Sensory Processing Disorder: Summer Challenges
What is SPD?
SPD stands for Sensory Processing Disorder. Children and adults with this disorder have difficulty processing sensory stimuli, including things they see, hear, taste, smell, and feel. Each season presents its own unique challenges for individuals with SPD, so your family’s strategies and goals might shift slightly with each new season.
Summertime Challenges for Kids With SPD
Summertime is an exciting season for kids and adults alike. The weather is excellent, there’s more quality family time, and there are many options for exciting events and gatherings. There are also several holidays and opportunities to grill, celebrate, and watch fireworks.
But summer presents quite a few challenges for children with SPD:
- A disruption to the familiar routine
- Increased temperatures and sometimes intense heat
- More celebrations and get-togethers with more neighborhood noise
- More visits from family and friends–a disruption to the home environment
- Vacations that involve unfamiliar environments
- Possibly more daytime activities than usual, especially if on vacation
- New bedtime routines now that school is out
- Long periods in the car or plane when traveling
Tips for Enjoying Summer With SPD
- Pace yourself - Summer presents many opportunities for exciting new outings and events. But sometimes, we plan too much for ourselves, and our kids, in one day. Remember, you don’t have to have something planned every hour of your vacation. You might enjoy your downtime the most! Pacing yourself will go a long way to help your child enjoy themselves.|
- Keep the routines you can - Summertime can involve new places, new faces, and new bedtimes. But that doesn’t mean you can’t keep up with some of your previous routines! For example, you can keep the same bath routine, the same bedtime routine, the same mealtimes, etc. Consistency makes everything more bearable.
- Talk it through - Never underestimate the power of communication! Before you head out for your event, celebration, or vacation, sit down to talk it through. Your child might have questions, and your answers can help put them at ease. Help them know what to expect, what they can look forward to, and why you think this adventure might be the best one yet!
- Make a self-regulation tote - Create a bag, tote, or backpack full of items to help your child self-regulate. This is a super fun exercise, and your child will probably be eager to contribute! Include items like healthy snacks, ear coverings or earbuds, a weighted lap pad, a fidget toy, etc.
CONCLUSION: SENSORY PROCESSING DISORDER SUMMER CHALLENGES
Summer can get a little hectic! Kids with SPD can be intimidated by unfamiliar routines and general unpredictability. But you can help them make the most of summertime by holding onto some sacred habits, pacing family activities, and building the best self-regulation backpack ever.
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