Weathering the Storm with Sensory Sensitive Children
Many of us have had our eyes glued to the Weather Channel in recent days. With Hurricane Florence bearing down and coming closer to the east coast, many families are evacuating and heading away from the hurricane’s path. Big weather events can be stressful for anyone. But children with sensory sensitivities can find it particularly difficult to cope with the stress of a weather event like this. Occupational therapists from Ivy Rehab Network clinic, Southeastern Therapy For Kids, put together this great list to help families weather the storm with children that are sensory sensitive.
Tips – How to Weather the Storm
When something unexpected occurs, remove your child from the stimulus as best you can and try to calm their sensory system back to a normal level of arousal using these strategies below:
- Provide warnings about potential upcoming changes
- Provide blankets/pillows/stuffed animals to help muffle the sounds and provide deep pressure
- Make a calming corner prior to the storm with already prepared activities/toys that your child enjoys
- Headphones, earplugs, hoodies/hats to help cancel the noise of thunder
- iPad *watch for overstimulation with screen time*
- Fidgets (koosh balls, slinkies, stress balls, etc).
- Be aware of your own level of stress/anxiety (your child can pick up on your energy)
- Be proactive about answering any questions your child has regarding the storm.
- This is a great learning opportunity for self-regulation: talk to your child about what you are doing to help them cope with stress. (ie. “we are taking deep breaths because it helps you to stay calm…”)
We’re Here for You
We’re here for you and your families! If you have a child that is sensory sensitive and want to learn more about our pediatric therapy programs, please contact us and we’ll help you find a clinic and therapist in your area. If you are in the path of the hurricane, be safe and follow your community’s evacuation recommendations!