I chose the ball and the cup to drink and the spot to jump on and, and I tried to make sure that there was something for every area, every sensory area and every sensory component is identified in something. One of the things they're doing. So it works for that child. They'll see another child. Awesome.

Speaker 1: Exactly. I'm going to run to the questions for a quick minute. Angela, I'm not sure if we can answer this question. I'll try, but if not I will post it to Matt and see. But Jeana, maybe you have any suggestions for the replacement of for w sitting,

Speaker 4: the replacement for W sitting? Yes. I mean Debbie is that, does he calm down when he's W sitting? He can sit in. Is that what you're

Speaker 1: Angela does Is that calming for him maybe or are you just looking to replace it as a whole because of the hips in the way it affects the hips She'll answer back in a minute. I know she will.

Speaker 4: I, I really those, those sensory balls are sensory maps that kids can sit on. That to me helps with W sitting a lot.

Speaker 1: Well in Lakikid we have, I don't have them with me, but we have the balanced ball chair and we have the wiggle seat. So those would change the way your child would sit and take them off of that w sitting right. Rose says, what a wonderful tool. Angela says this sounds great for young children and Melinda loves the pictures and how bright and clear they are.

Speaker 4: Yeah, my illustrator did a great job of, I explained to her what I needed and she did a really good job.

Speaker 1: She did. Now I know you have a website that we can go to.

Speaker 8: Okay.

Speaker 4: Me. Yes, I do. And I think Jason has that actually posted it right now. Yeah, he has a directly to actual Sammy the family page.

Speaker 1: And this link folks will bring you right to Sammy's page where you can order.

Speaker 4: Yeah. And it can look about it, order it and look into

Speaker 4: Yes. I don't know. The other component you wanted me to talk about was the emotions and feelings stuff.

Speaker 8: Okay.

Speaker 1: Yeah. If you want to kind of get into that a little bit for us.

Speaker 4: So, so there's, there's three parts to calming down, right When kids are feeling overwhelmed, first they have to identify the fact that they feel overstimulated and they need to calm down, which is part of our job as parents and professionals is to say, Hey, I think you need something. Right And it teach them that. So when they get older they can identify the thing and then do it independently. Right. Kind of move themselves into that. So the first is for them to identify how they're feeling. And then the second is to actually learn how to use different components to calm down. And the third is how do they communicate why they were feeling that way. And I think that is one component that we often miss is that's great that kids can stop and calm down on their own. So we need to come up with a way for them to communicate why and how.

Speaker 4: So next time they get stuck in that situation, they can get out of it before they become overwhelmed. And so I just agreed with you. Yeah. And yeah, and so that's why this emotions and feelings activities, this is sounds to you in digital format. and it's filled with a bunch of different way based hands on activities that teaches emotions and, and the words to use with them. So the, for this your kiddos have to be verbal, right I don't think there's any way around that for, for this particular part of it. but even the verbal, meaning they, they can use signs, they can use texts, they can use cue cards. But when the most important thing to know is that there are over 90 different motions that have been identified in the human realm of emotion. And that is a lot. So kids are up frustrated and overwhelmed.

Speaker 4: It's like we're trying to decode which of those 90 they are feeling and then that is not an easy task. And so these activities, take them through learning about each of those feelings and matching a feeling to a word so you can adapt any of these activities to using packs or, or words or signs or wherever your kids are at. But these were created for preschool age children. and I know we have some children that use system of communicating communication devices for them. Exactly. So, so that could work too. I just think the most important, the reason why I included this is because we need to remember that once the kids are calm, we want to be able to figure out a way that they can tell us why and how and how we can prevent that from happening in the future in whatever way that they are able to.

Speaker 4: these, I still, I have a bunch of learning activities on my website and this is actually one of those units that I pulled out of it cause it's about emotions and and just paired it with the soothign Sammy. So there's, there's hands on things like running. there's drawings, there's rolling around and then there's laughing and jumping and, and using, like green paper to say go and red paper to say, no. I'm not ready yet. And all sorts of things that, that use a variety of tools and learning languages. They help kids learn how to express their feelings in a way that we can actually help them. communicate. We can help them calm down so then you don't have to melt down. They can be redirected more easily, more subtly. So that's just, there's four components to the Sammy. There's the curriculum that comes with it, these activities, this Sammy dog and this thing. And then together you can see where, what is best for your child mentally and how you want to introduce the concept.

Speaker 1: I'm going back to Angela's question about w sitting. Yes. It's a sensory input that pulls on the outer leg muscles. I can get him to sit in different positions, but they don't give the input.

Speaker 4: Okay.

Speaker 1: And Angela, this is when we would say to use other things like a sensory ball or a wiggle seat or having him jump and stand up.

Speaker 1: these are going to tell you that w sitting is very bad for them.

Speaker 4: Yes. So yes, they were hoping to saying that. Yes. I like, you know, I went, I got this at Walmart at the dollar section and it's for jumping. It's a place mat. And I like it because it's visual and it gives the kid, there's a boundary, put it on the floor and they know they can just stand there and jump on and off of that as much as they want. and I think that that is so simple. Yeah. It works for, you know, that those large muscles for those kids that need that vestibular input and appropriate stuff did too. That's what she's talking about is the feeling of the joint pooling is learning appropriate protective stuff. So if you have a squishy ball even, but,

Speaker 1: Oh, it was very tactile. He's very, yeah, he's a very tactile and likes those big movements.

Speaker 4: Right, exactly.

Speaker 1: Angela said that your, emotions books sounds similar to Dr. Green's approach.

Speaker 4: I am not. probably, I know I can't comment and present on that. I haven't looked at that. But

Speaker 1: Dr. Green, it is when I was reading it, it is very similar to the approach that Dr. Green took.

Speaker 4: Okay.

Speaker 1: In helping children with autism by giving them different control. And that's what we're doing with Sammy. We're giving our children the control.

Speaker 4: Right but what Sammy does is create the idea of calming down come to life. It's like a, it's like a way to identify with something that I'm being taught as a child. I'm hearing it a lot and I'm seeing people telling me to do things and Sammy the book and the dog kind of bring that connected together in a way that kids can understand and identify with and they can think, Oh Sammy, Oh his kids when they go visit Sammy when they were, you know, not feeling muscle. I'm going to do this thing thing. And Sammy is this real life, not real life, but you know, real plush dog, that I can go touch his these and cuddle and hold. And, and he can help me feel better just like those kids there.

Speaker 1: He's also very soft. I mean I know you and I discussed the process of picking Sammy and it was not a simple process for you.

Speaker 4: It was not a simple process for me. You know, I have about 15 golden retrievers I have in my house and Sammy, why I picked this is because he is soft and cuddly and you have him in front of you, but he's safe for kids ages two and up, which is super hard to find. Usually it's three and up, and because chewing up, it's really hard to chew the eyeballs out. It's really hard to chew the nose out. and it's machine washable so you can, don't worry if they, you know, they lick it or whatever, you can put it in the washer. but Sammy is a very large enough that he actually looks like a, something I can use. It's not like a beanie baby. I think he's 12 inches long from toe down and y'all and he's eight inches high. You know, there was just a lot of thought that went into what is a young child going to see and how is this going to make it safe for them to use. and what is going to be easiest for the parents as far as keeping track of them. He's large enough, they clean and he is really kind of me. I need him. The whole goal is down. Sammy stay living in the house kind of. but half the kids end up sleeping with Sammy, real nice and cuddly that's fine if you want them to do that. But

Speaker 1: he's a great size for little ones and up because he is that perfect size in that his dimensions really like folks, he's the perfect size as you can see in my hands. He, his appropriate for all ages, like you said, to an up and that was important to you

Speaker 4: That was important to me. I wanted it safe for the little ones. That was my biggest, my biggest thing.

Speaker 1: Well, we know that

Speaker 4: giving sensory strategies is more effective when we start them as young as possible and build on them as they grow. Right. And you know, I've had some families ask me lately if they can use this with their 18 month olds or are there Nike levels and I tell them, you know, they're, they're really young to get this concept. You could start, I mean you can buy a Sammy kit and hold off to the like they're two to start introducing these things. But even just looking at the pictures and letting them hold Sammy, that's enough of an introduction. And Sammy on its own is a sensory component. He's squishy

Speaker 1: and soft. So I did that for a lot of kids. Love that for feeling

Speaker 4: exactly that for feeling is his ears will rip off cause there are some down.

Speaker 4: Yeah. So I mean you could introduce to them slowly as you need to with your child and any that's the most important part. These two together make it come alive and then you can add in, in the house when they're ready. And like we said before, you want to add in things slowly. That's where that the week long curriculum will open, I'm not seeing those. Oh. And then you add in the cards slowly, you know, start with one, then add another one, then add another one. And when your kids have identified what works for them, the best limited to those three that are in his house and so it's not overwhelming and not overstimulating for your child to see.

Speaker 1: Now I just want to cut in real quick and say that if you're looking for laminating but you don't have a machine, Walmart has the self laminating sheets you can buy.

Speaker 4: Yeah. And use the laminating machine is like $27 on Amazon and it was very, it's for one of those you can, because you know when you start laminating then you're going to want to eliminate everything because that's what I ended up wanting to do. Things last a lot longer that way. but the reason why you come digitally and I don't send them to you is because if something messes up, you have it, you can just reprint it.

Speaker 1: Exactly. Sorry, I was dealing with the tech technical difficulty or problem you.

Speaker 4: So yeah, you could just reprint however many of these you need. And it's super nice to have this in the car. Like I said before, I'm in a car, have them in your purse, have them hanging up on the wall at your house, how, you know, at grandma's house. And so the kids know exactly what these are for and easily identifiable.

Speaker 1: And you can also buy, you have them on the ring, you can buy the ring at most craft stores. And I believe Walmart sells the rings as well.

Speaker 4: They're just key rings. Yup. Neither key chain rings any will do. but yeah, it's just, I made so it would be super easy for you to implement and to teach your kids, you know, what they need, the strategies that they're so, and then you can put those in the house or hang them on the wall or make a little Sammy area in the bedroom if you want to. Or you can have them all in a box. The box that it comes with. Just keep it simple. Decorate the Sammy box, like

Speaker 1: you said, it could be as simple or as complex as you want and the decorating of the box I think is important for some of the kids. I know Riley, she likes the stickers in the certain colors and scented markers and

Speaker 4: exactly. Exactly. So that's why. Well there's a reason why I picked this box is because I have the Soothing Sammy on here so the kids know and then you can decorate it. It's a sturdy box. You can use this. Just cut the top off and use this as as the box for Sammy. Or if you want to get fancy, you can use a basket or crate stuck endings like to do that. If it's going to be in your living room and you want it in a basket,

Speaker 1: I'll go have the option of having a basket for the living room and one for the bedroom or the car.

Speaker 4: Exactly, and if there's not, you want to buy more than one dog. That's an option. Okay. You can order it. Let me know that when you check out and there's ad-ons you can add an extra dog on, you can add an extra book on. one thing I tell families is if you have more than one child and you think they both would want a house, I highly recommend having one dog for each child because having their own house is very, very important atmosphere. Five year old or seven year old Sammy house and using that as their Sandy house is not going to fare well with your seven year old

Speaker 1: well you may have a seeker and an avoider, so they would use totally different tools,

Speaker 4: really different schools. And it's also an idea, this is my Sammy house and this is my stuff that I gave this for. And then you can have your own Sammy has for you made for your, it just, there's a whole bunch of stuff that plays into that. But I think it's really important when you're teaching kids calm down strategies. I think it's really important for them to own their own space for that. And if it's their special special ball or their special lobby or they're special, I think it's really important that they don't have to share that with a friend. I think that that is just respectful for that child also kind of puts that the rules around that sibling, siblings stuff so that's always an option. If you need another Sandy or you buy one and you decide later you want another one. There's that option on the website so that's there. Cause I know that I get that question a lot from mom. They say Oh I wish I bought three of them because so you don't have to buy like three full sets of Sani fit. You could just,

Speaker 1: right. You could buy one book to share as a family and three dogs that they all get introduced to. Nope. Unfortunately we are at the end of our night. It is getting late here. It is almost bedtime for Riley. So Jeana, I want to thank you for joining us this month. I know it didn't work out. You were sick on week two. I was sick on week three. That's kind of been a messed up month, but I appreciate you coming and sitting with us and explaining Sammy. I really think he's an amazing tool for so many of our kids. And I want to thank all of you for joining us tonight. If you want to subscribe to join us live type five in our public chat and go from there. Angela. I will have him redo that. Jason, our link for the website is not working. If we can repost a working link, we will get to that. Remember this video will be saved. So will the comments. So if you do not get the, if we do not get the working link up right away, we will have it up as quickly as possible and we will post it in group because it's not working right now. So watch more of that than tonight.

Speaker 4: And I think you guys have questions. I'll be in the group for the next couple of days to answer questions and to help the links and stuff. So, yeah, so I if you have more questions that come up later you can just write a comment into the video and I'll come in and answer.

Speaker 1: Perfect. Some folks like she said if you need anything, Jason that link is still not working. We will post it in group. we'll make a separate post with soothing Sammie's link and I will go ahead and take Jeana in that post so if you have any questions for her she can kind of walk you through it and help you. So we will post that in group tonight as soon as I get Riley settled and I will tag Jeana and let her know. So again, if you want to subscribe, just put five in our chat right now to subscribe and don't forget we have a parent support group that we would love to have you join. Jeana is going to be there to answer questions and give advice. We also have other people that are in there that like we have Matt who is an occupational therapist assistant.

Speaker 1: We have different people in there to help you guys get the advice you need. We are also a very, positive group. I don't allow negativity, quite frankly. I've got enough going on in my life. If it's not positive, it's not for me. So thank you all. don't forget to check out our sensory deals group and have an amazing week and I will see you next Thursday at 7:00 PM Eastern time and we will actually be starting our month long discussion on parent advocacy, which I feel is extremely important. Until then, please remember, empower, support and educate by.

Sensory System Topic Expert

Jeana Kinne

Jeana Kinne, MA has spent over 16 years in the Early Childhood Education field. She has worked as a Preschool Teacher, Preschool Director, Preschool Consultant and with children with Special Needs. Jeana created JDEducational to guide parents in learning simple teaching techniques which keep their child engaged, excited to learn. She hopes that through learning and growing together, families will create life-long memories.

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It's Okay To Be Different | LakiKid Autism Awareness Shirt for Kids - LakiKid
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It's Okay To Be Different | LakiKid Autism Awareness Shirt for Kids - LakiKid
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It's Okay To Be Different | LakiKid Autism Awareness Shirt for Kids - LakiKid
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