Tackling Summer Sensory Overload - Little Spurs Autism Centers

Tackling Summer Sensory Overload

  • July 3, 2024
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Summer brings many fun activities and exciting new sensory experiences! For children with Autism or sensory sensitivities, it can also mean navigating a landscape filled with sensory challengesUnderstanding and managing sensory overload can help ensure that summer remains enjoyable and stress-free for everyone in your family. Check out our top tips for navigating summer sensory overload with confidence whether you are exploring the great outdoors or hanging out indoors to stay cool! 

Identifying Sensory Overload Outdoors 

Summer’s higher temperatures and bright sunshine, while enjoyable, can sometimes be overwhelming. The intensified heat and light often lead to sensory overload, making outdoor play challenging for children, particularly those with sensory processing issues or who are receiving ABA therapy. Watch for signs such as irritability, frequent squinting, or retreating to the shade—these are indications that your child might be experiencing too much sensory input and by recognizing these signals, you can help ensure your child’s outdoor time is comfortable and enjoyable. To help children manage sensory sensitivities during the summer, consider protective measures like hats and sunglasses to shield their eyes from the bright sun, and dress them in lightweight clothing. Portable fans, water bottles, and hydrating snacks such as watermelon or cucumbers can also help keep them cool and comfortable. Be on the lookout for signs like rosy cheeks or a desire to disrobe, which can indicate they’re feeling overheated. To lower the stress of excessive heat and light exposure, try to plan outdoor activities during cooler parts of the day, such as early mornings or late evenings, it is also a good idea to look for locations with ample shade, like parks and splash pads with covered areas.  

Managing Indoor Sensory Overload 

Managing the sensory environment at home is sometimes overlooked but can be crucial to reducing the risk of sensory overload for your child. To help your child manage sensory overload during the intense summer months, focus on creating a calming indoor environment. Adjust the lighting in your home with dimmers or blackout curtains to soften brightness, and use soft, indirect lighting in the evenings to reduce glare. Controlling noise with white noise machines or gentle background music can create a consistent and soothing auditory backdrop. Additionally, provide a variety of sensory-friendly activities and tools, such as bean bags, therapy balls, swings, and rocking chairs, allowing your child to choose what feels most comfortable. Weighted blankets and lap pads can enhance a sense of security and reduce anxiety, while activities like yoga offer grounding and relaxation. Tailor these strategies to your child’s unique preferences and needs to ensure they feel safe, supported, and comfortable indoors. 

Navigating the sensory hurdles of summer can be challenging, but it also offers a unique opportunity to connect with and support your child in meaningful ways. Staying tuned to your child’s sensory needs, proactively managing potential sensory triggers, and finding strategies and resources can make all the difference. Here’s to a summer filled with discovery, comfort, and boundless fun! Little Spurs Autism Centers offers collaborative and compassionate ABA Therapy, aka autism therapy to children 0-21 years old. Offering both center-based and home-based care, LSAC is excited to empower families by providing them with the support they need. For more information, please email us at autism@littlespurs.com. 

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