Lights, Sounds, and So Much More

 The sensory elements of this season can be magical

In our town, these last few days before snowing weather mean many people are hanging up lights, setting out yard displays, and otherwise decorating outside. After all, who wants to do this when your fingers are freezing? Whenever we are in the car after dusk, one of my kids begs me to drive down neighbourhoods she sees lights twinkling in, even if it takes us out of our way. My sensory seeking youngest is fascinated by rainbow lights and points out the tallest decorated trees she can see.

When we’re in a store and she hears the inevitable Christmas music playing, she can’t help but dance or at least stomp to the beat. She might also start drumming on a box or find something on a shelf to use as an instrument. If we’re in the car with the Christmas radio station playing, I can hear her singing and kicking the back of the seat to the rhythm.

She simply cannot help herself joining into the sounds and visual elements of this season! She also wants me to put lit trees in every room of the house. And just wait until she finds out we are making gingerbread houses – the crunchy gingerbread, the super sweet icing, the sour and spicy candies to decorate (and eat of course) might send her into sensory overload.

This is my season to indulge this little sensory seeker! We will make lots of holiday treats that she can smell, touch, taste, use the mixer and food processor for. Buying gifts for her is my treat: she is getting a slime smorgasbord, complete with cutting and smoothing tools, as well as mix-ins like small beads and chunky glitter. Kinetic sand will be a new experience, and perhaps something to stimulate her gross motor skills also, like stepping stones, or a game with a jump on the floorboard.

If you have a sensory seeking child or friend in your life, slow down and have fun with them this season. Crafts, food treats, visual and auditory fun is all around you, and magic for the taking!

Welcome to the Club

Welcome to the club……. it’s lovely to have you here……..we hope you enjoy the ride……all things I do not want to be saying to new parents who have just got a diagnosis for their child but feel I should say to make them feel welcome. It’s not a subscription they’ve just signed up to, one they’ve handpicked out of a catalogue. One they’ve thought might fit their lifestyle.

The truth is it’s not a club anyone would want to be in, it’s not a club anyone would pick to be in and it’s not a club that anyone should have to be welcomed into. No one should have to see their child suffer and have to deal with multiple hourly seizures, feeding issues, spasms, muscle tightness, mobility problems etc. It’s not something you dream of for your child when you are carrying them.

I often wonder what pregnant ladies are thinking when they see us walking down the street. Do they panic that their child might be disabled? Does the thought even cross their mind? Because I know for me it didn’t all those years ago. I kinda felt something wasn’t right but I could never have imagined this world for my baby.

What do you say to a new parent when you know they are going to have to fight for every part of their child’s life? Do you tell them it’s going to be hard or do you tell them it’s easy? Because it is easy to love your child, but it really isn’t easy to see your child deal with all the things they have to deal with.

What would I have wanted as a new parent? Would I have wanted that someone to welcome me with open arms ready to guide me through the path? Of course, I would. That’s why although It’s not something I want to be saying I am glad that parent has found us and they aren’t alone. Even though they didn’t sign up for this club, they are here now and it’s important for them to not feel alone. It’s scary enough being told your child will need support for the rest of their life and will totally rely on you for all their needs, without being left on your own without anyone to go through it with.

I always like to give parents that support to know they don’t have to be alone, that I’m here to support them, but also tell them how wonderful my child is. I didn’t sign up for this club but I actually can’t imagine being anywhere else so I may as well make the most of the club I am in right?