Take Me Out To The Ball Game

alex baseball standing

Our 10 year old son is homeschooled.  The school district does not permit homeschooled students to join in school sports.  However, little league baseball is ran by wonderful, dedicated, parents.  Our son was able to try baseball!  Yes, with a little coaxing, learning it’s history (favorite subject), watching movies & YouTube videos, and lots of preparing before his first big day of practice- he tried it! His OT (occupational therapist) even helped us to prepare him.  A few sessions he had to concentrate / self control to catch a ball at a certain distance with loud noises (teammates / parents yelling) were in the background. It’s hard for sensory kiddos. Grandma and I took him to an 1800s baseball game hoping to pique his interest. I was so excited for him.  Hoping and praying he would absolutely love it!  But, was he excited?  I wanted him so much to experience being part of a team. To win. To lose. To have fun with a team.

alex baseball-001

As you can see by his stance, he did’t fall in love with the game.  He had no excitement for it.  During one game a ball came flying at him in the outfield, I held my breath until the outcome. Sensory kiddos brains are wired differently. Too much input creates a ‘traffic jam’.  A real challenge was before him and he had to take action. The ball, thankfully, grounded before it reached him -quickly rolling towards him it rolled up his body and up his face and tipped his hat. I’m still holding my breath- frozen. The crowd all in unison whoa-ed and the coaches went to check on him. I breathed out…he was perfectly fine.  We can laugh about it now. He handled it well in the moment on the field.  And while in the public’s eye he stood his ground and participated as soon as that car door shut it was over.  The frustration in his voice and the displaced gestures and comments towards us quickly rolled out of his mouth. I questioned myself by strongly encouraging him to continue to play. It was challenging for him and I was so proud he stepped up to the plate.

alex baseball miss

We made it to game 3 and I so know the imperative life lesson to NEVER quit…I just couldn’t force him to finish the season and he slowly worked up to a full blown meltdown lasting for nearly an hour. Yes, I was sad and somewhat disappointed because I feel like he’s missing out on so much not playing a sport and learning valuable lessons along the way…I even felt some guilt.

Yet, I also came to the realization that he truly didn’t enjoy the sport and that it is OKAY! He will gain valuable lessons in other ways – in other competitions. Not to beat myself up because I couldn’t pique his interest in playing baseball….this year, maybe next year.  Also, not to make him feel as if he failed because he truly succeeded in trying and going in the outfield, and especially batting in front of everyone!!!  He tried – we tried and that’s what matters most.  So, for now, just take my star and I out to the ball game- we’ll watch.

Summer Blues in a Worry Box

alex cool pic in treeAs school wound down and summer began…for other children it’s an exciting time…free time…fun time – woohoo NO HOMEWORK, no worries – be happy!  However, for sensory kids it can be overwhelming – the changing of schedules and routines, more people and visits, vacation and/or staycations.  Even the clothing…making that transition from warm clothes to shorts, ooooh my, and especially tennis shoes/boots to sandals.  It’s always an adjustment period I know.

But, this year we had a rough start.  Rough start to summer that is.  Our 10 year old is homeschooled, he has a sibling in public school.  One would think he would enjoy his brother being home all day….and he does in small doses, except it’s more talking, different routines, more interaction…he likes his bubble and his alone time, and yes, my undivided attention.  It’s changed. Change is hard.  It took about a month to smooth out for his temperament to adjust as he had many outbursts, anger fits, and a super loooong meltdown.  Breaks my heart when he still will ask,  “Why do I act like I do?” and say, “I don’t mean it.”  I know he doesn’t mean to hit himself, call himself dumb, break things.  I know his heart.  I know it’s good.  I know he’s smart.

We created a ‘worry box’.  He covered it with construction paper and was content with it (Louisville Cardinals- red & white).  The purpose is for him to write down his worry – place it in the box and when he is ready we pull it out to read and talk about it, validate it- find a solution, if possible….NOT in the moment, but later when he is calm and is ready to fully listen – maybe have his favorite snack or have him swinging in his sensory swing. His first one stated, “going in the cherch.”  I was surprised because he’s never mentioned being nervous going into the church before- he goes practically every Wednesday evening- by himself!!!  And he loves vacation Bible school – however, he said he was nervous because there were so many children and it was too noisy, too much talking.  He did not want to go.  I didn’t make him.  Maybe next year.  He is content participating in the small youth group Wednesday evenings and that makes him happy.

Back to the ‘worry box’…it certainly is a start, hopefully, to engage his thoughts and worries to a better understanding of why and how we can help him overcome his very real concerns and alleviate negative behavior.  It’s all worth a try!

For now, we are steady and ready and building his self-esteem because he is GOOD.  He is smart.  Striving for worry-free days.worry box

Photo Therapy Helps


Our last outing, this past weekend, my 9 year old son, his friend and I drove to Frankfort, KY to be a part of the Days of Knights event. It is a Medieval, living history, experience that is historically accurate re-creation of several time periods from the era known as the Middle Ages. A spectacular event that is held in Frankfort every other year.

We like to practice ‘photo therapy’.  His project in 2014 at our first visit to the the Days of Knights event was to complete 4 steps: 1) stop and ask reenactors to take their picture 2) to look them in the eye while speaking to them 3) to verbally thank them and 4) to enjoy the event. It was a challenge for him to look strangers in the eye and to speak to them, much less strangers with swords and armor! He did very well completing his steps and he did enjoy the event immensely. He met many very kind reenactors certainly willing to accommodate my son with his request.

We printed several 11×14 portraits of the Knights in shining armor for our own art show in 2015. One portrait won 1st place in another art show last year as well! This years event we decided to take several prints in hopes to find those in the portraits. So, the steps for him at this Midieval’s event were to: 1) find those in the portraits 2) say hello and show them the prints 3) look them in the eye while speaking 4) give them the prints and of course 5) to ENJOY the event! He did wonderfully and he enjoyed it even more this year!

He particularly enjoyed finding 2 reenactors that were in a portrait together. They are friends, both reside in different states and meet every other year for Days of Knights. My son really connected with them and they were so delighted to see their print! My son snapped another pic this year of the 2 holding their portrait from 2014. This year rather than having a somber look on their faces, being time period correct, they had smiles! We look forward to 2018! And this time no steps for my son to complete for I know he will lead his own project!


Sensory Kiddos and Swimming

Summer is upon us and so comes the ‘real’ struggles our kids face while swimming.  Listed below are a few pointers to think about and do to help understand our child:

Smells. Chlorine in the pools has a distinct and powerful smell and the lake and ocean water has a distinct odor as well that may disturb some sensory kids. My son has an initial first reaction to the smells but we hang out and play in the sand, or play other games until he seems to acclimate to his new surroundings when he is ready he will go.  You can check out your options, understand your child and be patient.

Getting their face wet. Very often, the biggest challenge for a child with sensory processing issues is to get his face wet. Wearing goggles and masks often is very soothing to kids because these items keep part of the child’s face and eyes dry, helps him to see better in the water, and provides a nice amount of calming pressure against the back of the head.  I didn’t realize how helpful this was until my son borrowed his brother’s large goggles.  I couldn’t believe the difference of him in the water playing – he doesn’t swim without the large goggles now and he still often comes up to wipe his face off on the towel- and that is OK.

Noises and movement. We know kids love to play in the water- by knowing this we know there are many loud noises- squealing, laughing, yelling and splashing in and around the water. For a child with auditory and visual processing differences these noises and movements are very unexpected and it can provoke anxiety.  Plan your trips swimming and possibly swim during times that are less crowded.  We will move if necessary further away from others- not that we are being rude- just he needs his space.

Temperature.   This is a real issue for some kids.  Your child may be very reluctant to enter a pool where the temperature is very different from the air.  We simply can’t throw them in as our parent’s did to us to get use to it- it doesn’t work that way.  They must go on their own terms and to help with this- try having them shower beforehand and gradually change the temperature so the water won’t be such a shock to their system when entering a pool.  Or if at the lake or ocean gradually have them splash water on their feet, legs and keep going until he is comfortable with the temperature and he has a sense of control over the feeling.  I let my guy, on his own terms, get in the water- it takes time but eventually he is in and I give NO pressure!alex getting use to water

Motor planning. Swimming takes motor planning skills, which many sensory kids find challenging. My little guy, we hope, will learn to fully swim this year….he’s 9 now.  He learned to doggy paddle last summer.  (His older brother is a fish in the water – always has been.)  His coordination he always found so difficult to manage- and that is OK.  It takes time and we have high hopes that this will be the year!!!  We try every year.  Be patient the butterfly will emerge- eventually.

Footwear & Swimwear. Walking on rough and even hot surfaces such as parking lots, sidewalks, cement near the pools and even the sand and grass can feel excruciating to a sensory kid.  I always have water shoes on my son while at the lake.  Granted the adjustment period is there for him to wear them….BUT, once he makes that adjustment to his new shoes he wears them constantly while swimming…I believe it helps alleviate the different textures and temperatures.  As to the swimwear – try different swimwear to see what your child can tolerate- some may like the speedo type and others don’t seem to mind so much the hanging wet shorts.

Swimming season brings on new challenges but with patience and understanding not only can your SPDer have a great time swimming so can the entire family.  Enjoy the memories being made!



Cookies and Ribbons Aren’t Cutting It.

Great read I found and I wanted to share.  Trinity Nicholas is a licensed therapist (MSW/ LCSW) in South Charleston who works with children ages 5-18 and a parent of a 15-year-old son who has autism. She knows what she is talking about…

“Have you ever heard of sensory issues and how they can impact a person?

Autism can manifest in many ways: tantrums, poor impulse control, impaired speech or inability to speak, inability to process what’s being said, inability to plan or understand consequences of actions, aggression, sensory issues, inability to toilet train, elopement. Elopement means that the person may dash off in crowds, from the school classroom, from the home, or maybe they will open a car door in moving traffic.”

“Changes in school environment could also go a long way toward integrating these children. Every school should have a sensory room with ball pits, trampolines, crash pads (huge beanbags filled with foam that kids can safely jump into), weighted blankets, and a sensory swing. Additionally, there should be a quiet room with padded floors and walls, blankets, crash pads and other soft items where meltdowns can happen without injury. Staff could observe the child through a window in the door to make sure they are safe, and this would keep staff out of the line of the tantrum.”

Please, click link below to read more:




Dear Game Changer

Dear difficult child,

You’ve always given me a run for my money. Parenting tactics that worked on your siblings don’t work on you. Where they’d give in, you’d push back. Where they’d say “I’m sorry” you’d say “I hate you.” My parenting self-esteem has taken many hits as you challenge me over and over again. Your will is like iron and bending it takes all of my energy.

I’ve had to dig deep to parent you. I’ve had to follow through and be stronger than I’ve ever been before. To be honest, you exhaust me mentally and emotionally. You’ve embarrassed me in public more times than I can count.

Some days I feel like I’m failing you, but I refuse to give up. Why?
Because you’re mine and I know that one day you’ll move mountains. I know that if I can just help you channel that steel will into something good, you’ll be a force to be reckoned with. You’re fearless. You’ll move mountains. You’ll defend the silenced. You’ll shape the future. You’ll breathe fire.

As you sit in time out, finally calm after screaming and yelling, I want you to know that even though you think I’m the enemy, I’m your biggest cheerleader. You may look in the mirror and see a tear-streaked child with messy hair, but I see a powerhouse. I see a game changer. I see a leader.

When you finally apologize and learn today’s lesson we’ll hug it out like we always do and I’ll pray that you get it.

Keep doing you, sweetheart. I know you have fire burning inside of you. It’s my job to make sure that you don’t let it consume you but instead use it to burn a path in the world one day. —author unknown

I get you and I love you.
xoxo Mama

Proprioceptive and Vestibular Senses- What are they?

I was so proud of my son today- he just turned 9 years old and he roller skated for the first time all by himself.  They tightened the wheels, but he was brave and he did his best.  He even tried the game limbo.  He’s never wanted to try it before and after we learned about the additional senses and his body awareness, or lack thereof,  I was able to understand his reasoning for not wanting to try.  These seeming little accomplishments are truly big ones for him!   It built his confidence up that much more today and he wants to go skating again.  Yes- a small victory was won today!

Below is an excerpt from a great article I found online:

“What Proprioception Does

We all have receptors in our muscles that tell us where our body parts are. For example, if you raise your hand, you know that your arm is over your head. You don’t have to think about it or look in a mirror. But kids with poor proprioception may think their arm is over their head when it’s really straight out in front of them.

What the Vestibular Sense Does

The vestibular system includes the parts of the inner ear and brain that help control balance, eye movement and spatial orientation. It helps keep you stable and upright. Children with vestibular issues may not know where their body is in space. This can make them feel off balance and out of control.”

Click the link below to read the full article.

Trouble with motor skills.


When your child is just fine at school…

…and then he comes home and explodes.  Many of us certainly know the signs.  I knew by his facial expression, his body language…it was coming- prepare, stay calm, let him blow, keep him safe, regenerate, be kind, show love, and move on.

Another great blog I found this evening:

“That’s the delayed effect. It’s a real thing… trust me. The times over the years I’ve felt so confused and isolated when teachers have said to me, “Well, that is a surprise. We don’t see any of that here at school.” Or I’ve heard, “Well, he can behave for me, so maybe you’re being too soft on him.” I spent many a sleepless night wondering if it was me. Was it my parenting? But I am his mom, and my gut instinct is always right. I knew there was something my child was struggling with, and all I had to do was understand what his behavior was telling me. My child explodes at home with me because I’m his safe place. I am predictable and calm, and he can really be himself at home. He is fully accepted at home.” by Michelle Myers

When I Realized Why My Son Melts Down at Home but Not at School


7 Things SPD has taught me.

“I’m not a bad parent.

For the longest time, I thought that I was doing something wrong. I honestly thought that maybe I was a bad mom. No one else ever saw my son’s behavior. I would get looks of disbelief and comments like “well he doesn’t act like that for me.” The diagnosis of sensory processing disorder actually was a relief for me. It meant that there was something going on causing the behavior. It wasn’t simply me being a bad parent. I know that I’m not perfect and of course I make mistakes, but I am a good mom.”

Another excerpt from a great read – blog entry- to read more please click the link below:

7 things sensory processing disorder has taught me.


Great Advice for Your Anxious Child

“9 Things Every Parent with an Anxious Child Should Try