Strategies for Sensory Challenges

Oral Motor Activities and Engagement to Reduce Licking
Situation: 

I am working with a child who has just started licking things: people, walls, toys, etc. Redirection makes him frustrated.   How can I help him reduce this behavior?

Strategies for Coping with Sensitivity to Smells
Situation: 

My grand-daughter is age 7 and I take care of her. She receives speech, O.T., P.T. and feeding programs. She has a lot of sensory problems. I try everything to help her. I can’t take her out to eat because the smells make her go wild. Please help.

Replacement Behavior Tools: Perseverative Behaviors
Situation: 

I teach high school math to life skills students. I have one student who continually calls out phrases in a perseverative manner. She also intermittently claps her hands. The other students in the class get upset and yell for her to “cut it out”. She is a good and caring student.  However, her behaviors interfere with the class and result in negative interactions with her peers. Additionally, she frequently asks for adult help or to have her work checked. All of these behaviors can be exhausting for the adults in the room by the end of the period.  Any suggestions?

Repetitive Behaviors: Detection and Intervention – An Example
Situation: 

My child has multiple diagnoses including ADHD, PDD NOS, and OCD. He has many self-calming behaviors and vocal tics in school. He may clear his throat and ‘zone out.’ He may keep his fingers crossed. These behaviors are concerning me. What can I do to decrease them?

Auditory Sensitivity Toolkit
Situation: 

My 7 year old is strangely tuned in to certain sounds. For example, if the pages of a book are being turned within hearing distance, he reacts by screaming at the offender to stop it. He is agitated by the noise to the point of having to leave the proximity so he doesn’t continue to fixate on it. When someone who has dry hands rubs them together and he can hear it, it gives him the “willies” and chills. Yesterday at a restaurant, I reached to pull a napkin out of a dispenser , and he reacted by slinking down in the booth saying, “Great! Thanks a lot –I just lost my appetite from you doing that.” He couldn’t finish his toasted cheese sandwich. Another example is that he reacts loudly when paper is being ripped or a sheet of paper is being torn from perforations in a spiral bound notebook. When my long fingernails scratch against him, or I scratch my own itch, it drives him crazy.

How can our family help minimize these seemingly over-the-top reactions to what seem like innocuous sounds–besides the obvious removal of known triggers? Should we be concerned?

The Chewing Child
Situation: 

My student chews anything he can.  He will chew anything that is on his desk like his pencil or eraser.  He chews on his shirt sometimes and often his fingernails.  What can I do to stop this behavior?

Positive Strategies for Picky Eaters
Situation: 

My life is a nightmare of feeding problems with my son. He will only eat potato chips or peanut butter packaged crackers. I’m worried about his health. If I offer something else and tell him he must eat it or he’ll get sick I have to deal with a full fledged tantrum! What can I do to stop this behavior?

Decreasing Self-Stimulatory Behavior
Situation: 

I have a student in my Multi-Disability Classroom who insists on flapping pieces of paper – he won’t go anywhere without the paper – if he doesn’t have a piece he will search in the trash cans or use his work papers. He is integrated into some classrooms and just uses the class papers to flap. What can I do to extinguish this behavior?

Brain Breaks
Situation: 

We have many double periods of math throughout the week. It makes it very difficult for some of my students to continue attending. What can I do to help them (and me) get through these times?

Break Card
Situation: 

How can I prevent a student from being non-compliant during groups or activities?