I don't think my 2.5 year old daughter really is SN, but I have suspected for a while that she has some issues with her sensory needs. I'm looking for some advice on adding sensory activities into our lives, and hoping some of you might have ideas.
One of the biggest issues she and I are having right now is that she has an intense need to talk all day long. I realize that some kids at this age are just...talkative, but she just seems to NEED it so badly. I find myself in the midst of the onslaught, unable to cope, just bending down and holding her, asking her to calm down and just breathe...
Another concern of mine is that she can't seem to understand how to really use her muscles. Like, she can't pull apart pop beads yet. But she can almost do a pull-up by herself, so I know she has the muscle strength. I can't get her to pull hard at all. Today she helped me shuck corn, and she just never seems able to make the effort with her muscles to pull the husks off. I hope this makes sense. It's like she's not trying with her muscles, even though she's trying to try. She can't turn a doorknob yet, either. Same sort of issue.
Other than that, she just seems to have a lot of small sensory issues going on. Always had trouble sleeping (as an infant I felt like she feared or hated the feeling of drowsiness). Sleeps better with a blanket, but very sensitive to the exact position of the blanket. We were always very nervous about her needs as an infant - will it be too noisy, too stimulating, etc? She still has a hard time focusing in stimulating environments. She loves spinning and being upside-down, and seems to be calmer and quieter with Daddy, who does a lot of physical activities with her (tossing her in the air, pulling her fast in a box, flipping her, etc.).
So, I guess my first question is, are these just normal toddler things? Because toddlers are pretty odd to begin with :) And, even if they are just toddler things, is it still worth it to look address the sensory issues that I see? And if so, how?
Thanks in advance for any input.
My DS is not yet diagnosed but we feel he has some sensory issues. It's still really hard to pick out what is "normal" and what is just that step beyond what we would expect and is causing problems for DS.
My take on things so far has been too think about any potential downsides to various strategies and take it form there. Some things we've decided are not great option for us right now, though we may come back to them in the future.
Other things we've gone ahead and done
If I concentrate a bit harder on providing activities which seem to calm him down (lots of playdough, sand, water etc) then we have a much calmer little boy, I can't see a down side to that, even if we don't end up with a diagnosis (well, there is the state of my kitchen floor :lol)
Normal toddlers are pretty odd! I think that lots of sensory stuff is GREAT for all kids. She might enjoy swimming lessons, a tumbling class, and other things where she moves around in different positions. These were the best kinds of activities for my sensory kiddo when she was young.
At home, there are lots of sensory things you can do. Playdough, shaving cream, cornmeal, finger paint, etc are all awesome.
For my uber talky child (who is not my SN child) I played children's music and encouraged her to sing along. It gave her a way to "talk" without talking to me.
Eventually, she developed a deep love of books on CD.
but everything has pros and cons
All children (and adults) benefit from positive sensory input. Walk around your office - how many chewed pens/pencils do you see? Oral sensory input. How many people do you see strumming their fingers or bouncing their legs? Having sensory needs does not make one special needs - it makes on human :)
My son's preschool teacher (who is amazing) uses sensory friendly tools in her classroom from the set up to scooter time down the hall to shutting off the classroom lights during lunch to settle the children. It won't hurt that's for sure!
Thanks for your responses. I never thought much before about the sensory input in our lives, and I think it's been lacking. I've been trying to make a conscious effort to add more sensory activities into my daughter's day, and I'm really pleased with the results. I do think my daughter may be a bit more sensitive to this than others, so I'm going to try to be a lot more conscious of it from now on. She's in a gymnastics class that she seems to enjoy, and hopefully will help with her muscle issues. Of all her issues, that's the only one that I feel concerned enough about to consider talking to her doctor. She just seems so far behind her peers in this respect.