30 Days of Truth - Day 06
On pyromania, sweets, and self-realizations that should have hit me earlier

Activities and SPD

Combating Chance's constant energy and craving for social interaction can be exhausting.  He will come home from school, chill for an hour, and then, after being with his friends all day, still ask for a playdate.  Or he wants me and my aching joints to play on the floor with him.  He also gets bored.  He wants new and interesting diversions.  Because his little mind is going like a rabbit on speed. 

Do you remember the days when you got bored?!  I think the last time for me was 1988.  (I have a hazy memory of watching dust motes in the warm, warm sun. That's like an extended fantasy for me now.  Like mom porn!)  I am never bored anymore. Except when I'm at the park and I feel my eyes glaze over. I hate parks nowadays.

Anyway, we do what I think most families with SPD kids who are high-energy sensory seekers do, we schedule (or try to schedule) a lot of activites.  But at the same time, for my sanity's sake, I try not to have more than two outside activities going on at a time. We already do joint speech/OT on a on-going basis once a week.  We've considered adding in another pure OT session because this time of year is always a little rough. Besides straight therapy sessions we have found a few things over the past year that seem to really help with the SPD issues.  I thought I'd just post a little about these in case any other SPD families were looking for ideas.  For the record, Chance has high-energy and sensory-seeking behavior (craves touch) and he is oversensitive to sound, so we tailored activities for those needs.  He's also five, almost six-years-old. 

Soccer: Lots of running around, which is great. Expecting a whole lot of focus at an early age, not so much.  But Chance overall enjoyed it.

Swimming: This one was a huge plus! Full on sensory immersion, lots of muscle use.  Chance wanted to take a break from it over the summer (because he was, say it with me, "bored"! Crazy child) but he soon realized that he really likes swimming.  Especially with some competitive racing ideas dangled as a carrot. 

Gymnastics: This one was a mixed bag.  It's great muscle and joint work but the gym was really noisy. Chance had a hard time maintaining focus and following instructions.  He liked the activities but since we've stopped he hasn't asked to go back and I think it's because of the noise.  I think it's also important to find a gym that is used to dealing with boys. We tried one gym previously where I hated one of the teachers because he wanted all the little boys to act like the girls and that's JUST NOT GONNA HAPPEN!

Karate: We tried a trial class but ran into the same problem as gymnastics, the gym was larger and just too loud.  I think martial arts in a smaller setting would be fine.  We've also considered trying a less aggressive martial art, like judo.  And I hear that wushu is great, but I'm still hesitant about teaching any five-year-old how to punch and kick.  Or wrestle. They're all so prone to that anyway.  

Drums:  We are just starting lessons and we'll see how they go. So far Chance is pretty psyched that he gets to hit things.  And counterintuitively, kids that are very sensitive to sound are usually OK with making their own noise.  A very loud noise of their own making helps them focus.

Science & Art: I try to do activities at home with Chance because of that active mind thing he's got going. Craft projects, science projects, etc.  The problem is this takes an awful lot of organization and energy on my part. I'm usually stocked on art supplies but I'm always a little short on energy.  Or brain power.  And the problem with science projects is there is always waiting involved.  (What? The volcano has to dry?!)  So I was going to try a Science Camp this spring and see how that goes.

What about the rest of you? What kind of activities do you like for your kids, SPD or otherwise?

            - wg

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Comments

Scott

I wouldn't be hesitant at all about the judo or wushu. You're right--kids that age are prone to punch and kick and wrestle. But when those tendencies are channeled in a constructive, disciplined setting, children are better off for it.

And though I have no kids of my own, I would add creative writing, or journaling to that list. The earlier children begin to write outside of school, just for pleasure or self-expression, the better.

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