“I want a brother who DOESN’T have autism!” my 6-year-old yelled at us. Thankfully it doesn’t happen often. And, heck, it’s hard for adults to grasp what is going on inside the autistic brain, if we aren’t experiencing it and the child cannot tell us. Try explaining it to a 6-year-old. Well, I’m trying.
Since having a child with sensory issues, I think my own senses have become heightened. In my ongoing efforts to “predict and prevent” unfortunate situations at home and out in public, I am hyper-aware of noises and other things when we are out. I bet many other parents feel the same way.
Recently I have been trying to explain to my 6-year-old why his brother sometimes acts the way he does. After all, if a noise or smell doesn’t bother him, he has trouble understanding why it would bother someone else. I found some great resources from PBS and Curious George about the 5 senses and we are doing this at home. But, I am not just doing it with my 6-year-old, I am also doing some of the activities with my other child. After all, having more language development can only help him, plus I would like him to be able to better communicate his sensory needs, so we are adding names and labels to things.
Here are some of the printables. I have downloaded them and am hosting them here on this site so that we don’t lose them if they get pulled from the PBS website. He is already really excited about the chart and keeping track of things he sees, hears and tastes. He is also a huge fan of games and board games, so I know he will enjoy the game too.
There are games, activities, worksheets…even a lesson plan if you are a teacher or to use at home.
Now, to add to it, I have to embellish or exaggerate some of the information so that my one son can better appreciate his brother. When we are doing the activity the “5 senses search” and talking about what we see or hear or taste, I will also be asking him, “And what do you think Kevin sees or hears?” When I know that Kevin has some sound sensitivities, I will give him examples of why or how it sounds different to his brother.
Here is a link to their page and you can see that they also offer several different videos, not just Curious George, that teach about the 5 senses.