Based on huge popular demand, here’s the post on sensory issues.
I’m a lifelong sufferer from sensory issues that are clearly inherited and inheritable in my family.
The most important thing for people with sensory issues is to be believed that we are really experiencing what we say we do. Others tend to think we are being cute when we describe the effect that harsh overhead lighting or sudden loud noises have on us. It’s very frustrating even for an adult. A child can’t handle this frustration on top of an already existing sensory disturbance and reacts violently. So rule #1, take it seriously and don’t react like it’s bad behavior. When the child begins to freak out, think, “what’s causing this? Noises, lights, temperature, something the kid is wearing?” Little children don’t cry without a reason or to be obnoxious. There’s always a reason.
When I noticed that Klara had sensory issues, this is what I did. She would freak out, for instance, when she heard a lawnmower outside. Obviously, lawnmowers are on constantly in our long summer that starts in March and lasts until freaking November. It was no life to live because she’d have a massive meltdown whenever the noise would start.
So on a weekend I took her to campus and showed her a bunch of these gigantic lawnmowers that weren’t being used. We walked around them, touched them. I told her they were asleep and won’t make any noises. I let her climb into one of them and pretend to drive them. I told her a story about a family of lawnmowers, gave each lawnmower a name. The lawnmowers in the story had all sorts of funny adventures. She laughed. The adventures always culminated with lawnmowers making noise because they needed to mow the grass and help people. She started trying to imitate the noise.
The next time we heard a lawnmower, I took up the story from the place I ended it during the visit to “sleeping lawnmowers.” She still doesn’t enjoy the noise, of course, but she now has positive associations with it and there are no more meltdowns.