Sensory Processing Disorder

A Comfort Corner

I made a comfort corner for Isaiah. He loves it. This is my most recent attempt at helping him learn to calm himself, instead of going totally crazy when he’s overstimulated. I thought I’d share what we did, in case anyone else wants to try it.

So, first off, what is a comfort corner? A comfort corner is basically just a space where a child can get away from some of the constant sensory input of a normal house and regroup. Usually, they have a comfy place to sit and a couple of calming toys. You can use just about anything to make a quiet, comforting space somewhere out of the way, but still in the main part of your house.

Cozy Corner

Showing off his comfort corner with the teddy bear

Isaiah knows he’s free to go into his at any time, but I’ve also strongly encouraged him to go there a few times when he was getting out of control. We’re also using it for a quiet time in the afternoon. He loves crawling in there and has spent quite a bit of time there since I put everything together. I would like for him to learn that this is a safe place to go when he needs a break, no matter what the reason. That could make his life a lot easier.

Cozy Corner

Rest time

Cozy Corner

Playing quietly

Our comfort corner is actually portable. I used a small Cars tent that he got for Christmas. During the day, it’s set up in the living room, where he can have easy access to it. At night, everything gets tucked away so the animals don’t mess with it while it’s unsupervised. Inside, he has a small pillow, a teddy bear, a blanket, some books and a couple of sensory bottles. He’s free to bring anything else that he wants inside, but I try to make sure those things are always there.

Cozy Corner

All the treasures inside the tent

Categories: Gentle Discipline, Sensory Processing Disorder | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Wave Bottles

Isaiah and I made a couple of wave bottles tonight. The goal was to make one that glowed under a black light. Our first one did not, so we made a second.

Wave Bottles

Well shaken wave bottle

Instructions

supplies
Empty plastic bottle
Water
Highlighter (make sure it’s fluorescent)
Oil (we used baby oil)
Confetti

Wave Bottles

Supplies for Bottle #1

Take apart the highlighter and put the foamy ink cartridge out. Put it into the water to soak. You can squeeze it to make the ink come out faster, but beware–you may end up with dyed fingers. I used a fork to press the ink out, though I still ended up with some on my hands. Isaiah even, somehow, managed to get it on his face. Once the water has a good bit of ink in it, take the foam out and throw it away. Pour the water into the water bottle, filling it about two thirds of the way. Drop in a bit of confetti and top off the bottle with oil. Hot glue the lid on and you’re ready to play.

Wave Bottles

Soaking the ink

Wave Bottles

Finished bottle

As I said, our first bottle didn’t work. My pink highlighter (Isaiah’s color of choice this week) wasn’t fluorescent. Oops. We also didn’t put any confetti in that bottle. It still makes an awesome wave bottle. The color from the highlighter looks really nice and very different from what we would have gotten with food coloring.

Wave Bottles

Isaiah says it makes really good waves

Wave Bottles

Waves

For our second bottle, we used a yellow highlighter. We tested it with the black light before pulling it apart to be sure it would glow. I let Isaiah put some confetti into this bottle, which he was pretty excited about. Then I turned him loose to try it with the black light. My dad propped it up against the side of the tv so that Isaiah could do whatever he wanted with his bottle, without someone having to hold the light the entire time. Isaiah raced back and forth, putting the bottle in front of the light, then moving away for quite a while. He decided to test a few other things under the black light, too.

Wave Bottles

Looking through the glowing bottle

Wave Bottles

Floating confetti

Glowing Boy

My glowing boy

Categories: Crafts, Homeschool, Making Sensory Toys, Science, Sensory Bottles, Sensory Processing Disorder | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I Spy Bottles

I made an I Spy bottle years ago at a 4-H day camp. I kept it for years and really loved it, so I wanted to do one with Isaiah. There was only one small catch… Isaiah can’t read the list of items to find. I went ahead and got supplies to make the bottle, then, as we were making it, I realized that I could easily take a picture of the items to attach to the bottle. It worked great!

I Spy Bottles

I Spy bottle

In the end, we actually made a few bottles with different things inside. We’ll probably make more later. It’s easy to get things that go together and make bottles with different themes. We can try different fillers, too.

Here’s what you need:
Plastic bottle
Filler: We used rice for two bottles and birdseed in a third. You can also use sand, colored salt (or colored rice) or beans.
Trinkets: This can be just about anything that will fit into the mouth of your bottle. Ours had shaped erasers, buttons, a crayon, rubber bands, bobbie pins and beads.
Glue: White glue works fine, though hot glue dries much faster and tends to be a bit more secure.
Ribbon: I tied the list onto the bottle with ribbon. I only actually attached a list to one bottle, since Isaiah is more interested in shaking it to make cool sounds and seeing the treasure inside than he is in deliberately searching for an object.

I Spy Bottles

The list of treasures

I let Isaiah fill the bottles himself, which was pretty exciting for him. He filled them about halfway, added the trinkets, then put in the rest of the filler. Once everything was inside, I helped him put on the lid and shake the bottle to spread the toys throughout. It’s really important to make sure there’s some extra space left in the bottle when you fill it or nothing will move when you turn or shake it.

I Spy Bottles

Carefully filling the bottle

I Spy Bottles

He's pretty proud of his bottles

I Spy Bottles

Shaking his finished bottle

Categories: Making Sensory Toys, Sensory Bottles, Sensory Processing Disorder | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Sensory Bottle–First Attempt

Isaiah and I made a sensory bottle last night. I only had one bottle, so we just made a very simple one this time. Here’s what we did.

Sensory Bottle

Our finished bottle

What you need:
Empty bottle (we used a Gatorade bottle)
Water
Glitter
Food coloring (must be water based)
We also used some stickers because we didn’t have confetti

Sensory Bottle

Isaiah with his bottle full of glitter and stickers

I let Isaiah put the stickers and glitter into the bottle before adding the water. Once he was done adding glitter and stickers, I carefully poured some of the water in. With very close supervision, I allowed Isaiah to add food coloring to the water. Giving him control resulted in a really dark color, but he liked the independence of doing it himself. I added the rest of the water and glued on the lid. He’s been playing with it ever since. Next time, we’re going to try using baby oil for some of the bottles.

Sensory Bottle

Excited that there's water inside

Sensory Bottle

Dye mixing

Categories: Crafts, Homeschool, Making Sensory Toys, Sensory Processing Disorder | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

My Dog, A Special Friend

When I was 15, our family dog, Zach, a funny looking mutt, died suddenly of cancer. I had trained him and showed him in 4-H. He was my best friend. We had been preparing to go to the state fair dog show when he got sick. I ended up going to the state fair alone. When we got Zach, my dad was less than enthusiastic. He doesn’t really like dogs. Well… He didn’t before Zach. He got Zach from some people at our church because my mom had seen him and fallen in love and it was about her birthday. Zach became a huge, important part of my family. Even my dad loved him and enjoyed time with him. When Zach died, my dad said we would never own another dog. Never. He couldn’t deal with the thought of getting attached and losing another.

Zach

Me and Zach

Well, after seven years as dog owners, DJ and I just couldn’t imagine living without a dog! We begged and pleaded. Promised we’d do alllll the work that comes with dog ownership. We kept getting the same answer, “never again”. One day, we decided to try a new approach. My dad is a pastor. We decided to use that to our advantage. What pastor would refuse to pray about anything? We made a deal with him. He was to pray about getting a dog, then, whatever the answer, we’d drop it. He agreed, promising the answer would still be “no”.

A couple weeks later, my dad gathered us in front of the computer (the desktop was the only one with internet ) and pulled up some puppy pictures. He told us we’d be meeting the breeder the next day and bringing home a puppy. As thrilled as we were to be getting a puppy, both DJ and I felt a little ripped off. I wanted a boxer and he wanted a Jack Russell terrier. My dad had chosen neither. In fact, he’d chosen a breed we knew nothing about! A corgi. The only thing we knew about them was that I’d seen them in the Thanksgiving dog show.

Baby Max

Little bundle of energy and fur

Turns out, after hearing our plea to pray, my dad did just that–and started dreaming about a corgi. My mom teases him that it’s because he has British roots and the queen has corgis. (He tends to be fascinated by anything involving British royalty. ) Beyond the dreams, none of us could figure out why he chose a corgi, but a dog is a dog. We met the breeder and came home with a bundle of energy. Within a couple days, he’d received the name Maxwell Edward. My dad wanted Edward because it’s a British royal name. My mom said that was way too big for such a little ball of fluff that would never grow beyond 30 pounds. She likes giving dogs middle names for when they’re in trouble, so Edward became a middle name. This bundle of energy is commonly known as Max.

Baby Max

It sleeps!

Jump forward four years from meeting Max. Isaiah is three and diagnosed with SPD. He is likely somewhere on the autism spectrum. Our lives are full of meltdowns and stimming. Max is still here. Old enough to behave like a mature dog for the first time in his life. He also has a canine sibling, the “furball” Dusty. Dusty is a fireball and always in trouble. We love him anyway. Max plays hard for short periods, then goes back to his adult “duties”. Max is proving to be the best thing in the world for Isaiah. He’s calm when Isaiah is absolutely losing it. He lets Isaiah pet him backwards, play with his ears, put toys on him, snuggle too close and give lots of kisses. When he’s tired of it, he moans and walks away.

Doggies

World's most patient dog

Today, I shared a picture of a very teary, post-meltdown Isaiah grinning at Max, who’s sitting just in front of him on an SPD page. A number of parents posted about their corgis and how amazing they are with their SPD kids. Looking back, maybe the choice of corgi wasn’t so random after all. God knew we’d have this quirky little SPD boy who needs a very special dog. He knew how great corgis are for SPD kids. He knew that Max has an amazing personality (the vote for Max over the other puppies was unanimous, something that never happens in my family). I am so insanely grateful that my dad listened to our pleading and God’s messages in his dreams and contacted Max’s breeder. Max has made all our lives happier, but he has completely changed Isaiah’s from what it would be without this furry rock in his life.

Corgi Magic

Isaiah and Max, after Isaiah's meltdown

Categories: Miscellaneous, Sensory Processing Disorder | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bubbles

This may not really seem like a sensory idea, but I think it is. Isaiah loves bubbles. He loves blowing. The blowing seems to really help him and he blows when he doesn’t have bubbles, so why not use bubbles to help him enjoy the sensation? Here are some pictures of him enjoying the bubbles.

Bubbles!

Blowing...

Bubbles!

''I caught one!''

Bubbles!

Bubbles!

Categories: Sensory Play, Sensory Processing Disorder | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Toxic Waste Slime

We stopped in Dollar Tree to pick up paper cups for a craft and I promised Isaiah that he could pick one toy to buy. While we were there, I kept an eye out for new sensory activities, as always. Isaiah selected a dolphin that he immediately deemed “Winter“. I was quite happy to have a find of my own. A little plastic barrel of neon colored slime. It was made to look like a toxic waste container. I couldn’t tell through the packaging what it might be like, but I figured for a buck, it was worth a try for Isaiah.

Toxic Waste Slime

Toxic waste

Well, it was a hit! It’s the nastiest substance I’ve encountered in quite a while, but Isaiah loves it. He played in it happily for a long time and I’m sure he’ll be happy to see it again soon!

Toxic Waste Slime

This is definitely the face of a happy child

Toxic Waste Slime

Such a weird substance...

Categories: Sensory Play, Sensory Processing Disorder | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Sensory Table

Just for fun, I set up a table with a bunch of sensory toys for Isaiah. He thought it was amazing. I put a water bucket on the floor so he could rinse his hands when he felt a need, too, which made him happier to stay for a while. He switched between activities constantly. I think I’ll set him up with a different set of sensory activities soon. It was certainly worth the effort of setting it up!

Sensory Table

All the sensory activities on Isaiah's table

Activity 1: Water Beads

I put his water beads in a pan with some plastic hearts that I got around Valentine’s Day. I also put out some cups to scoop and pour the water beads. Of course, he also had the option to try to sort out the hearts, but he was much more interested in pouring the beads.

Sensory Table

Water beads and plastic hearts, waiting for Isaiah

Sensory Table

Scooping water beads

Activity 2: Beans and Cars

Isaiah adores cars, so I put a set of little plastic cars in a pan with dry beans. Again, I gave him cups and scoops to manipulate the beans. He was more interested in the cars than scooping, though, which was fine with me. He tried to make roads to drive the cars on. After a while, he tried burying the cars, too.

Sensory Table

The cars and beans

Sensory Table

Driving a car

Activity 3: Shaving Cream

The last activity was a pan of shaving cream. I put some red hearts in the bottom of the pan before I added the shaving cream. They were completely covered, so Isaiah didn’t even know they were there until he stuck his hands deep into the shaving cream. He didn’t stay with the shaving cream for very long because he wasn’t in the mood for messy play. He was more interested in having an excuse to stick his hands in the bucket of water.

Sensory Table

Shaving cream and carefully hidden hearts

Sensory Table

Shaving cream doesn't pour very well...

Categories: Sensory Play, Sensory Processing Disorder | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Fluffy Stuff

I came across this recipe about a week ago and decided to give it a try. I didn’t have as much cornstarch as it called for, so I just made a small batch. It’s been a huge hit. The best part is that it can be put in a bag and saved for another day. It’s lasted us a week so far.

"Fluffy Stuff"

Fluffy Stuff

Recipe
2 boxes of cornstarch
1 can of shaving cream
Optional: dye/food coloring (we didn’t add any color)
Mix together until the shaving cream is spread evenly through the mixture
Play!

"Fluffy Stuff"

Helping mix it and totally amazed

"Fluffy Stuff"

Deep concentration

The shaving cream makes the concoction cling to itself just enough to be able to form balls (or rocks, as Isaiah called them). If you pinch them or poke them with a spoon, though, they turn back to powder. Isaiah thought this was great fun. He also loves just burying his hands in the mixture and scooping it.

"Fluffy Stuff"

Sneaking a taste. He says it tastes like chocolate. Not so sure I believe that one...

"Fluffy Stuff"

Having tons of fun

Categories: Making Sensory Toys, Sensory Play, Sensory Processing Disorder | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Lesson Plan: Colors and Mixing Them

Topic: Colors and Mixing Them

Books: Mouse Paint

Objectives
•Learn the primary colors (red, blue, yellow)
•Learn how to make secondary colors (mix two primaries)
•Make predictions about what happens when mixing two colors
Vocabulary
•Primary color—a color that cannot be made by mixing other colors
•Secondary color—a color that can be created by mixing two primary colors

Supplies Needed
•Transparent, colored discs (homemade)*
•3 water bottles
•3 clear cups
•Water
•Food coloring
•Marker
•Colored salt dough
•Bags to send dough home in

Mixing Colors Lesson

Colored water, ready for the activity

Large Group Activities
•Talk about colors with partially transparent, colored discs
•Compile a list of students’ favorite colors
•Demonstrate mixing colors by overlapping colored discs
•Read Mouse Paint
•Put out 3 water bottles, filled with water, add red, yellow and blue food coloring to create primary colors
•Allow students to make predictions about what will happen when water from two bottles is combined.
•Pour water into clear cups to mix colors
•Discuss mixing colors with students

Mixing Colors Lesson

Talking about the primary colors

Mixing Colors Lesson

Showing the mixed colors

Mixing Colors Lesson

Isaiah loved mixing colors

Table Time Activity
•Talk about mixing colors
•Hand out 6 balls salt dough to each student, 2 balls of each primary color
•Talk students through mixing a pair of colors to create another color, then allow students to finish mixing the colors together
•Give students time to play with the salt dough before putting it in bags to take home

Mixing Colors Lesson

The three primary colors, along with the secondaries that we created by mixing two colors

*I made my transparent circles by printing red, blue and yellow circles on a transparency sheet.

**Pictures are from doing the activities at home with Isaiah

Categories: Homeschool, Lesson Plans, Science, Sensory Play | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: