Techniques to deal with sensory processing sensitivity in adults
In a previous blog we discussed the issues surrounding sensory processing disorder. Due to the fact that every person is differently affected by SPD, it is important to receive occupational therapy with a sensory approach to tailor the session to your individual needs. The occupational therapist can work with you to find different calming techniques that can be used when over-stimulated or stimulating activities when your brain is craving sensation. They may even develop a “sensory diet,” which is when you schedule certain sensory activities throughout the day to help regulate your central nervous system. We thought we would also share with you a few ideas of ways that you can handle sensory processing issues in your daily life.
- Use a different flavor of toothpaste (mint, cinnamon and peppermint are strong scents).
- Try cutting, smashing, boiling or pureeing small fruits (like blueberries or grapes) if you don’t like the bursting sensation in your mouth
- If you are very sensitive to smell you may want to consider using unscented deodorant such as Arm & Hammer Essentials Natural Deodorant.
- If you can only tolerate smooth foods (ie. yogurt and pudding) then try mixing in protein powder to get more than just calcium from the serving.
- Compressions can be very relaxing to some people. If you have someone that you trust and know well – ask for a hug. Other people find massages helpful. For those of you that have seen, Temple Grandins movie, you will be familiar with the concept of a squeeze machine. Its essentially a machine that gives a calming effect that simulates the effect of a hug for those that are sensitive to the touch of others. Fully built Squeeze Machines are available on Amazon but you can also build your own. There are directions on how to make your own “hug machine” at http://hugmachine.org.
- Buy clothes without tags or tape the tags down using a 1.5 inches wide masking tape or athletic tape.
- Try seamless socks. Seamless Socks
- If you are incredibly sensitive to sound, you may want to consider Noise Reduction Headphones or Ear Plugs when sounds become overwhelming.
- Consider wearing sunglasses inside if florescent lighting is too bright for your eyes
- Try different kinds of sheets. Many people like the texture of Jersey sheets compared to cotton.
- In order to make brushing your hair less painful, consider wetting your hair before your brush it. Fill a spray bottle with water and a small squirt of conditioner. Shake. Then spray the hair to help break up knots. Amazon has a good spray bottle for hair for a few dollars. Also, you might want to consider using a special brush such as the Knot Genie which is specifically made to help break apart knots in hair by its design of different length of bristles. Just beware that the tips of the bristles don’t have rubber balls on them, so don’t press against the scalp too firmly.
- Stress Balls can be kept in your pocket and help during stressful situations.
- If the sensation of showers is bothersome, then take a bath. In order to eliminate the drastic change in temperature when exiting the tub, use a small space heater to warm the bathroom.
So we would be curious to know if you have any ingenious ways of dealing with sensory processing issues in your life. Leave us a comment below and let us know what you think.