In today’s webisode a Pediatric Occupational Therapist gives practical tips for a child with Sensory Processing Disorder to get the most out of attending birthday parties. To read a blog on SPD and parties click here.
In This Video You Will Learn:
- How to prepare your child with SPD prior to the party
- Strategies on how to calm your child down during the party
- How to make your child feel involved at the party
Robyn: Hello, and welcome to Pediatric Therapy TV. I am your host,
Robyn Ackerman, and today I’m standing with Marissa Edwards, a
Pediatric Occupational Therapist. Marissa, our viewers would
love to know how you can best prepare a child with sensory
processing disorder to go to a birthday party.
Marissa: Every child is going to be different. So different sensory
strategies are going to work with different kids, but these are
some general things that you can try out.
So, first of all, help the child to get lots of heavy work and
movement in before the party. It’s going to help their body to
feel very regulated, and it’s going to help them to participate
too. You want to talk with your child ahead of time about what
to expect at the party, what’s going to happen. It would
probably be helpful if you could get a hold of the birthday
child’s parents ahead of time and ask them what is going to
happen at the party, so that you can review all of those things
with your child, they know what to expect.
If any games are going to be played during the party, you can
practice those games ahead of time. If the birthday party is
going to take place at a venue other than the birthday child’s
house, you could take you child to go visit the venue ahead of
time, so that they can scope out the place, they can see what
the environment’s like, see what the energy is like inside the
place, and that will help them to feel prepared.
If your child does become overwhelmed at the party, you want to
come up with some strategies ahead of time so that your child
has some ideas in their head before the party of things that
they can do to help themselves calm down. One thing that they
could do is they could have a fidget with them. This can be
anything. It could be a stuffed animal. It could be like a
little koosh ball that they can play with. It could be putty,
something to just help their fingers and hands to be occupied.
It can help to calm them down.
Another thing that you can let you child know, as a strategy, is
that if they do feel uncomfortable, if they do feel overwhelmed,
they can remove themselves from the group and go to the bathroom
for a minute, just to kind of, you know, regroup themselves.
They also can know that they don’t have to participate in
everything that’s happening in the party. If they want to sit
out, that’s fine. If they don’t want to sing the happy birthday
song, because a lot of times that can be very overwhelming for
kids, they don’t have to sing with the rest of the kids. It’s
Another idea is that you can have your child help to pick out
the birthday present ahead of time. By involving them in that
process, that can create some investment with your child in
what’s happening so that once they get into that situation
which, you know the opening presents time is often very exciting
and loud, they will know what’s happening, they can maybe be
excited about having their friend open their present, which can
help them feel involved and excited.
Robyn: All right, thank you. It sounds like a lot of preparation is
needed to make these children feel more comfortable.
Marissa: Yeah, it really kind of is, and hopefully as they get older and
they get more birthday party experiences under their belt and
they know more of what to expect, it will get easier as they get
older and mature.
Robyn: All right. Thank you so much, Marissa.
Marissa: You’re welcome.
Robyn: And thank you to our viewers and remember, keep on blossoming.
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