Welcome back to my crazy house blog. Today I want to jump right into what is a sensory overload and how we deal with the explosions! Especially right after school. If your kids are anything like mine you can probably relate. You know when your kid comes home, throws the school bag, gives you attitude while stomping up the stairs, slamming the door but still yelling, making loud sounds and tarring their room apart from having a full day of keeping emotions in check, socializing, staying focused, testing limits all while their mind is fully loaded with no filters?
What is sensory overload? A sensory overload is when a person receives to much sensory stimulants that are happening all at once affecting their nervous system. Especially while in an environment that they were not fully prepared for or just not comfortable with (explaining why some kids may be quite happy at a hockey game but not else where or can’t stand noise but are the loudest person you know). When they have to maintain their self-control for a period of time such as a full day at school; which often enough results in an after-school overload explosion. Typically found in people who are on the autism spectrum but I believe even children with ADHD or not can experience similar explosions.
What may run through a persons mind when building up a Sensory Overload Explosion!? “My sock is sliding off, people chatting, kids squealing, bell goes off, bumping in line, unexpected substitute teacher mispronounces my name, Dave’s sitting in my spot, Fred is chewing gum like a mad cow, Jill is coming in late disturbing the class, teacher just repeated the same phrase three times and now its on a contestant replay, clock ticking, educational assistant’s body wash is making me nauseous, desk shuffling, fan blowing the blinds, lights humming, PA system makes a loud crackling sound before the announcements start about head-lice, head feels itchy, teachers shoes are clacking, kids coughing, pencil tapping, markers squeaking against the whiteboard, clock still ticking, my pencil broke and its only 8:30AM.
Preparing is a key element that I try to do as much as possible by keeping good communication with their teachers, adding their school calendar to my phone calendar, double checking they have their noise canceling headphones, leaving reminders in their lunch kits when needed and being prepared with sensory calming activities when they get home. I don’t try to talk to them beyond “hello, how was your day?” depending on the level of explosion some guidance is needed in keeping everyone safe. Once the are calm we engage in some sort of activity or just cuddle on the couch and watch TV.
Some of our Favorite Sensory Overload calming activities are:
#1. Slime – I pour in about a quarter or so package of slime-baff from dollarama into a half filled dollarama container of warm water then add an activator (1 tbls. of borax mixed into 3/4 cup warm water mixed in) mix the activator into the slime-baff bucket. *WARNING* borax is a chemical and should be handled by an adult until properly mixed into the slime-baff as it may cause chemical burns to sensitive skin.
#2. Drawing, colouring or painting with all the supplies ready to go at the kitchen table.
#3. Cornmeal or dollarama magnetic sand in a tray to just feel or draw in it with their fingers.
#4. Large shallow Lego bin for even if they don’t want to build anything they can just let the Lego’s run through their hands and listen to the sounds.
#5. Sensory treasure box filled with little things to calm their minds (squishy ball, fidget, puddy etc.) either sitting quietly alone or getting cuddles,watching TV or listening to music 🙂
Thank you for visiting, drop a comment about your after school explosions and calming down activities. I hope to see you next time at my crazy house