Sensory Processing and Parenting

Dear Parent of the kiddo with SPD,

I completed your child’s evaluation today. She loves bouncing between activities as she is excited to play.

He loved smelling many of the toys. His favorites were the Play Doh and putty.

As we reviewed your child’s sensory profile, you said that you are quite similar. Sensory processing differences can run in families.

I feel your reluctance to fully explain. You stated that you had trouble distinguishing background noise from current conversation, bright lights drove you mad, and certain clothing textures made you feel itchy. You said it was hard to stay in one place.

I see you! I feel you! I hear you! You are not alone! I am similar to you both and there are so many more of us out there.

As we navigate this world together, remember to put on your own proverbial oxygen mask before helping someone else. Pay attention to your own needs, as well. Is it too loud? Too bright? Too crowded? Not enough movement? These are a few questions to ask yourself as you embark on this journey. Please be kind to yourself.

Here are a few ideas to try to help:

  • Attempt to anticipate needs such as hunger and rest. Prepping snacks ahead of time can alleviate those hangry feelings.
  • Have ear plugs, ear defenders, or music on standby to diffuse loud situations. Sometimes a dance party can calm frustration.
  • If possible, schedule one on one time with your child at a time that works for them so they can off load their feelings.
  • I highly encourage you to seek out autistic adults as well as those with ADHD and SPD, such as those on Neuroclastic. They have great first hand insight on living with sensory differences in the world.

Further Reading

If you think you might be autistic, but aren’t sure, you might be what has recently been called a “NeuroLurker.” Right now, that’s how I am identifying. Read more about that, here.

Here are some ideas for sensory-fun play with your child.

Not sure if your child’s therapy and support workers are helpful or harmful. Here’s a checklist for parents to help spot a good–or bad– therapist for your child.

If you are having difficulty coming to terms with your child’s diagnosis, this article is great for helping you to navigate learning to accept– and bask in the wonder of– the child you have.

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