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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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Being a mom is one the toughest jobs that I have ever experienced. It is also one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever experienced. But, why is it that society sees moms as the June Cleaver type? If you don’t meet society’s expectations as a mom then you are labeled a bad mom. Real moms in the real world, however, know that they are great moms and that they don’t have to be June Cleaver.

As most of you already know, I’m a mom of four children ages 19, 17, 13, and 11; two girls and two boys. Wow, I’ve been a mom for nearly two decades! Moms are the glue that holds the family together. We are supposed to do all and know all. In fact, we are supposed to be super moms. Where in the Constitution does it say that MOMS must establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty?

Exactly! Nowhere! Yet, we do it anyway. Why? Not because the Constitution or society says so. We do it because we love our family. A real mom would go to any height, depth, or scale any mountain to protect, provide and care for her family.

Sometimes, we get frustrated and exhausted. When this happens to me, I use comic relief to de-stress. I found a great site about real moms called, go figure, Real Mom! This mom is a fellow Pennsylvania mom, like me, who writes a column for the Reading, Pa Eagle newspaper. Please take the time to visit her site and let me know what you think.

This is how I describe a “real mom.”

Real moms know:

  • that it’s okay to look like a slob sometimes.
  • that a hug means more than anything in the world.
  • that saying “I love you,” can ease an aching heart.
  • It’s okay to leave dirty dishes in the sink.
  • the house isn’t messy, it’s lived in.
  • it’s okay to have your own opinion.
  • that sometimes the marshmallows are the best part of the Lucky Charms.
  • it’s okay to look like a fool while sword fighting in Toys R Us with your child.
  • that breakfast for supper is not only okay but awesome!
  • It’s okay to be frustrated.
  • That cold pizza for breakfast is yummy.
  • You don’t have to volunteer for the PTO/PTA.
  • It’s okay to have your own tantrums once in a while.
  • When there’s snow outside, then there’s going to be snow inside too!
  • It’s Ok not to shower everyday. (provided by one of my favorite moms on the web LizAnn)

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I have four children. So, sometimes it gets really crazy around my house. While my 17 year-old is yelling at her younger brothers, her brothers (ages 11 & 12) play fighting and screaming back at her, messes everywhere, I sit and suffer with an excruciating headache and praying for a break.

If you have days like this, be assured that it does get worse. But, then again, it does get better. One of the best remedies for a crazy day in my house is a laughter break. After all, they say that laughter is the best medicine.

My laughter break came to me today in the form of an e-book entitled, The Kids Are Driving Me Crazy! by Lisa Barker. Lisa Barker is known as “The Jelly Mom” from the humorous Jelly Mom column which can be found at:

JellyMom.com

This e-book is an excerpt from her book Just Because Your Kids Drive You Insane… Doesn’t Mean You Are A Bad Parent!. The e-book cover humorous subjects about toddlers, older children ,going out in public with your kids, kids showing you who the boss is, and so much more.

I highly recommend this book to parents, grandparents, and caretakers so they can enjoy their “laughter break.” Get the free e-book and check out the Jelly Mom Column and more of Lisa’s books.

~Get the free e-book here~

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