SensationALL top tips for Christmas

For most people Christmas is an exciting time but it usually means a change in routine which, for families with multiple support needs (MSN) can be upsetting and disruptive. Not to mention all the additional sensory experiences such as Christmas lights, music and scents which can be overwhelming.

To help our MSN families, the SensationALL team have shared some top tips to make Christmas a fun experience for everyone:

  • CALENDAR – mark off days with no school or other meaningful words or symbols. Highlight Christmas day and first day back to school.
  • Use a SCHEDULE or checklist to indicate what activities will be completed during the day. Use visuals/symbols to suit individual communication.
  • Plan activities for ENERGY BURNING such as a trip to the park on the swings, inclusive sessions at trampoline park or soft play. Or play indoor games such as hide and seek or a treasure hunt.
  • Build in BREAK TIMES to help with relaxation as well, have a quiet space away from the overwhelming aspects of Christmas. This could be a space with no music and low lighting such as a tent or den in quiet space in the house. Or use relaxation music and calming scents like lavender. You could also use deep pressure such as massage or heavy blankets as a calming strategy.
  • Have your OWN VERSION OF CHRISTMAS – do whatever works best for you, don’t feel you have to conform to tradition or what everyone else is doing! If your child doesn’t want too many presents keep them for the days following Christmas or if they don’t want presents wrapped maybe just use a gift bag. Have what you want for dinner or what you know your person with MSN will eat. Try having a taster of the Christmas meal on small plates to try to reduce stress over different/new foods and textures.
  • Take CALMING RESOURCES such as noise cancelling headphones with or without music or distraction aids such as fidget spinners or bubbles. You may have to allow for a reduced level of tolerance of new, challenging or sensory demanding situations. Some of strategies from our Chill-oot! and Girl’s Groups are perfect e.g. glitter sensory bottles are a fantastic coping tool to support emotional regulation. To make these simply add glue and glitter with warm water to a clear plastic bottle; watch as the glitter slowly swirls with the water. Other great ideas for easy to make coping strategies can be found on Pinterest.
  • SENSORY STORIES – A Christmas themed social story can help to explain the festive season – you can even write your own personalised story, check out this useful guide.

We also can’t forget that this time of year can be equally challenging for siblings as they may have to modify their own excitement or even make sacrifices to suit their siblings with MSN. However, there are simple things you can do to make sure they don’t miss out on the festive feeling; watch a Christmas movie together, do some Christmas baking, have a Christmas shopping trip – most importantly plan some 1-to-1 time for them with a parent. A present or specially created message from their sibling might be appreciated too.

Here are some useful visuals which can be used in the techniques above, as well as December and January calendar sheets for printing to stick the symbols on.

We hope you all have a relaxed, magical time this Christmas!

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It’s a SensationALL summer!

The summer holidays are just around the corner and we have a jam packed timetable of summer activities. Here’s what’s happening over the holidays, keep up to date on a weekly basis via our Facebook page or sign up to our monthly enewsletter. See you at the SensationALL summer!

The SingAlong Cinema

We have a big screen, bean bags and comfy seating for watching and singing along to the films! Make your own popcorn and popcorn holders too. £15 per film.

Beauty and the Beast on Monday 17th July from 2.00pm to 4.30pm
Hairspray on Monday 14th August from 2.00pm to 4.30pm

Sensory Treasure Hunt

Grab your pirate hat and map and follow the sensory clues to find the hidden treasure! £15 and includes a hidden treasure.
Tuesday 18th July from 10.30am to 12.30pm

Dance and Disco

It’s the SensationALL summer disco and dance-a-long! Glowsticks, disco music and dance-along-videos. £15 and includes a snack.

Wednesday 19th July from 4.00pm to 6.00pm

Wednesday 16th August from  4.00pm to 6.00pm

Under the Sea Music Therapy Session
A favourite for the children! Under the sea crafts, musical instruments and songs. £15 and includes a snack.

Thursday 20th July from 2.00pm to 4.00pm

Up in the Sky Music Therapy Session
We went Under the Sea, time to travel Up in the Sky with a themed-music therapy session with crafts and musical instruments. £15 and includes a snack.

Thursday 10th August from 2.00pm to 4.00pm

Lego/board game groups

Join the SensationALL team for some lego and board games. £5 per child, per session.
Monday 24th July  from 2.00pm to 3.00pm

Monday 31st July from 2.00 to 3.00pm.  

Outdoor Games Group

Looking for sunshine for our Outdoor Games Group! £10 to join in the outdoor games morning session.
Friday 3rd August from 10.30am to 12.30pm

See you at the SensationALL summer!

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