Saturday, October 20, 2012

Solving Sensory Sensitivities While Shopping

If you are a reader of my blog then you should know by now that I have a daughter with Asperger’s. One of the first tell-tale signs of her having Asperger's was the sensory sensitivities that she had while grocery shopping. For awhile, I gave up shopping all-together. I would use delivery services like to get my groceries. If I forgot anything I would ask my friend/neighbor (Ivana) to pick me up something when she went to the store. Eventually, I learned about sensory issues. Some kids have S.P.D. (sensory processing disorder) or S.I.D. (sensory integrative dysfunction). Not all kids with sensory issues have Asperger's. However, children with Asperger's have sensory issues.

Working with developmental specialists and occupational therapists, researching the topic, and joining the Sensory Smart Mom's support group helped me better understand the condition and better manage the issues.

To better understand sensory issues you can read the previous blog posts that are sensory related.

Thankfully, I have a daughter that can think back (after the meltdown) and tell me what was bothering her. To people with sensory issues, the hum of the freezers can be as loud and bothersome as a chainsaw is to the general public. The fluorescent bulbs and other lighting used to display food and signs are as bright as staring directly at the sun without sunglasses. To people with sensory issues, these everyday noises, illumination, etc. are accentuated. Unlike the average person that can tune-it-out. These sensory issues are severe and bothersome enough to interrupt daily activities.

Eventually, I learned to carry a little bag with sunglasses, a hat (with a visor), a sweater and noise reduction headphones. If they don't want to keep noise reduction headphones on, you can try to use headphones that play music. Let the child decide the volume. The music might help distract them until you’re out of the store. For some cool bag ideas checkout the post about backpacks. If your child is having a "sensitive day" don't torture them by bringing them to the store if you have another way of getting the item (ie. can your husband stop on his way home, can someone watch your child while you run in the store). If you have to go into the store, bring“the bag” and try to only get one or two things and get out of the store quickly. Now is not the time to stroll down every aisle (although you might need the break). If you need to get out of the house, go for a walk at a park or somewhere else outside where your child won't be overwhelmed. If you have any questions on any of these items or ideas please feel free to comment or leave me a message.

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