Recently my parents made a whistle stop trip up to visit before heading off on their week’s holiday and Buzz was, well…… let’s just say ‘the Whackadoodle express had left the station and was heading for Crazy Town at a rapid rate. During this visit my mum tried to help Buzz calm down (which usually works for a short while), but she wasn’t prepared for Buzzbee’s response to her question and my dad DID NOT in any certain terms fall about laughing at both Buzz’s response or the look on my mum’s face – Waxy on the other had was in complete hysterics and refusing to hide his amusement.
Nanny-bee: ’“Wow Buzzbee, you are super lively today. What can nanny do to help you feel safer and slow down a little?”
Buzzbee: “I don’t know. Maybe we should both go on a diet, Nanny!”
To an outsider, reading or even listening to this brief dialogue between Buzz and my mum, they could be forgiven for thinking Buzz was being cheeky to his nanny. However the type of ‘diet’ Buzz is talking about is in fact a ‘sensory diet’, more commonly known as ‘SMS time’ (save mummy’s sanity).
Buzz is almost permanently in an elevated state of hyper-arousal and it comes as no surprise to Bumble and I, that most people who know him or witness his ‘buzzing’ automatically assume that he has ADHD. Well!!! Certainly people who are only seeing the tip of a deeply submerged trauma iceberg. Maybe he is! Maybe he is not! I believe the later of the two and only time will tell, what conclusion his paediatrician will come to about what is going on for Buzz, but there one thing we do know for certain, and that is….Buzzbee is extremely sensory and that alone poses challenges each day – okay! His sensory seeking needs pose LOTS of challenges each and almost every day, but over the years we have slowly adopted tricks and tools to support him and which have slowly fitted into our family routine to a point that it has become almost instinctive and more recently some of our extended family have also begun to use them themselves when with Buzz.
So what is our definition of a ‘sensory diet’ and what does Buzz’s ‘homemade’ one look like?
My parents found http://www.sensorysmart.com’s description the simplest to understand, so rather than reinvent the wheel and completely mess up the description. This is what they have to say – There are so many other fantastic sites that could are equally as good at describing it, I have just chosen this one as an example.
Just as your child needs food throughout the course of the day, his need for sensory input must also be met. A “sensory diet” (coined by OT Patricia Wilbarger) is a carefully designed, personalized activity plan that provides the sensory input a person needs to stay focused and organized throughout the day. Just as you may jiggle your knee or chew gum to stay awake or soak in a hot tub to unwind, children need to engage in stabilizing, focusing activities too. Infants, young children, teens, and adults with mild to severe sensory issues can all benefit from a personalized sensory diet.
Buzz’s sensory cookbook is constantly growing and we are almost daily adding new ‘homemade recipes’ that help give Buzzbee the sensory breaks/input that he needs.
Although the list of tricks we use to help Buzz relax is long. There a several ‘recipes’ that are used pretty much on a daily basis and are firm favourites with Buzz.
- Bear hugs
- Listening to music on his Mp3 player
- Stretching/tug of wars with his resistance band
- Playing with his sand pit or water tray
- Dancing (street/hiphop)
- Potion making in a warm bubble bath will light-changing floating toy
- Sausage rolling in quilt or blanket (swaddling)
- Drinking from different sports bottles or straws
And, so many more…… but, there are two favourites which, are polar opposite sensory stimulations for Buzzbee but have the ability to achieve the same end result – A calmer Buzzbee!
This post is written as part of ‘The Adoption Social’s’ Weekly Adoption Shout Out #WASO