Sunday, July 22, 2012

What in the world is SPD?

I have mentioned in a few posts about my youngest being diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). What is SPD you may ask? Basically it is a neurological disorder where the brain doesn't process sensory cues like normal people. The wires get crossed so to say. This can present itself in kiddos who experience senses more extreme than others or it can be the opposite and they don't experience senses as intensely. Some kiddos experience both depending on the sensory we are talking about. It is a spectrum disorder so there is a wide range of how it can turn out in each child diagnosed with it.

I am still learning myself. It is like learning a new language and I have had to learn quickly. My youngest was diagnosed at 19 months because I originally thought he had a speech delay. A development specialist and speech pathologist came to observe him and all though he didn't say anything they observed "hurricane play", extreme reckless behavior & rough play, eating issues, and more. They really felt the language was there, but because he could regulate his sensory issues he wouldn't use language. In fact, the sensory issues was affecting his entire way of being able to function. Then came an observation from an OT (or new saving grace) and she confirmed SPD diagnosis.

It has been a whirlwind last three months. With lots of reading and scouring the internet. The most ironic thing is my oldest son may have it as well. There are some major red flags, but they are completely different than my younger ones. Hence, the spectrum part of things. Here is some things that helps shed light on the whole issue if you interested (they can explain it far better than me):

Books that I like on SPD:

Super long post I know. Hmm now you know what has been on my plate. The good thing: a lot of the way you work with these kiddos is with sensory play. Well I can do that-I have been doing that. Now I am learning new ways to play and can I just tell you my little one is up to saying 18 words since we started OT sensory activities. He also will look at a book, and can point out body parts & animals, and play (well for a little bit). It's true! That doesn't mean I don't have a LONG road up ahead because I do. I hope you still read as I continue working with my boys, even if it tends to be more sensory related. Post this week on sensory play ideas that are great for ALL kids!!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


This is a game of critical thinking that we do in the teaching world. I decided to introduce the game to "A" who is going into 1st grade next year. You want to take picture of something that are related, but not completely. For example you could do geometric shapes but not all triangles or animals but not all mammals. I chose to teach "A" the game with animals because I just happened to have a bunch of National Geographic animal cards that come in the Little Kids magazine (love this magazine for primary kiddos). I know they also have similar cards in the Zoobook magazines.

The way you play Categories is to have the child sort the cards into different categories of their choosing. You can tell them they can sort it by type of animal, color, where they live, whatever they want it is their choice but all the cards in that category must be related somehow. Tell them you will guess which categories they chose when they are ton. Then sit back and RESIST THE URGE to tell them what to do or direct them in any way. The point of the game is critical thinking so they need to work it out for themselves. I left the room actually. When "A" was done he called me in to guess. His first were things that live in water, near water, and completely on land. It was a tricky one. Have the child explain the categories and why they chose them (part of the critical thinking process). Next I sorted the cards and he guessed. This is a great way to model how to play. He loved it and we played many rounds of taking turns making categories. Here is some of the categories we came up with:

With shells
Baby Animals (another group was unsure of age)
Have Spots
What continent they live on (that was me not me 6 year old)
The sky is the limit on the different categories you can make just with the animal cards alone. In a school setting we have played this game for almost every unit we teach: plants, colonial life, Native Americans, geometry, landforms, habitat and environment, rocks & minerals, etc. If you don't have cards make ones from magazine cut-outs or Google images. Kids love thinking they can stump, and better yet, teach adults-its empowering!
Happy Playing Everyone!