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My eleven year old son, Austin, was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) at six years old.  Since then, he has been kicked out of two schools due to his behavior and many teachers don’t “understand” him.  Many of his symptoms mirror those of Asperger’s Syndrome which is on the Autism Spectrum.  Austin has trouble with sensory integration.  People, especially children, within the Autism Spectrum do well with a sensory room.  Since Austin shows many of the same symptoms as a child with Asperger’s Syndrome, I have undertaken the task of creating a sensory room for him. 

To list just a few of his problems with sensory integration:

  • Austin makes me cut out the tags from all his clothing. 
  • If his socks aren’t adjusted just right he’ll spend the next twenty minutes fixing them; whether he’s going to be late for school or not. 
  • Cannot wear turtlenecks or anything else close to his throat.
  • Prefers to only wear his boxers around the house.  He usually strips down to his boxer shorts as soon as he walks in the door.
  • He overreacts to sudden loud noises or too much noise at one time. 
  • He talks excessively, loudly, and without concern of the other person’s interest in the subject. 
  • When he’s bored or aggravated he swings his arms or spins in a chair.  It seems to calm him down. 
  • Whenever he tells me or someone else what he likes he then turns to me and says, “right mom,” even though he has stated this multiple times.  He needs constant feedback and redirection.
  • If things aren’t done a certain way he becomes easily frustrated.
  • He doesn’t like to be hugged unless it’s from me.  However, it’s limited contact.
  • Does not like to be around a lot of people.
  • He loves vibrating or strong sensory input.

Okay so it’s a longer list than you expected.  That’s only part of the list.  There’s so much more.  But, I’ll spare you any further details.

A sensory room is very good for children and adults with sensory processing disorders.  It is usually tailored to an individual’s sensory needs to either calm or stimulate them and usually includes equipment or items that calm or stimulate the 7 senses (listed below).   A sensory room should NEVER be used as a form of punishment.  It is intended to calm the over stimulated or to stimulate the under stimulated individual.  If discipline is needed, do not use the sensory room for this.

Senses and things to include in your sensory room:

1.   Vestibular–  swings, slides, balance boards, tubes to roll in, rocking horses, hammocks, or a sit and spin,etc.

2.   Visual– Controllable light source, no fluorescent lights, Christmas lights (that don’t flash if it bothers individual), play tents, lava lamps, tabletop water fountains, etc.

3.   Smell-  Scented oils, scented candles (is safe for individual), scented markers, scented playdoh, potpourri or sprays.

  • Calming scents- Vanilla, lavender, peppermint, and jasmine.
  • Stimulating scents- Cinnamon, floral scents, spices, and strong sour or sweet scents.  

4.   Taste–  A variety of foods, liquids, gum, or textured food is a great activity to include in your sensory room.  Use supervision depending on the individual.

5.   Proprioception-  Anything that allows the individual to be “hugged” or comforted via pressure works well.  Examples include: bean bag chairs,  weighted vests and/or blankets, squishy beds or sofas, therapy balls to roll on top of them, etc.

6.   Touch- Many things have texture; playdoh, funny foam, textured balls, textured wallpaper, textured puzzles, coloring over textured materials, finger paints , koosh balls, using various materials such as  satin, carpet swatches, silk, lamb’s wool, washcloths, cotton balls, etc., massagers and vibrating kids toys.

7.   Auditory– Soothing sounds CD’s, nature sound machine, white noise (ie. Fans), classical music.

I hope this information will help you or someone you love and/or care for.

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Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities And Remaining Sane Blog

 Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities And Remaining Sane Blog

Rave Review!!!!!  Two thumbs up! 

5 Stars!   A must read blog!!!!!

 

Last night I found the most wonderfully caring, amazing, intelligent, funny woman on the internet.  Not that she was lost.  I think that, until I found her blog, I was the one that was lost.  I was so inspired by her blog that I just had to share it with all of you, my cherished readers.

Lindsey Petersen is a 50+ mom and author of Raising 5 kids with disabilities and remaining sane blog.  In her blog posts she recalls her memories of growing up in New England with an architect father that was very money conscious and a very loving, upbeat, optimistic mother whom she just recently lost.  She discusses much needed topics such as children with disabilities, adoption, dealing with stress, and so much more.   Her most inspiring blogs are about how she and her husband raise with 5 kids with disabilities.  Reading Lindsey’s blog, I laughed and cried and then laughed all over again.  There are so many things that I can related with.

Lindsey uses her positive, upbeat outlook on life to keep herself sane.  Much like, I imagine, her mother did.  Let’s face it, being a parent in this day and age is no picnic in the park.  Being a parent of children with disabilities is like being on a roller coaster ride.  We have our ups and downs but, by the end of the day, we’re satisfied with the ride.  On a daily basis Lindsey and her husband deal with such disabilities as ADHD, anxieties, Autism, blindness, OCD,  deafness, Dissociative Identity Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  I’m sure that I’ve missed a few diagnoses somewhere.  For that, I apologize. 

I related with her because, I too, grew up in New England.  I recall my Nana’s house being so hot that I couldn’t breathe.   The downstairs was sweltering hot and as my sister and I ascended the stairs for bed, the temperature drastically changed.  We would slip into an ice cold bed and shiver for hours until we finally fell asleep.  Mornings were the worst.  It seemed that the woodstove had slept while we did and, come morning time, required someone to re-stoke the fire.  My sister and I lived with my mom and stepfather.  My mom was a cook at our elementary school for over 20 years.  My stepfather was a landscaper/carpenter/painter. 

 I’m a mom of 5 kids.  I have Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, OCD, and anxieties.  I’m also a mom of children with disabilities.  My youngest son has ADHD, OCD, and anxieties.  My oldest daughter, now 19, has shown signs of Bi-polar disorder since she was a child.   That was one very long roller coaster ride.  My last baby girl, Sierra Cheyenne, was born in January of 2001.  She died six hours and five minutes after she was born.  Had she survived, she would have been severely developmentally delayed.  I would give anything to have her back even though I know how difficult it would be to care for her.

I will never get enough of Lindsey’s blog.  I visit it on a daily basis.  I beg you, my dear sweet readers, to head on over to Lindsey’s blog,  Raising 5 kids with disabilities and remaining sane blog and enjoy the words that  I so very much cherish.  There is no way that you can leave her blog without being inspired and/or comforted.  Her blog has become a part of my daily dose of reality, sanity, and comfort.  I now feel that life is going to be okay no matter how hard that it seems.  Lindsey has become my sanity and peace of mind.

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I consider the microwave mommy’s little helper.  Living with three children and a messy husband, my microwave is a very big helper.  I never realized how much I rely on the microwave until I didn’t have one anymore.  Last Friday our microwave finally left this world for a better place.  It had been threatening retirement for a long time.  So, when it finally cashed in its 401k, I learned a thing or two about the revered microwave.

At first, I thought that it was no big deal.  I could manage for a little while without one.  Hey, I’ve done it before and I could do it again.  Little did I know, I rely on that stupid little nuclear appliance more than I thought.  Over the weekend, I found out just how much I really do need a microwave in my life.

Saturday morning breakfast was easy.  Some cereal in a bowl, add some milk and a spoon and voila…breakfast is served.  However, lunchtime was a different story.  With three children, all wanting something different at three different times, lunchtime was a nightmare.

My youngest son, Austin, wanted Chef Boyardee spaghetti and meatballs.  Okay, I can handle that.  I removed the plastic top on the single serving can, peeled back the tin top, replaced the plastic lid, and proceeded to head toward the microwave.

“Uh, mom, it’s not working.  Remember?”

“Oh yeah, I forgot.”

So, I opened the cabinet next to the stove, removed a saucepan and dumped the spaghetti and meatballs into the pan.  As I began to warm up my sons’ lunch, I thought about all the extra dishes that I’d have to do.

“This isn’t fair,” I thought.

Instead of having to wash one fork, now I have to wash a fork, a pan, and a mixing spoon.  I was starting to miss my microwave.  Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook meals for my family.  But, making so many meals for a family on the go isn’t easy.  Sometimes, I just need a little help.

My oldest son was on a tight schedule.  He wasn’t going to be home to eat lunch with his brother.  He had to go to wrestling practice.  So, by the time he returned home, he wasn’t very hungry.  He just wanted some soup for lunch, nothing too heavy.  Normally, I would put the soup in a bowl and pop it in the microwave and nuke it until it’s hot.  Not being able to do that anymore, I went to the sink and washed the saucepan from before.  When his soup was hot, I ladled it into a bowl for him and placed it on the table.  Now, I had used a saucepan twice, a mixing spoon, a ladle, a bowl, a fork, and a spoon.

Then, my husband woke from his long winter nap searching for food.  He foraged through the fridge and cabinets finally deciding on leftover chili.  While he so generously heated up his own lunch, I sat by and watched the dishes pile up in the sink.  He didn’t wash the saucepan that I had used.  He pushed that one to the back burner of the stove and replaced it with a shiny, clean pot.  When he had finished creating his masterpiece of a mess, he sat down and slurped and smacked his lips until there was no more chili left in his bowl.  He then proceeded to abandon his dirty dishes in the sink to await my arrival.  By this time, I wanted to scream and run away from home. Did I mention the three cups that were used?  Add those to the pile and it’s a load of unnecessary dishes that I have to wash.

Last on the list was my daughter.  She had just walked in the door from a rough morning of shopping with her girlfriends.  She decided that she was going to make herself grilled cheese sandwiches and soup.  Need I say that she didn’t wash any dishes either?  Probably not.  I’m sure, by now, you’ve come to that conclusion.  Instead, she pulled out the griddle and made herself two grilled cheese sandwiches and some tomato soup.  In her wake, she left the kitchen an even bigger mess than it was before.  Between the overflowing sink full of dishes, griddle on the stove, and crumbs everywhere, my house was slowly becoming a disaster area.

By this time, I was reluctant to feed myself.  Needless to say, I was really missing my microwave.  It made things so much simpler.  This battle went on all weekend and into the first part of this week.  I found myself looking at the empty spot where “Sir Nukes a-lot” used to sit and feeling sad.  I finally broke down and bought a new microwave.  What can I say, I’m weak.  I don’t like doing all those needless dishes.  And, believe me, there was at least three sink loads of dishes per day for six days.  The microwave is a godsend in my house.  I’ve come pretty close to worshiping the nuke god.  I’m sure that you can sympathize with me or at least understand why I feel this way.

With all the extra, needless cleaning that I did this past week, I pray to God that no other parent has to go through what I have gone through! LOL  The microwave may not be a necessity to some people.  But, in my house, I cannot live without it.  For my sanity, and the sake of my children, the microwave is a must have appliance.

Like my husband says, “if mama’s not happy, nobody’s happy.”  Now that I have a new microwave, mama’s definitely happy again.  So, my family can rest easy for a while.

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The fun of being a parent is finding humor in the things that drive you crazy.

There are fourteen doors in my house. There’s the front door, back door, four bedroom doors, two bathroom doors, and six closet doors. With that many doors in the house, I don’t understand how my boys always zone in on which door that I’m behind. Whenever they see a closed door, they feel that it’s necessary to knock on it. I am partly to blame for this. I have always tried to teach my children proper manners. That includes knocking on a door and waiting for a response before trying to open the door. However, if I close a door that usually means that I need my privacy. It doesn’t seem to matter which door it is, there always comes a knock on the door before I’ve decided to open it myself.
If I’m in the bathroom, with the door closed, then I definitely want my privacy. It’s like these kids are drawn by some magnetic field to a closed door but repelled by an open door. Every time that I go into the bathroom to do my business, my business and nobody else’s business, there’s a knock at the door. There must be some mathematical equation for this. Closed door + mom= knock, knock, knock. For the last twelve years, I have not been able to go to the bathroom in peace.
Today, I entered the bathroom hoping, just once in my life, for two minutes of privacy. Lo and behold, what do my ears hear? Knock, knock, knock.
“What,” I yell from my throne.
“Mom, are you going to the bathroom,” asked Austin.
“No, I’m visiting with the Pope,” is my reply. “Of course I’m going to the bathroom. Why what do you want?”
“Never mind.”
“You mean to tell me that you couldn’t wait two minutes to tell me never mind,” I grumbled opening the door.
It’s always something that could have waited just two tiny minutes until I opened the darn door. The question or comment never comes in the form of a dire emergency. God forbid they have to wait two minutes, let alone two seconds, to aggravate me.
Earlier today, I went outside to smoke a cigarette and to get a few minutes of peace and quiet. Ha, that didn’t work. As I took the first drag of my cigarette and pondered what my next task of the day would be, my oldest son, Christian, knocked on the inside of the back door and peered out the window at me. With phone in hand, he opened the door letting the freezing cold winter air into the house and proceeded to ask me what his fathers’ phone number was.
“I don’t know! What do I look like, a phone book?” I asked with a scowl on my face.
I set my cigarette down on the railing and went in to find his dads’ phone number. He had called his dad several times within the last two days. It shouldn’t be that hard to find the number already in the phone. I then proceeded to show him how to gently put his finger on the redial button and keep pressing it until the area code for New Jersey came up. After all, that’s about the only number from New Jersey that is dialed on our phone. He kept pushing the redial until he saw his dads’ number. With a smile and a press of the talk button, he had learned something new. He was totally dumbfounded by his new found knowledge.
I left him to his conversation and went back outside to finish my cigarette. When I came back in, I had to dodge the dust balls floating across the floor as my husband chased them with a broom. Oh my God, he’s sweeping! Yes world, I said sweeping and not sleeping. Now that’s a first. It’s really nice of him to sweep even though I’ll have to go behind him and redo it after he goes to work. After all, he is a man. I went to my room and shut the door. Maybe this time I can get some quiet time. Usually, when I have my bedroom door shut that means I’m either sleeping or I just want to be left alone. As soon as I sat down on my bed, there came a knock on the door.
“What,” I yelled.
“Can I come in,” asked Christian.
“Yes.”
I waited for him to open the door but he didn’t. I guess it wasn’t that important. I shrugged my shoulders and lay down on my bed. Knock, knock, knock.
“What now?”
“Can I come in?”
“Yes! I told you two minutes ago that you could come in,” I screamed.
“Sorry, I didn’t hear you,” he said opening the door.
“What do you want?”
“I just wanted to let you know that dad didn’t answer the phone,” he informed me.
“And you’re telling me this why,” I asked shaking my head.
“Cuz I wanted to let you know that I’m waiting for dad to call me back,” he replied sweetly.
Will there ever be a time, I wonder, when I can relax behind a closed door? Perhaps I need to start hiding out in the closets. I have yet to see the boys knocking on a closet door.

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