QUESTION: Where to Start with Two Toddlers with SPD? Help!

QUESTION:

I have three children, ages 12, 2 ½, and 17 mo. My younger two have both been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder. I need help! I stay at home to be the best mommy I can be. At times, it is more than challenging. They constantly knock things down, bump each other, scream, and fight. I just don’t know what to do. Not to mention, my house is a complete disaster, no matter how much I clean. My question is, how can I get them to calm down? Even just a little so that we can have peace in our house.

GWEN’S ANSWER:

Sounds like you have your hands full! I’ve been in your shoes! It can be overwhelming at times. Here are my suggestions to get you started on the right path:

1. Establish a routine. Use pictures (you can print some from our site, and/or use actual photographs or stickers on index cards) to symbolize all aspects of your day. Start implementing “Room Time” for both of them. You could start with 10 minutes if this is something new for them and build up to 30 minutes twice per day. This is good for them to learn to play independently and to get a break from the stimulation in the house (including each other). It’s also good for you to get a couple of breaks! You can put gates up to keep them in their rooms if necessary. Don’t give in to fussing! 🙂

Other parts of your routine will be: meals, book time, TV time (not too much, but it’s okay to let them watch a couple of shows while you get things done or make phone calls), nap time (even if they don’t sleep, insist that they stay in bed for at least an hour with books or quiet toys), “errands,” outdoor play, etc.

2. It sounds like they are sensory seekers. These kids like rough, active play. We need to make sure we give them appropriate forms of this kind of play. Look at the alerting-activities picture cards for babies and young children. These activities will help meet their need for intense play and then hopefully, they will be able to settle down for a while. You can print these pictures and let them pick activities periodically throughout the day. Build these into the picture routine (use a long strip of cardboard for your routine board).

Let me know if you have any questions about these ideas. Once you get started with these, let me know how it is going, and we can add more techniques from there.

Best Wishes,
Gwen