Education · Family · Preschool

Life with Sensory Processing Disorder

We knew Tempest was a little different from the moment she was born. From pretty much day one, she wanted to be left alone. She was the only infant I have ever met that didn’t want to be held. We had breastfeeding issues from the start because she pushed me away. She even learned to hold her own bottle at 3 months because she didn’t want me messing with her.

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By the time she was 3, we had serious food and texture aversions and proprioception problems. She had Gravitational insecurities, dyspraxia (inability to coordinate movements), and hypersensitivity. She was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)

Alice had begun to show symptoms of SPD too. She was Hyposensitive and dyspraxic. She craved Vestibular activities (spins, hanging upside-down). It was clear that even though she was completely opposite of her sister, she also has SPD.

Those are some big words

There is a lot of terms I didn’t know or understand when we first started looking into SPD. Sensory Processing is how your body’s nervous system processes information, such as body awareness and gravity, and translates that into a proper response. In SPD, those processes have trouble connecting and relating correct information. Essentially, those with SPD might over or under react to stimuli or their reaction might just feel slightly inappropriate.

What we are focusing on

Mostly, we just keep going and try to understand and be patient.  Their diagnosis doesn’t define them, but it does help us understand what is going on.

We are still learning, but our biggest take away is that she is going to have to learn hands-on and when they are interested. Currently, Tempest has no interest in reading and writing, but we spend a lot of time with numbers and science type stuff. Alice needs time to be creative and imaginative. Both need significant “loud” time and physical activity.

What it looks like

We still have big discipline issues with both of them. They both break things a lot (and I am talking everything, Not just their stuff). Tempest lacks impulse control, so we are working with her to be more mindful and conscious. In the last few months, she has really started to understand but is still struggling. A few months ago, in a matter of 3 days, she broke a towel bar, a shelf, and two wire cubes that her shoes were in, and pulled the toilet paper holder off the wall. All because she was trying to be a ninja. She also tore apart a foam pillow and picked a hole in her mattress (mindless picking and tearing is an SPD symptom). She ripped one of her sister’s books (on purpose) and colored on the wall and cut a hole in Opal’s pack & Play (sort of on purpose).

Alice runs into things and doesn’t recognize how rough she is being. She colors on herself every time she is close to a marker or paint. At least weekly, most of the time daily, I find bruises and scratches that we have no idea how they got there. She frequently runs into walls, doors, bookshelves, Opal’s baby bed (and wakes her up). She falls off the bed, down the stairs, and out of the car. She spins until she sends herself into an asthma attack and screams at the top of her lungs when she is upset.

It is tough for me because many times I know they don’t realize they are doing these things or why they are doing them. I don’t think they should be punished for doing things they don’t realize they are doing. I know there isn’t malice in their doing. But it is so frustrating! And it is hard to parent. All we can do is continue teaching them to recognize and learn.

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What we are doing

We were in OT for about a year to learn techniques to cope with some issues. We are working to incorporate more sensory activities into our daily lives. It has been a challenge for us for sure. We have added Yoga and breathing. We also have tried to up her sensory diet because it helps. This means that we incorporate movements, activity, and physical exertion into daily life. We also make a point to include playdough, kenetic sand, and water play so they can experience textiles and manipulation.

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Hey that sounds like us

If you are thinking that this sounds like your family and you want to know about SPD, here is a basic symptom checklist

https://www.spdstar.org/basic/symptoms-checklist


 

If you want to join our FREE 5-day Challenge Click Here

Our 5-day challenge will start on May 20th. Each day you will get an email with a simple activity to try with your kids

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Education · Family · Society

Make a difference in someone’s life today

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A few months ago I decided that I needed to set an example for my kids of the type of person I want them to be. I want them to be the type of person that helps human beings. I want them to be empathetic, compassionate, and kind. I want them to care about human life, even if they don’t know the person. I want to be that person too.

My first step was to register as a donor of Be The Match

Be The Match matches donors and patients with life-threatening blood cancers. Bone marrow of the donor can save that patient’s life.

So, I sent away for my kit (see picture above). The process is easy. Stab your cheek and stick on the car. Then send it back. That is it

This week I received my donor card in the mail. This means I am officially registered. When a patient needs marrow, they will be screened and matched.

For information on the donation process click here

I have no idea if I will ever be matched. But even if I am not, I want to show my children that I am willing to help those that I do not know. If you are able to do something for someone you should. I would hope for the kindness of strangers if I or one of my kids needed it. I don’t want to wait until we need something to get involved. I want to pay it forward. Compassion and understanding create a better community for our children to grow up in.

For more information or to register as a donor yourself head on over to https://bethematch.org

Celebrate · Education · Preschool

March Holidays You Need To Be Celebrating

As we close out February, it is time for us to start planning our upcoming Month. And you know what that means in the Knott household; Planning Celebrations!

If you have been following along on our journey, you know that we plan a lot of our homeschooling activities around the weird and quirky holidays.

So, here is a peek into our upcoming celebrations. Hopefully, it will encourage you to find celebrations in your everyday life

March 2nd: National Doodle Day

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March 2nd is National Doodle Day and you can bet my doodlebugs will be celebrating by drawing and doodling.  This one is pretty straightforward, get out your paper, pens, markers, and crayons and spend some time doodling.

If you want a place to start, I also have so coloring sheets where you finish a doodle. These are great to get the creativity started. I will be using them for sure.

Get your Doodles here for FREE

March 8th: Popcorn Lover’s Day

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Much like National Popcorn Day (Jan 19th), we will be celebrating with popcorn themed meals. We went simple last time and bought popcorn chicken from KFC and then party popcorn. So, if you don’t have any time, don’t think you can’t celebrate. Grab your fast food, a bag of popcorn, and a movie.

Popcorn Lover’s Day we will be eating in. We will be celebrating with popcorn chicken, popcorn shrimp, popcorn encrusted mozzarella cheese sticks, and of course party popcorn (white chocolate covered popcorn with sprinkles).

Depending on if I have the girls all day or not we might even make popcorn bird feeders.

March 14th: Learn About Butterflies Day

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Learn about butterflies day is a great chance to explore all things butterfly. We plan on coloring butterflies, making butterflies on clothespins, and I will probably make butterfly shaped food.

We also will be watching The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Life Cycle of a Butterfly.  

Your Calendar

No matter what the day, there is easy small activities and foods that you can add in to make it special. You could make any of these holidays big and over the top with decorations, events, and hoopla. Or you can just print off a few pages and call it good. Either way, your kids will love it.

If you want to see all the holidays for this month, check out below.

Get Your Free Calendar Access Here

Education · Society

Why we are so deeply shaken from school shootings

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The news of these mass shootings, especially school shootings, make my heart heavy. I can tell by my friends’ social media posts that they feel the same way.  I cannot imagine the pain these families are going through. I cannot imagine the fear my fellow parents have when sending their children to school every day. I cannot just move on and forget. And maybe you cannot either.

It’s an all too familiar occurrence in our society and it weighs heavy on a lot of us.

“This time, the kids who survived the rampage on Wednesday were demanding to know why the adults who run the country had not done more to prevent it” says an article in the Washington Post

(Viebeck, E. 2018, February 15. A loud, new voice after the latest school shooting: Kids wanting to know why adults hadn’t done more. See Article Here)

I think it is time we all should demand more! I’m not talking specifically about gun control either. While I agree that this needs to be addressed. Gun manufacturers, that produce 3 times the amount of guns actually legally sold, know their guns are being distributed illegally and add to the problem. Guns that are automatic and clips and bump stocks that allow this type of rapid fire are unneeded, even in the case of self-defense, sport, or food. If you need a spray of 30 bullets, you are not well trained on a gun and should not be shooting one. Better education and training for guns is a must. And studies show that increased gun ownership actually increases gun violence, especially without the proper training.  There is much that is wrong with how we treat guns in our society, but it isn’t the only thing wrong.

Perhaps, even more important,

  • We need a better health care system. We need services and treatments for mental health that are not stigmatizing but are long-term and caring.
  • We need a better education system. One in which students can thrive and learn without isolation, feelings of failure, and immense amounts of pressure.
  • We need a place where children and young adults feel safe turning to if they have concerns. And we need people who can listen and know what the right course of actions are.
  • We need better support for parents who then, in turn, could spend more time with their children and possibly prevent some of the feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  • We need to show the world that we are empathetic and nurturing, that we care about others as human beings and want everyone to survive.

Our reality did this, not one individual, not one mentally unstable person with a gun. Placing all the blame on the shooter is a cop-out and a way for us to avoid the real work that needs to be done in our country (a country that almost exclusively has these mass shootings in such a high proportion)

Us, all of us, are the cause of these mass shootings.

It is time we demand better for ourselves and our children.

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Education · Preschool · Toddlerhood

The School Journey Begins

Before we even had kids, Tim and I began talking about homeschooling. Neither of us had a fantastic experience in school and I feel like it has only gotten worse. I didn’t want my kids to hate school. I didn’t want them to feel dumb or not good enough. Or memorize facts for some test that won’t matter in their lives in a week. I want them to find passion. I want them to be interested to learn how things work and see learning as fun and adventurous. The best way for us would be to homeschool. Once Tempest started to get bigger it is obvious that she will need a little more room than the classroom provides. She is extremely active and very stubborn. I don’t think I could get her to sit at a desk for 8 hours if I physically taped her to the chair. She would just be running around with a chair taped to her.

There is a weird thing that happens when you decide to homeschool before you actually have kids, mainly, there is an awkward time in between your child’s birth and the time they are school age. You very much feel like a homeschool mom, but you aren’t technically homeschooling yet. But that didn’t mean that I wasn’t teaching my children the foundations that our homeschooling will be based on.

So now, Tempest has reached the pre-school age and we have begun our “official” preschool homeschooling. We’ve decided to start with something that resembles the “unschooling” movement. Mostly because at this point, pre-pre-school and pre-school age, they really should be focused on playing, not on worksheet or skill and drill stuff. This could possibly change in the future, but we are a take it one day at a time type people.

Our earliest focus has been on colors and letters. We actually taught Tempest her letters mostly on accident. We received a set of foam bath letters as a gift and throughout bath time would ask Tempest what color it was. We would start talking about the letters. She eventually started telling us what they were (and then telling Alice).

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It isn’t important that our children get all the right answers, or know everything all at the same time. Alice is just learning letters. She knows about half, half she doesn’t. And that works for us. What we do is encourage their learning. We have letters all over the place. We love letters. And try to have them all over our house. It helps the girls learn. But what is more important is that its fun.

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We hope to keep up this speed and allow our learning to be fun. Even if sometimes it takes awhile. I hope to also share my homeschooling adventure with you all.

If you’re interested in what toys we like, check out below for mine and the girls’ favorite letter toys: (These links contain affiliate links and we may make a commission, but we are sharing because we love them and would not promote a product that we don’t support)