"Believe it or not, your child may not purposefully be stalling or trying to aggravate you, but actually using an adaptive strategy to organize her sensory system. For most of us, effective sensory integration (the process of using the senses together to form a composite picture of who we are physically, where we are, and what is going on around us) occurs automatically, unconsciously, and without effort. But for some of us, the process is inefficient demanding extra effort with no guarantee of accuracy.
Asking obvious questions out loud, such as "Are these my shoes" may be a way for a child to adapt and modify for faulty sensory processing skills. By hearing herself ask the question, she gets the extra opportunity to process this information auditorily (learning by hearing). By actually saying it, she gets the extra opportunity to process this information motorically (learning by doing).
Sometimes just knowing there is a neurological reason for repetitive questions can make it easier to handle as a parent or caregiver. As an occupational therapist, I help people with disabilities experience success in work, rest and play. I often see therapeutic possibilities in the simplest activities of daily living. Children with sensory processing disorders often benefit from having a multi-sensory morning routine to help get (and keep) them organized thoughout the day. I recommend having the child participate in making a simple, easy to read checklist; thereby helping to establish their responsibility in the execution of the list. Each morning the child can read the list out loud (they will need help and reminders at first). As they complete each item on the list, check it off. Laminating the list and using a dry-erase marker assures the list can be re-used. Adding in sensory exercises to super charge the brain can give the morning routine an extra umph! A sample routine might include:
1. Get out of bed
2. 1 set of Kid-Kicks
3. Get Dressed
4. Eat breakfast
5. Brush Teeth
6. Prepare Back Pack
7. Put on socks and shoes
Perform the following exercises as you chant their names:
1. "Kid Kicks" Squat down, hands flat on the ground. Jump both feet behind you (push-up position) - Jump feet back to squat - Stand up.
2. "Elbow mix" Touch left elbow to right knee at waist level. Touch right elbow to left knee at waist level.
3. "Self-hug" Squat down and firmly hug your knees to your chest, then stand up,
4. "Squish a bug" Point elbows out to the sides, press palms firmly together.
Kid Kicks Baker, A. & Bell, C. (2007) Autism and DD at School; OT to the Rescue. Dog Ear Publishing, Indianapolis, IN
See OT to the Rescue for activities to assist children with sensory processing issues; available at www.OTtotheRescue.com. She provides occupational therapy evaluation, treatment, consultation, workshops, and special needs yoga. Angela R. Baker, PhD, OTR/L
http://www.OTtotheRescue.com (626) 593-7733