Central United Methodist Church
Thursday, October 19, 2017
A Place to Begin...Belong...Become

Inspiritment Island

Did You Know?
Sensory Processing Disorder

Did You Know?
 Sensorsory Prossing Disorder

Inspiritment Island was designed for children with disabilities and to help children with sensory processing needs. Everyone has five commonly known senses and two less commonly known senses. These senses are hearing, taste, touch, smell, sight, vestibular (sense of body position and movement), and proprioceptive (sense of pressure in joints and pressure to joints). These senses help individuals understand and interpret the environment around them. However, many children with disabilities have difficulty with regulation of these senses leading them to be overloaded by or under-responsive to their environment. Many of the children that use the room have symptoms of what many therapists and parents recognize as Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), which is not a diagnosis currently recognized by most doctors at this time. This disorder can be a single problem or a part of other conditions like Autism, ADD, ADHD, or Down Syndrome.

This disorder is where the child is not responding to their senses normally. A child that is under-responsive to the sensory input from their environment may seem disengaged, hyperactive, or tired depending on which inputs they are and are not responding too. The child may walk into items or not respond when spoken too. The child may also seek out sensory opportunities like moving, making noise, looking at moving/spinning or shiny objects, or smelling/touching items. These children are trying to learn from their environment but need a significant amount of input from items to respond to the information their senses are giving them.

Then there are the children who need very little input before being overwhelmed by their environment. These children may seem like they are separated from the group, always having a temper tantrum, or avoiding tasks and others. These children can easily be sent into a meltdown (similar to a temper tantrum) due to the overload of the information they received to their system. When overloaded, these children are not able to follow directions, complete tasks, or care for themselves and can act out aggressively if not given space. They typically require a quiet space with limited sensory stimulation to calm down. If a child is experiencing sensory overload, it is important to use a quiet calm voice, minimal touch and decrease as much sensory input from the environment, as possible.

Many children will calm with proprioceptive input, either deep pressure under a weighted item or tight hugs or light touch like rubbing their back to help them calm. If you are going to use proprioceptive input, make sure you know which helps the child as to not upset the child more. Children with SPD are not trying to be bad or not listen, but are trying to manage the input coming into their body so they can better function in their environment.

I have attached the links to two videos. One shows sensory processing overload with visual and auditory input (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p49epMEJE0E) and one shows what sensory overload from tactile input and how therapists treat SPD using many of the supplies in Inspiritment Island (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDaj4daRWJc).

If you see a child experiencing sensory overload or being under-responsive to their environment, please let me know so we can use Inspiritment Island for these children and help them to get the most out of Sunday School and their Church Experience. If you know a child outside of the church like this, please invite them and their parents to church to utilize the room. This also allows parents to receive a break and time to worship themselves.

Finally, Sunday April 2nd, 2017, is Light It Up Blue for Autism Awareness. This is a day where around the world famous statues and structures are “Lit Up Blue” and people will change house lights to be blue. The best way as church members to support this cause and show that we as a church are aware and supportive of those with Autism Spectrum Disorders, is to wear blue on this day.

If you have any questions, please contact me at MelissaJamesOT@gmail.com or by phone at 719-433-2461.

Melissa James, Inspiritment Island Leader