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Sensory Overload

The last thing you want to do to your child is put them in an uncomfortable situation. A situation that stresses them. But when do you know if the situation will help them grow or not? As Olivia is getting older, I’m noticing that a lot of sensory stimulation is starting to bother her. My initial inclination is to protect her from discomfort but then I wonder if exposing her will help her get over the sensory overload she seems to be feeling?

In early December we were invited to dinner and Christmas carols at a community nearby. I thought this would be a great opportunity to do something fun with Olivia. We had dinner and were sitting there waiting for caroling to start. Everything was fine. But as soon as the singing in unison started, I could see the shear terror on Olivia’s face. She panicked and started to cry. I swooped her up and took her out of the situation, but did I do the right thing? I really don’t know. I want her to be able to enjoy the world around her, not be afraid of it.

Later in December we had another opportunity to go to church with my mother for Christmas Eve service. Since the last caroling experience I had seen other parents talking in the WHS group on Facebook about noise cancelling headphones and how that helps when there is too much going on for their child. I bought Olivia a pair and thought that maybe this experience would be different. I put them on her ears, but she didn’t like them and quickly had pulled them off. As soon as the music started (singing in unison again) she panicked. She literally almost tried to climb into my body. I tried the headphones again but to no avail. We ended up leaving early.

As I left the church tears began to run down my face. I just want Olivia to be able to experience life and enjoy it. Seeing her so panicked broke my heart. Is this going to get worse? Are things going to over stimulate her more and more? I really wish I knew the answers to those questions and I really wish I knew how to help her adjust to her setting. I want her to experience new things. Any comments on strategies would be greatly appreciated.

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