Calming Sensory Overload

Calming Sensory Overload

OUR RECENT APPOINTMENT

We recently had a one on one session with Matthews Occupational Therapist after I advised her of his recent increase in Meltdowns. I’ve written about his sensory struggles before which you can find here, but things have since worsened and so we needed some one on one time. She was interested to find out if I knew the specific triggers that caused them, but as I’ve said before, often they come from nowhere and without warning. His OT conceded that this is in fact often the case with sensory challenged children. Like me, she believes that his biggest trigger is most likely the frustration at his lack of communication as well as changes in his routine.

SENSORY SOOTHING TECHNIQUES TO TRY

So after a consultation, Matthews therapist suggested a few techniques to try and A. Prevent these meltdowns before they happen and B. Perhaps make them less likely to reoccur.

 

The Vestibular System

*THE ABOVE IMAGE IS FROM ILS LEARNING CORNER AND GIVES AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE VESTIBULAR SYSTEM AND H0W THESE EXERCISES AFFECT EACH PART OF THE BODY.

STRENGTHENING

The first thing she advised was to create a daily “Calming Schedule” for ever morning:

  • Use a sensory/ gym ball to do some stretching exercises. Matthew will lie his across the ball in the prone position and we will move the ball gently back & forth so that he can touch his toes  and then his fingertips to the ground.

This stretches and strengthens his core muscles, which for Matthew is a particularly important due to his low muscle tone.

After doing this for a few minutes we move on to a more strengthening exercise:

  • Still using the sensory/ gym ball Matthew is to push against it but with me holding it in place.

This will help strengthen his muscles as well as using some of his (seemingly endless) energy in a productive manner. This will allow his central nervous system to relax slightly making him calmer.

CALMING

After completing the strengthening portion of the therapy we then move on to the calming exercises:

  • Arm & hand massage – moving from his forearms down to his fingers.
  • Leg & feet massage – moving from his calves down to the soles of his feet.

This is the final part of his daily therapy and the most important. His limbs control his balance and co-ordination. By calming these parts of his body we are able to access his “Proprioceptive Sensory System”. This system helps organise the brain, helping Matthew understand where his body is in the space, therefore helping him function calmly throughout the his day.

GIVING IT A GO

We are making a conscientious attempt at these exercises despite Matthew often objecting quite aggressively at times and so far it’s going well. Time will tell for sure though and I will be sure to report back on how exactly he’s managing these exercises and if they are in fact making a big difference to his sensory meltdowns.

As ever, thanks for reading lovelies.

Take care,

D x

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