When you have a child with sensory processing disorder, parenting can come with difficulties. The responsibilities of caring for a child who has sensory issues can be overwhelming, from dealing with meltdowns at the mall to coordinating therapy. Thus, having support from family and friends can come in handy, plus even what may seem as minimal help often goes a long way. There are ways you can show your friend who's parenting a child with sensory issues support. Here's how:
1. Be Informed
Sensory processing disorder isn't a clear-cut mental condition. It exists on a spectrum, so each child's experience and condition is different. Some children are sensitive to sounds, such as alarms, sirens or the high-pitch bark of a small dog. These sounds may cause the child to react in an unfavorable way, such as screaming or throwing a tantrum. On the other hand, some children are desensitized to extreme temperatures and are unresponsive, which can be dangerous when it can cause injury.
Parents often have to explain their child's sensory and behavioral issues, and it can feel as if no one understands. But you can show your friend support by staying informed and asking questions to learn how you can help them and understand the child's triggers. By doing so, you not only show you care but you gain insight on how to better assist your friend and her child.
2. Give Them a Break
Parenting a child with sensory processing disorder is a round-the-clock responsibility, and it can physically put a toll on the parent if they do not make time for themselves. You can help your friend gain relief by offering to watch their child for an hour or two to give them time to relax. Just a few hours can sometimes make a difference by giving the parent a little break to relax.
3. Be There
Sometimes parents just need someone to talk to as they go through the motions of parenting their child with sensory issues. Be a lending ear and listen to them. Don't judge how they are parenting their child, and hold opinions and suggestions for a time when they are ready to receive advice. Instead, be a good listener and allow them to express themselves.
Parenting children with sensory issues can be challenging, but with the right support, friends can help ease the process. If you have a friend whose child has sensory issues, apply these tips to offer help and a lending ear and be informed. It will make a difference for them that they'll truly appreciate.