Summer Survival Kit for Sensory Processing Disorder

Summer is coming to Australia. I know because the last few days have brought the promise of it with warm days and sunny skies, re-introducing the forgotten set of sensory issues including constant flies, drippy sunscreen and bothersome hats. I have found that during these transition periods between one set of comfortable and predictable sensory concerns and the next, I must be prepared for the wheels to fall off the bus. My days of diaper bags may be over, but I am not yet free of carrying extra crap. 


Here are our essential extra elements to ensure harmony in the flux:

Bandaids. We always need to have bandaids. Lots of them. Kieran’s low pain threshold means that a scraped knee is emergent. Luckily bandaids usually help calm him down since half the problem is being able to see any teeny tiny drops of blood. I will be gifting Kieran’s prep teacher her very own year supply sized box for her desk next year.

Hankie. Kieran rubs his eyes a lot. Not sure why, but he does and when they bother him he gets really frustrated. In the summer, sunscreen and sand are Kieran’s enemies always trying to get all up in his EYES. Having a soft clean cloth for him to wipe his face is just what we need to win that battle. Luckily I am altering his favourite pants from now “high-water” to shorts, so I am making a custom supply of these hankies from the cut off fabric. For now we are using washcloths. 

Chapstick. Dry lips are annoying. For anyone.

Bug Spray. Kieran hates bugs (in fact his OVERreaction to an ant was one of the first indicators that led us to the SPD diagnosis) and Australia has lots of them who just don’t mind if they do have a ride on your face while you walk. I treat Kieran’s hat and shoes with the bug spray to keep those areas sane, but having some extra with us means we are ready for anything. 

Hat & Shoes. While we are on the subject of hat and shoes, we have found a few that work best for us. The school next year requires a really wide brim hat or one of those hideous legionnaire thingies with the fabric mullet, but Kieran only likes a bucket hat. I have been trying to get the wide brim one on him now and again to prepare, but I am hoping the school might make an exception for him sometimes. I did get him a bucket hat in his school colour so it might be just fine. The tail of the other one bugs his neck and the wide brim one JUST FEELS FUNNY! I am picking my battle with this one and I hope the school can support me on it for a little bit. Luckily Kieran will wear shoes with socks, so that will not be an issue at school. In the summer though, we have found a perfect solution for The Boy Who Will Not Be Barefoot… Aqua Shoes. Sandals let the sand and other bothers in, but those water shoes are the perfect thing. I am going to invest in a few pairs for summer so he can be free to run and play whenever!

Putty. Therapy putty in a small container is the perfect packable frustration buster. Tugging and pulling on that helps calm all three of my kids down.

Water and snacks. A hungry or thirsty Kieran is an easily triggered Kieran. I have learned this firsthand. 
Colouring kit. Kieran likes to colour and having a kit ready means that we can be out and about for longer. It contains those roll-up coloured pencils and a small blank notepad. 
Alphabet flash cards. The twins love to play I spy despite not really knowing how to spell anything yet. Having the cards helps them with the letters and learning the sounds. 

Things we will try.
Gemma has asked for a Rubix Cube for her stocking this Christmas. I thought a small one would be fantastic to have for the sensory kit as well as it requires concentration and works those fine motor skills. 

Sometimes. We can forgo the sunscreen by having Kieran wear a long sleeved rashie. He likes long sleeves anyway, so this is a great solution for us.


Carried in. Except for the shoes and bug spray, everything gets carried around in a great little double sectioned cooler lunch box. It is small enough to go inside a backpack if we are out or just to pop in the backseat of the car. The insulation not only keeps snacks fresh, but the sunscreen, putty and chapstick from melting! There is even room for a flask for me. 😉

These things are so specific for our kid and his issues, yet general enough that Gemma and Clover benefit from having the kit around as well. Trip kits, car survival sets, non-nappy needs…I’d love to hear how you stay prepared!

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  • Ellen - Seeing that marker roll made me do a double take! So many years ago . . .November 27, 2013 – 3:08 pmReplyCancel

    • rachel - Still going strong! Now filled with coloured pencils and a new notebook!November 27, 2013 – 3:25 pmReplyCancel

  • Angela - Have you tried a weighted blanket for Kieran? My son was just dx with SPD and I heard that weighted blankets are helping a lot of kids with SPD. I was going to try to make him one since they were so expensive to buy.November 27, 2013 – 4:19 pmReplyCancel

    • sesame - I haven’t tried that for him. He has not needed one. He does best to calm down with physical exertion. Let me know how you go!November 27, 2013 – 5:50 pmReplyCancel

    • amy bader {life in eden} - While she doesn’t get in to major detail — ashley ann at Under the Sycamore made a weighted blanket with her mom for her daughter. She does give some of the technique they used. 🙂November 27, 2013 – 11:57 pmReplyCancel

  • Megan - A friend has a son with SPD and autism. I dont know how oral Kieran is, but these “chewys” really help Israel when he is on overload. Just thought I would pass it along- 30, 2013 – 11:35 amReplyCancel