As many of you will know from past blog entries, J has sensory issues. One of them is a dislike of certain textures. Anything dry and he’s ok but add anything with a squeeze, wet (even just damp) or sticky and he’ll stiffen up at the sight of it.
We have been working on desensitising J by painting, cooking, sensory play with split peas, pasta etc. We are making steps….baby steps, but it’s still progress. J will now playing with sand when it’s dry, tolerate yoghurt on his hands (as long as he can lick it off or wipe it somewhere) and will paint with brushes and sponges (as long as he can wash his hands when he gets any on him).
I brought this for J to have a try. It’s sand but it has more of a dense texture so you can mould it. It doesn’t feel wet but at the same time doesn’t feel like dry sand either. It’s a good ‘bridge’ for J to then lead to wet sand in the future.
J came over for a nosey. Here’s a video of his initial reaction to it. He starts slow and then goes for it with both hands before getting anxious as small bits stuck to his hands (make sure you have dry hand by the way).
You may notice it’s a short video. This is because J didn’t stay for long. I have to let him lead activities like this and build up his tolerance. After the video was taken, I continued to play with it and narrated what I was doing (secretly enjoying it far more than I should). J would pop over to watch me and did have some more pokes and pushing it around with his fingers.
5 Top Tips…
Here some tips that might be helpful if you also have a child who isn’t keen on textures…
- Don’t introduce too much, too fast. Keep to a theme such as dry, bumpy or slightly sticky depending on what your little one will tolerate. Let them get comfortable wth the chosen texture, then move on to another.
- Go at their pace. It may be painstakingly tedious watching your child take minutes to move their finger at a snail pace towards the resources (said from experience). But, let them choose the pace. This way it reduces the anxiety and keeps the trusting bond. If you push their hand in, then little one may be weary of future activities.
- Use tools. In other activities such as the split peas activity, I had spoons and pots so J could start playing without using his hands at all. Then I slowly withdrew the resources and he would use his hands. Try child friendly tweezers, scoops, tea strainers, spoons etc.
- Get involved. Even if you are a bit squeamish too, or not a fan of mess, you need to show your child that the activity is fun and that your hands haven’t melted off by touching the bits and bobs. If you play and get involved then the children will naturally want to be nosey at what’s happening.
- Use their interest. This familiarity helps to reduce the anxiety and encourages them to get involved. We have pushed cars in paint and watched the tyre prints on paper (admittedly J got upset as he didn’t like that paint didn’t come off the car immediately), filled up diggers with dry pasta and had boats in the soap foam.
What textures does your child avoid? What sensory games have you explored? I’d love to hear your experiences and help with any questions 💙