My 5 yr old son has SPD, and he has come a long way. However, when he has a sensory melt down, it's big! This past weekend was beautiful weather here in sunny San Diego, but he could not handle the heat or the brightness. And then when we put him in the shade he was bothered by the grass and fear of ants. I plan on putting many things in place to help him, but I am eager to hear any tips I can as the warm months approach. Any meltdown he's had this year in Kindergarten has occurred on a hot day, so he is highly sensitive to it. Any feedback is greatly appreciated!!!

We know that sensory "issues" show themselves differently in each persons life. We also know that people handle and accept them in different ways. The best way to deal with "sensory issues" in children is to teach the child ways to handle the issues or allow them to figure out ways to make themselves feel comfortable during an uncomfortable sensory "moment". For example, "Caden hates sunshine so he chooses to sit on the porch and sell lemonade to his family while they work in the yard". As caregivers we must look at each child's reaction or behavior to the annoying sensory overstimulization uniquely. We must help the child resolve the issue before putting them in an uncomfortable situation that will cause a "meltdown". Remember, encouraging a person with high sensory needs to be in the sun or even the shade could be like making you you sit on fire ants. People affected by sensory issues senses are doubled or tripled from a typical seeking person. A child who doesn't like outside could be having difficulty with the heat on their skin and could be feeling the heat 2-3 times the magnitude of typical seeking people and could actually be feeling burnt in the shade. A child's reaction to outside could also be just plain behavioral and not wanting to be outside because they'd rather be inside playing video gamesm could be sensory or could be a childhood fear. A parent/child need to figure out what it is. Sensory integration can not always be the "blame" or the "answer".
Talking to your child and coming up with a plan is helpful. Leading them into a conversation such as, "When I am outside it makes me feel______________. If the ____________didn't bother me so much, I would love to __________________outside". Work on a goal to get your child doing something they love outside for 30 seconds and work your way up to longer periods of time. Work on communication if your child is verbal and give them ideas to solve their own problems.
1. Where a favorite visor or hat the child decorates or one of a favorite fairy or ballteam.
2. Have the child pick out sunglasses and wear them.
3. Make a social story book to help child understand ways to solve their issues with choices as to what an alternative can be.
4. Try to prevent discomfort by not forcing a child to be outside in the sun if they can not tolerate it.
5. Figure out what it is that is truly bothersome in the environment; ie: sun, bugs, etc..
6. Find alternative activities for a child who is upset outdoors; sell lemonade to the family, sweep a porch, wash windows inside and watch the family, play with side walk chalk. Water the lawn, wash a favorite bike, plant flowers in pots in garage while family works. Get the idea... now every one post 2 ideas and we will all be shocked what we come up with.
7. Have a special chair and let your child be the "foreman" for the day, giving jobs to the family with a clipboard and pad of paper.
8. Make a beach and have the child under an umbrella in the yard spraying themselves or hot family members with spray bottle of watcher.