SensationALL christmas present ideas

At this time of year, the SensationALL team are often asked for suggestions for Christmas presents or sticking filler ideas for multi support needs children. Our experienced team of Occupational Therapists and Support Workers often spend time researching products, toys and objects to not only use during our groups or at events, but also for training workshops! We have used some of these ideas to put together a starter-for-10 Christmas present list:

Special Needs Toys Website –  this is a great website with sensory specific sections for toys and equipment. From tactile to proprioceptive, this website covers all basis’ for sensory specific presents for unique individuals.

Sequin Snap Bracelet – these reversible sequin snap bracelets are good sensory fidgets that are wearable – our service users in the SensationALL holiday groups and Chill OOT especially loved using these. There are lots of other reversable sequin products such as cushions, pencil cases, backpacks etc that would also make for a great Christmas gift.

Infinity Loop – this is a stainless steel springy slinky for your arm. Our SensationALL service users have loved using these in our Inclusive Social Group and our sensory sessions. A simple but highly enjoyable interactive toy that provides endless fun.

Marks and Spencers Kids Easy Dressing Range – we love the special range of clothes M&S have created which are adapted for children who need extra help. With clothing options for anyone with feeding tubes or if they simply need clothes that are easy to put on and gentle for sensitive skin. The Easy Dressing range aims to help make dressing easier, quicker, more comfortable – and more fun!

Sensory Body Sock – body socks are a great resource to try out for individuals with multiple support needs. The resistant walls of the body sock provide a tactile means of self-referencing that improves body awareness and assists in developing spatial awareness through balance and resistance. At SensationALL we have used body socks in several of our social and emotional regulation groups and lots of the kids love them!

Our last Christmas gift idea is of course, the SensationALL gift card! Available to buy directly from SensationALL by emailing info@sensationall.org.uk or you can buy one from the Old Schoolhouse when you are at one of our groups or events. Each gift card costs £30 and provides 6 hour long sessions at any of our groups! A great gift to access SensationALL’s exciting range of services. #SensationALL

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Christmas With Multiple Support Needs: 10 Top Tips For Avoiding Stress This Festive Season

christmas-with-multiple-support-needs-10-tips-for-avoiding-stress-this-festive-season

christmas-with-multiple-support-needs-10-tips-for-avoiding-stress-this-festive-season

1. Keep routines going to avoid the hype of the “countdown” to Christmas

Whilst some may cope with the “countdown to Christmas”, knowing your child, you may find it easier to play this down if it is likely to increase their stress. Either way, it is very hard to ignore these days when it is on TV, in the shops and in schools, so try to keep as many of their routines going as possible over this period.

2. Plan for when things get too much

Plan for your child’s potential behaviour triggers, consider what can be avoided or reduced to a minimum, and think about where they can go or what they can do if things get too much. It can be a very overstimulating day, with lots of ‘new things’ to deal with, so plan some quiet, low-stimulus times throughout the day.

3. Set aside time for them to do what THEY enjoy

Our version of enjoyment might be quite different from our child’s, so try to factor in times where they can engage in their own interests.

4. Allow them to sit back and watch

Your child may be happier watching the larger family group activities from a periphery, such as having their Christmas dinner on a small table nearby, if they struggle with too many people in close proximity.

5. Help family members choose suitable presents

Help family members choose suitable presents that match your child’s interests or developmental stage. Also, let them know you may not open them all on Christmas day, as this may be overwhelming.

Some useful ideas for sensory items may be found on Special Needs Toys. For wheelchair users, try Have Wheelchair Will Travel‘s Christmas gift ideas, and for children with multiple and complex needs there are some excellent sensory stories created by Scope storybooks for special needs children. There are also some fun and educational apps for phones and tablets.

If family members are struggling to think of ideas, you could always suggest an afternoon or evening of babysitting, to allow you time to go for a meal, cinema, spa or similar treat.

6. Don’t sweat the small stuff!

Better to have a happy relaxed family day than worry about having everything perfect. The people that love and care about you will understand what is important!

7. Accept offers of help and make life easier for yourself

Take advantage of any shortcuts or offers of help with catering, shopping online or looking after children on the day. Remember, if your child only eats certain foods then this is not the day to try to change his/her diet, so have on offer what they will eat.

8. Look after yourselves!

Take some time to recharge your batteries and to relax! Check out some mindfulness and relaxation techniques or go for a walk, as physical exercise is excellent at de-stressing. Treat yourself to some time out!

9. Prepare a visual timetable or short Social Story

Prepare a visual timetable for the day or the holiday if this will help your child know the plans for each day and thereby reduce their anxiety or stress. Making a short Social Story about Christmas can also help them learn and understand what will be happening and can suggest some coping strategies for the potential ‘trigger points’. Here are some great resources from The Success Box.

10. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself

Don’t set your expectations too high and put pressure on yourself to do too much over the holiday period. Have fun and enjoy yourself, as it is the simple things in life that are most important.

Merry Christmas from everyone at SensationALL!

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