Anyone have experience with sensory "input" issues?? — The Bump
Special Needs

Anyone have experience with sensory "input" issues??

While at my son's teacher conference the other day she mentioned (and it was total news to me) that he has some major needs for sensory INPUT.  I hadn't heard that before but it totally explains why he does the things he does.  I was almost relieved.  He's getting a lot of OT which I didn't realize (he's in a special needs program for a major speech delay). 

She said they use a weighted pillow for circle time, and sometimes those exercise stretch bands that they have tied around a chair that he can use when he needs to.  In OT he gets to run around and go through tubes, etc. 

I want to do all I can at home--but not sure what.  The OT wasn't there to answer those questions---so until I can speak with her, I thought I'd consult my mommy experts. 

Any toy ideas, items for the house, etc? 

ETA;  He basically has a need to grab things and bang his body against stuff.  Most of the time it's just him squeezing my leg or ramming in to me--that type of stuff.  His body basically NEEDS input like that. 

Re: Anyone have experience with sensory "input" issues??

  • Yep, that is my son.  You should talk with the OT about setting up a "sensory diet: for home.  Until you can, check out The Out of Sync Child and The Out of Sync Child Has Fun.

    We have a trampoline in the basement, and a ball pit.  He sleeps with a weighted blanket at night.  We also have an Ikea spinny chair for him.

    Zachary, 8.31.2007 * * * Adam, 3.24.2010<BR>

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  • My son also has sensory input issues.  We have a sensory diet that we do at home and he recieves OT once a week.  We use a weighted lap pillow for riding in the stroller, sitting at dinner, riding in the carseat.  He also sleeps under a weighted blanket.  At every diaper change or when he is stressing out we "brush" him and we also do deep pressure therapy 3 or 4 times a day to help calm him.

    We have an exercise ball that we use to bounce him on, roll over him while applying pressure or for him to use to help him with motor planning.  He is getting a mini trampoline, balance beam, crash pad/chair, and a floor piano for Christmas for him to use.  I'm also thinking about getting him a ball pit.  He loves to be held tightly and squeezed.  One of his favorite games with my DH is to be "smothered" where they take turns smothering each other (not over the face) with pillows.  He loves the pressure it gives him.

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  • imageHis(1&only)wife:

    My son also has sensory input issues.  We have a sensory diet that we do at home and he recieves OT once a week.  We use a weighted lap pillow for riding in the stroller, sitting at dinner, riding in the carseat.  He also sleeps under a weighted blanket.  At every diaper change or when he is stressing out we "brush" him and we also do deep pressure therapy 3 or 4 times a day to help calm him.

    We have an exercise ball that we use to bounce him on, roll over him while applying pressure or for him to use to help him with motor planning.  He is getting a mini trampoline, balance beam, crash pad/chair, and a floor piano for Christmas for him to use.  I'm also thinking about getting him a ball pit.  He loves to be held tightly and squeezed.  One of his favorite games with my DH is to be "smothered" where they take turns smothering each other (not over the face) with pillows.  He loves the pressure it gives him.

    Is there a special place you find these items you are getting him?  I'm so glad that I'm not alone in this.  Thank you guys for the ideas.  Keep 'em coming!

  • DD1 is a sensory seeker. She seeks oral input, so we let her chew gum, we also have her chew on rubber chewies we get off Amazon. Trampolines and hippity hops are great for sensory input-anything that can provide joint compression. You could even let him jump on the couch cushions on the floor. Stomping or carrying a backpack with books are some other helpful things. At school DD1 sits in a cube chair during circle time and has a weighted stuff animal in her lap. She also has a coosh ball she fidgets with and gets to chew gum in class. Your OT will offer some great tips on what to do at home. You could also talk with her about setting up a sensory diet. When DD1 is getting really hyped up I send her outside to swing on the swing set. She is becoming more aware of her body and has identified swinging as being the most helpful. 
    Child #1: 6 yo DD Child #2: 2yo DD
  • imagenaybride04:
    DD1 is a sensory seeker. She seeks oral input, so we let her chew gum, we also have her chew on rubber chewies we get off Amazon. Trampolines and hippity hops are great for sensory input-anything that can provide joint compression. You could even let him jump on the couch cushions on the floor. Stomping or carrying a backpack with books are some other helpful things. At school DD1 sits in a cube chair during circle time and has a weighted stuff animal in her lap. She also has a coosh ball she fidgets with and gets to chew gum in class. Your OT will offer some great tips on what to do at home. You could also talk with her about setting up a sensory diet. When DD1 is getting really hyped up I send her outside to swing on the swing set. She is becoming more aware of her body and has identified swinging as being the most helpful. 

    Thank you!

    What do you guys mean by "sensory diet"???  Is that actions or food??  I'm sorry if I sound ignorant--this is just all so new to me. 

    Boy--I'm wondering now if that is why he's saying he's always hungry.  This kid eats from sun up to sun down--- but it's never enough--and now I'm wondering if it's part of the sensory issues. 

  • Hi I am so glad you posted this because this is my son's issue but I have never heard this term before. He constantly has to be banging/jumping into soft things, like a pillow or couch or his crib at night. He toe walks frequently and grinds his teeth and also hums and rocks. It is funny that you say your son eats a lot too constantly my son eats a lot and shoves a lot of food into his mouth at one time. I was wondering if this had anything to do with his sensory issues too. Right now I have a bean bag for him and he will be getting a few more for xmas so we have one in every room of the house. His OT also was talking about "brushing" and she is going to bring a brushing massager next time she comes for a visit. He also loves to be rough housed and tickled. I am definitely going to look into the other things people suggested.
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  • imagesmiling76:
    imageHis(1&only)wife:

    My son also has sensory input issues.  We have a sensory diet that we do at home and he recieves OT once a week.  We use a weighted lap pillow for riding in the stroller, sitting at dinner, riding in the carseat.  He also sleeps under a weighted blanket.  At every diaper change or when he is stressing out we "brush" him and we also do deep pressure therapy 3 or 4 times a day to help calm him.

    We have an exercise ball that we use to bounce him on, roll over him while applying pressure or for him to use to help him with motor planning.  He is getting a mini trampoline, balance beam, crash pad/chair, and a floor piano for Christmas for him to use.  I'm also thinking about getting him a ball pit.  He loves to be held tightly and squeezed.  One of his favorite games with my DH is to be "smothered" where they take turns smothering each other (not over the face) with pillows.  He loves the pressure it gives him.

    Is there a special place you find these items you are getting him?  I'm so glad that I'm not alone in this.  Thank you guys for the ideas.  Keep 'em coming!

    The "brush" is from his OT.  The exercise ball is a size medium that I purchased at Target.  The mini trampoline I got on Amazon and it is just an adult indoor trampoline, the floor piano is from www.hearthsong.com, the crash pad/pillow is here http://www.amazon.com/4ft-Jaxx-Lounger-Bean-Chair/dp/B003Z9BKKM/ref=pd_sim_sbs_hg_1

    The mini balance beam is: http://www.amazon.com/Pull-Bouy-Inc-1285543-Curve-A-Beam/dp/B0032VMJ1C/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1320885673&sr=8-2

    I made the weighted lap pillow.  I used a piece of flannel and made a pillow it is 9" wide x 20" long and filled with 4lbs of rice (so you can't wash it).  I am making him a weighted blanket but I know you can purchase them online if you aren't able to sew.  I will be filling the weighted blanket with Poly Pellets so that it can be machine washable. 

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  • His 1 and only- I worn if I could use one of those rice filled heating pads to see if he my LO likes weighted input. It isn't very big but maybe for him it will be big enough. I'm going to try it :)
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  • I am an OT who works with kids with sensory processing difficulties.

    I like this website as a source of basic sensory information:
    http://www.sensory-processing-disorder.com
    Along with the books:  The Out of Sync Child and/or The Sensational Child.  After those, try: The Out of Sync Child Has Fun.

    You really should try to talk to your sons OT.  Another option would be outpatient care at a clinic setting in your area.  Find some one who has experience with sensory processing (most pediatric OTs should).

    Lastly, my biggest piece of advice is to start with "heavy work" or "proprioceptive" activities.  These tend to be the most calming and organizing activities for children and include any activities in which your child is using their muscles.  For example, pulling a wagon, pushing a basket of laundry, vacuuming, biking etc.  There are lots of heavy work activities all around you! 

    Hope this helps!  My biggest piece of advice is to talk to the OT.  And possibly try to find some outpatient therapy to supplement school service (depending on how much school OT your son gets- sometimes it is very little).

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  • imagechangingnames:
    His 1 and only- I worn if I could use one of those rice filled heating pads to see if he my LO likes weighted input. It isn't very big but maybe for him it will be big enough. I'm going to try it :)

    Yes definitely try it!  I have one of those and his weighted lap pillow is only a little bit longer but is the same width as my heating pad.  It should give you an idea.

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