Living with a child who has Sensory Processing Disorder can mean a number of challenges throughout the day. One of the biggest challenges is to find a way to calm him down when his nervous system goes into overdrive.

One of my favorite phrases our OT uses when talking to Z is “it looks like your engine is fast/slow/loud/quiet/busy.” Any one of those things can describe how his body is acting at any given time. And it can literally change from moment to moment.

The amazing thing to me is that Z actually understands what it means. That understanding has made a world of difference on a daily basis. We have gotten into the habit of frequently asking him what his engine feels like. Some of his favorite answers are “loud” and “quiet” though we get the occasional “grumpy” or ‘sleepy.” When he is feeling loud or fast or grumpy, he is starting to be able to stop and think about what he needs to do to feel quiet or slow. Which is amazing. I can’t even describe how much easier it makes day to day life to have him realize that he needs to stop and calm his engine. When he realizes this, he’ll stop and climb into my lap and take big breaths while I rub his back, lie on the floor in turtle pose, or find some sort of soothing activity (like Legos or his bean box).

His engine is still revved up enough times each day that leaves Mr. D* and I exhausted and his brother and sister frustrated after being jumped on/kicked/hit/etc., but at least we are making progress. It’s the small victories throughout the day that make it all worth it.