There are many children that feel too much, and that in turn can result in massive emotional outlets that can be exhausting for both the child and the parents. Sensory issues are common amongst many conditions; Autism, ADHD, and several others can make sensory issues extreme, and in turn can make parenting even more difficult.
You both need to come up with coping mechanisms so that your child can manage sensory overload wherever it may be found.
Make Home a Safe Space
A highly sensitive child may seem like they have two extremes. They are either fully engaged and ecstatic or they are on the opposite side of the spectrum and having tantrums. While it can be tempting to remove all sensory overloads from your child’s life this does not actually help them in the long term.
While you will need to help your child learn how to manage sensory overload outside of the home inside the home should be a safe space. There are a few easy and effective tips to help you do this. Start by switching out any fluorescent or flickering lights to options that reduce strain on the eye. You will also want to simplify your space and reduce clutter and work areas. Choose larger type fonts or prints for books and any reading materials.
Look Into Ear Plugs or Noise-Cancelling Options
Noise is one of the most common types of sensory overload, and a great way to minimize the issues is with ear plugs or (if you are worried they cannot use them properly) other noise-cancelling options. Some children may benefit from simply having the noise dampened while others may benefit from having a white noise option.
Music therapy can be another great area to look into, as calming music can help children stay calm in overstimulated spaces, and similarly these same children can benefit from upbeat music to improve their focus and motivation.
Find an Occupational Therapist
Occupational therapists specialize in helping those with processing disorders find coping methods that work for them. When your child seems to have an extreme reaction to too much stimulation getting the help of an occupational therapist can make all the difference.
Occupational therapists work with your child on an individual level and can help both parents and the child develop a higher tolerance and better coping methods so that your child can operate safely and more comfortably with the wider world.
You should think of sensory overload like a power overload. Unlike with your home, however, there isn’t a fuse box that will flip the switch and cut the power. When your child is experiencing overload taking them away from the stimuli and waiting for them to calm down before adding to the stimulus (by talking or lecturing) can ensure that they can actually hear and understand you.
Patience is also key when saying anything. Some kids take longer to understand the words that they hear, so before you get angry that they aren’t listening, give them a moment to process and then try again. Having them paraphrase what you are telling them can also help.
Published by Philip Oluwadara