Negative Behaviors and Sensory Needs

Sensory issues are bad enough, but often times they cause poor behavior. Some people may look at your child and think they are just being an unruly child, or even a *GASP* Brat! The truth is, these kids can't really help it! Each child as a sensory threshold. Some are really high, and some have really low thresholds. Those with really low thresholds can't tolerate a lot of sensory input. You can barely touch these kids and they will wail in pain or withdraw to avoid it. Others have a high threshold and they love to be squeezed tightly. The one commonality with all of them is once they reach their threshold, that's it. They can't handle any more, and meltdowns may ensue. Even kids who crave and desire extra sensory input can become extremely sensory sensitive once their sensory meters are maxed out. The key to helping is moderation. Help them to even out their sensory meters, and control the behavior at the same time.

You can determine what your child's needs are based off their behavior. If they are running, bouncing, etc. Then they need MORE input. They need movement, joint compressions, and the like. Mini trampolines are GREAT for this. This provides an outlet for that need to move to help your child calm down and focus. Running place, jumping jacks, and movement chairs are good too. If you homeschool, you can look into purchasing your own wobble chair, bubble chair, t-chair, even a yoga ball will work. This allows your child to bounce sway, etc. while doing school work. If your child is in a traditional school, you should discuss adaptive seating at their next IEP meeting, or ask to schedule a meeting to go over adaptations that can be made to help.

Sensory Diets are great, too. This is where you have a scheduled time each day for sensory input. Here's an example schedule:

8am Wake up
8:30 Sensory movement time (jumping up and down)
8:40: quiet time
9:00 school time starts
10:00 Sensory time
10:15 School time
11:30 Lunch
12:30 finish school

This allows for breaks for schedule, routine sensory time so your child can get the sensory input they need to function at their full capacity.

For those who need LESS sensory, then sensory time could be a Snozelen type room, calming or quiet time, or even sensory integration where you work on brushing or other techniques to increase their sensory threshold.

Frequent breaks and making adaptations has worked the best for us, so far.  I hope it helps you, too!