Homeschooling is great for alleviating sensory challenges
We homeschool in part for Cub to have a positive sensory environment so he can focus on learning and not on the sensory challenges he’d have in a traditional classroom. We also make an effort to participate in learning opportunities in our community when we can. By controlling our sensory diet we can work on his coping skills when we are out and about, facing sensory challenges.
Cub’s Autism shows itself strongly with his sensory sensitivities, things like loud noises and busy crowded spaces can be overwhelming and make him easily agitated and anxious. We have learned many ways we can help him control his sensory input from working with an Occupational Therapist. Through trial and error, we found the ones that work the best for Cub.
I use affiliate links to cover the associated costs of providing this website. I receive a commission at no additional cost to you, and this post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for your support of AHM and my family, it means the world to me!
On adventure days Cub takes his backpack which has many of the sensory tools we have found to help him overcome his sensory challenges. Having tools available to him empowers him to control the situation and learn to stay calm. We are able to make the best of the environments we encounter.
So, Whats in Cub’s Sensory Toolkit?
For Cub, that’s his Blankie. He grew attached to it when he was a baby. It is never far away from him even at home. Its presence and silky tag help him stay regulated and focused.
–Noise Canceling Headphones
These are the #1 tool Cub uses. They are easy to pull out in church or a noisy classroom. These help him control the environment so it’s less intimidating to him. Cub is 7 now, as he has grown he has started using these less than he did a few years ago.
–Weighted Lap Pad
This was a suggestion from Cub’s Occupational Therapist. The pressure the weighted lap pad provides is calming and provides positive stimulation. Pushing on walls or a good bear hug can provide similar sensory input. Cub can wear his lap pad on his shoulders when he needs to, it has magnets in the corners to stick together and hold it on him. Having the weight in his backpack also provides the deep pressure when he carries the bag.
-A Fidget Cube
This lets Cub move his hands and stay busy when he is in situations he can’t get up and move physically. He can play with it in his lap while sitting listening to someone talk or waiting in a line. Other fidgets could be Tangles, Slinkys, Puzzle Cubes, Rubber bands, textured balls, or Silly Putty. You have to see what your sensory seeker likes.
-A book to read
Waiting is one of the hardest things for Cub. So we often bring along something of interest to have ready when the need to wait arises. Usually, this is a few books to read from our home library, I wouldn’t recommend library books for the risk of losing them. He often reads these in the car when we run errands for an extended time or when he gets bored waiting for us grown ups to finish talking somewhere.
-A Water Bottle
We often forget to repack this as he often takes it out of his bag. Taking a drink of water can be an important detraction tool when he is getting anxious or agitated. He can also be demanding when he is thirsty and can’t get a drink immediately so problem solved when he carries his own supply!
-A Backpack to carry it all. The action of carrying the weighted backpack can provide input and help the child work towards being a self-advocate in meeting their own sensory needs. I would suggest a simple design with only a large and small pocket. It’s easy to lose things in too many pockets and an unneeded stress when dealing with preventing a meltdown.
A Checklist for you!
Head over to Inside Our Normal and pick up your own copy of the Sensory Toolkit Checklist with additional ideas for what to include so you can have your own backpack ready to avoid sensory challenges and make your next family adventure a success.
More about Cynthia
Cynthia Heren blogs at Inside Our Normal. As a young adult, she dreamed about the possibility of homeschooling her kids. She envisioned fun projects together and having a front row seat as they made discoveries. Cynthia believes in God’s sovereign design for families. She believes that each of us parents is uniquely suited to be the best ones for our kids; our personalities and experiences mold us to be the parents our kids need us to be. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Join thousands of mamas, just like you!
Subscribe today to access freebies, tips & encouragement, as well as occasional sales and discounts!