They aren’t just for eating.
Have you ever felt so overwhelmed by emotion or sensations that your chest tightens, your heart races, your skin crawls, and you can’t help but scream just to let it all out? Well, that is an every day experience for my son.
Some of the simplest things can cause him to be overwhelmed and have a tantrum. It could be that his kindles battery died. He didn’t get the snack he wanted. He wanted to hide behind his rocking chair all day and we have places to go. It could be the dreaded changing of shoes and socks.
So when we find ourselves in a situation where he becomes inconsolable he has a sensory box. I often call it the calm down box. There is a long tote under my bed that has fifty pounds if white rice in it. He also has small toys and trinkets hidden throughout the box that he can investigate and play with. Some of his trinkets include a funnel, a cereal bowl, a comb, bouncy balls, a belt buckle, small plastic animals and a bunch of other little knock knacks. When life gets hard we pull out the Calm Down Box. He usually fights getting in it. I think he knows it makes him feel better and he doesn’t always WANT to feel better. After he is in he will sit and play for a long time. On occasion he will even lay down in there and just be still.
Seamus also goes to Sensory Integration twice a week. This service is one that seems slower to make progress but it’s definitely there. They are helping him to get his senses to work together and they help him tolerate transitions from one activity to another. One of his biggest sensory struggles is having things touch his feet. Like how after you mow the lawn and you run around barefoot the tiny blades harmlessly stick to your feet and of course turn them green. As soon as Seamus notices this he runs to the hose box and has to clean it off with the cold water. He doesn’t leave it there for long. He will run back and rinse his feet every couple of minutes while he is outside. SI has helped him adjust and learn that the grass isn’t stuck to his legs forever. They have helped him learn the skills to clean off what you don’t want on you. Just like that. A reduction in tantrums. Sometimes he still gets too overwhelmed to help himself but he is adapting some and becoming more tolerant to it.
Buddies playing in a bean box together.