Uncovering your child has sensory challenges can be overwhelming! Where is a parent to begin? Here are the top Sensory Processing Disorder Resources that you should start with.
As the mom of two sensory kids and publisher of The Sensory Spectrum, I understand how overwhelming a sensory diagnosis can be. Today, I’m going to give you the four resources every parent should be exhausting to help their kiddos.
Sensory Processing Disorder Resources to Start With
Look, I know you’re tired. I know you’re worn out. I know you think you don’t have anything left (and there are going to be days where you don’t), but I can’t emphasize enough that you should maximize any resource you have access to.
It doesn’t matter if you have the monetary resources or whatnot. There are loads of free and low-cost resources at your fingertips that you might not even be aware of! This post contains affiliate links.
1. Try early intervention
Use your state’s early intervention program if your child is a toddler. Depending on your state, town and sometimes the way the wind is blowing, you might get assistance through the early intervention program. I know a lot of places won’t give you the benefits, even if your child is seriously behind the developmental milestones. That is a whole different post.
We certainly have had our personal share of fighting our school system in getting my sons help where the school just didn’t seem to be taking it seriously. And to be honest, we’ve had to do almost all of their sensory support outside of the school system; however, if you can get anything through the school, do it.
Keep in mind, however, that school OTs and personnel are focused on things that may impede your child’s academic achievements and growth (as well as their budgets) and not necessarily things that disrupt your child’s everyday life.
2. Read every book you can
If you’re in a rural area, you can get a hold of some fabulous books, and I’ve listed them farther down. There’s a library somewhere in your sector that has it and if they don’t, ask your library if they can get it through an interlibrary loan.
Yes! Libraries actually loan books to other libraries. Also, many libraries are jumping onto the digital book bandwagon… and I’ve been shocked at what they had available for free that I could read on my computer but couldn’t actually get in hard copy.
Also, many libraries have money set aside to get the kind of specialty books we would want but they just don’t know what to buy. Ask your librarian if they’re looking for suggestions or requests. I have come in asking for particular books only to get a phone call a month or two later saying they ordered it on my suggestion.
And on a side note, I want to say… get to know your librarians on a first name basis. They want people to ask them questions. They want to be needed, and they want to help and be engaged. You only win if you have a personal rapport with your local librarians. They can be amazing allies for information.
The four books I think everyone should their hands on include:
- Sensory Processing 101
- Raising a Sensory Smart Child
- The In Sync Child
- Understanding Your Child’s Sensory Signals
3. Online Resources
Sensory Processing Disorder Resources
Of course, use The Sensory Spectrum. If you’re taxed and can’t visit the site on a regular basis, the site has a weekly newsletter so you can see what came out during the week. There’s also a search bar so you can find articles about specifically what you’re looking for. In addition, The Sensory Spectrum has a very active FB page where I share a lot more supportive articles and inspiration.
In addition, I run a closed FB group called Voices of SPD Parent Discussion Group where you can ask other parents for insights and advice. It’s a closed group so only other group members can see what’s being asked and said… not the people you’ve friended on FB, including your neighbors or family.
Another site I highly recommend you follow is Specialism. I adore the site Specialism. They have tons of Pediatric Occupational therapists, physical therapists and psychologists who write for the site. Their articles are insightful and approachable and they have a great weekly newsletter.
Also, I follow OT Connections, which is the blog from the American Occupational Therapy Association. Some of their stuff is heavy on the industry side but they still have great gems.
Additional Sensory Website Resources
If your child has additional challenges going on, or if you suspect, there are three sites that I follow religiously. The first is Autism Speaks, which focuses on Autism but they touch on a lot of sensory information as well because a good portion of Autistic kids also have sensory challenges. The second one is ADDitude about ADD and ADHD. And the third one is Understood, which focuses on Learning Disorders, such as Dyslexia but also touches on a lot of social and emotional issues that come up for these kids.
There are tons of occupational therapists out there writing blogs. Some are more active than others but many of them are wonderful resources. For the sake of fairness, I’m not going to list out site names… there are just too many to name anyway. But if you do a simple Google search or individual search on Pinterest, you’ll not only find sites that focus specifically on pediatric occupational therapy but a lot of blogs like my site The Jenny Evolution have a mixture of activities for kids, many of which are a fit for sensory kids.
And speaking of Pinterest, use it! Folks from all walks of life are posting their sensory activities, parenting tips and occupational therapy insights. There are so many great places to go to start getting the ideas that you can do. There are a lot of great things out there that are complicated, but there are also a lot of easy exercises you can be doing at home.
The Sensory Spectrum on Pinterest has a number of boards, broken down by category, such as fine motor, sensory bins, seasonal activities and then overall sensory fun. But there are tons of individual folks, just like yourself, who have their own SPD boards. Do a search and follow them… just because they don’t have their own sites doesn’t mean they aren’t finding the same information you want… and they’re doing the work for you!
Don’t forget about sites that share the personal trials and joys of having a sensory kid. You’ll see a lot of them on my monthly Sensory Blog Hop. Truly, I love how open people are to sharing their fears, dreams, misfires, inspirations and victories and letting us know we are having a communal experience even though we may feel on our own.
Sensory Facebook Groups
Another wonderful online resource are FB groups. There are a ton out there. The Sensory Spectrum’s Facebook Group focuses strictly on helping each other with suggestions and information. Other groups are there to just share your thoughts, jot down and rant and be heard.
Read my round-up of Facebook Sensory Processing Support Groups to find the right one for you. Some have people posting every hour or more. Others have a couple of posts a day that don’t take over your newsfeed. They are not necessarily a one-size fits all. You need to decide which ones best for your needs and personality. Also, be aware that some Facebook groups are public, which means if you post or comment in them, your Facebook friends may see that on their newsfeed. Closed Facebook groups allow only members to see what’s going on in the group.
4. Maximize YouTube
I know it seems like a strange place to go, but YouTube is not all funny cat videos and Minecraft gamers. A lot of educational professionals, OTs or moms with sensory kids are sharing their own sensory activities and OT tips — from how to properly brush to how to sneak in fine motor practice into your day. But make sure you’re going to an OT or someone who is truly knowledgable because not all the videos are true or accurate, even though they present themselves that way.
How to Use These Resources
Ok… that’s a lot of online resources, right? But remember, this is a marathon, not a race. So find some people that you like that you can follow to just give you one tip a week. You don’t have to drink from the fire hose. Just use every resource you can get a hold of, but then also recognize that you don’t have to implement it all today because it’s not going anywhere.
Figure out one thing that you can do this week and then start implementing it to lead you to the next week. Or decide that you’re going to uncover just why your kid freaks out during baths and work on finding ways to work with him and make bath time not a complete traumatic experience for everyone involved.
I’m still a mom who turns to all the resources I can because every time I feel like I know everything, there’s a new book that comes out or a new study or a new tactic. Sensory challenges doesn’t necessarily stop, so the more you can teach yourself, the easier it is to manage them in the moment.
When my son was diagnosed with ADHD and Dyslexia last year, I felt like I was drinking from the fire hose again. I wanted to know everything I could. I wanted to soak up everything. But I forced myself to take a breath and realize that this is not a race. It’s a marathon. And some days I’m going to stumble. Some days my son is going to stumble. But as long as we can think about the bigger picture and figure out what went wrong or what worked or didn’t work, we were going to be okay in the long-run and so are you. Read more Sensory Processing Disorder Tips on The Jenny Evolution.
To learn more about Sensory Processing Disorder, please consider the following affiliate links provided for your convenience: