Sensory Stuff

This summer has been a blast for us! We’ve been camping, swimming, hiking, and exploring. Unfortunately,  Jax’s sensory issues have been tagging along threatening to ruin our fun.

During a camping trip, a severe thunderstorm tore through the campsites. Everyone was nervous with the lightening and straight-line winds, especially when the porta-potty got blown over! We took shelter in a garage to wait it out.

My sweet boy could not manage all of this intense sensory input. He began screaming and crying and eventually started scratching and biting himself to the point that he was bleeding. I tried to hold his arms to protect him and he started biting me. Then he started flinging himself onto the ground and hitting his head

It was terrifing.

It was by far the worst sensory meltdown that we have ever experienced. The worst part for me was that nothing I did helped him. And he was so scared.

After the storm blew through, Jax calmed down, but he was “off” for the rest of the weekend.

I felt like we had a fairly decent handle on which strategies to use to help Jax manage sensory stuff, but this was a game-changer.

The biting and scratching has continued during high-sensory situations (such as swimming lessons, parties, stores, etc). I’m not going to lie – it’s been difficult. It’s just damn hard not knowing how to help my child.

We’re working on different strategies in occupational therapy and we made a follow-up appointment with the develolmental pediatrician. Hopefully we can find a way to give Jax the tools he needs to calm his body and not hurt himself or others.

If anyone has any ideas, we’re all ears!


Author: Andrea M

Oh man, what an adventure! I went into labor unexpectedly when I was 23w3d pregnant. Jaxson was born weighing 1 lb 8 oz. A tiny little peanut, but boy was he feisty. He still is! We love it now, but we probably won't when he is a teenager. I write about our journey and all other things that come with it, including a brain tumor. We look forward to "meeting" you - come hang out with us...we're pretty cool.

8 thoughts on “Sensory Stuff”

  1. We have found that overstimulating my daughter’s other senses helps distract her from whatever sensory issue she’s focused on. We use very loud toys–for example, a jingle bell bracelet or drums–or very bright lights that flash, or try to get her to jump/clap/do something very energetic. Having her focus all her energy on a different sensory outlet helps her forget the one that initially caused problems. Good luck with Jax. Hugs, mama.


  2. My Ashlea has sensory issues, especially since her Mom passed away. We used noise blockers, weighted blankets, a very soft teddy bear and the best was when she got to pick out a dog. She picked out a Pit Bull/Boxer mix. She has overcome so many things with his strength. He is her absolute best friend. She has overcome a lot through her friends in Special Olympics. Every one of her teammates has some “issues” and that minimizes her problems. They have compassion for one another . Time has also healed. She now uses her noise blocker and weighed blanket very seldom. There is hope, Andrea.


    1. Thanks, Kathy! Jax has a weighted blanket, too. He uses it at home, but of course we did not think to bring it on our trip. 😦 That is so amazing about Ashlea’s dog – what is his name? We’re hoping to get Jax a dog in the future – I know he would love it!


  3. Been there! My son is autistic and 17 years old. We have dealt with the whole lightening and thunder fear “forever”! We have progressed over the years to being able to put in a favorite dvd though it just lessens the effects – if the storm is bad enough we will also go to a movie theater. He did get over the biting himself in time. But will still hit his legs when stressed. We gave up the camping for awhile until we tried renting a cabin instead. KOA has reasonable pricing. He feels safer with four walls. Good Luck!


    1. Thank you for your comment, Teresa. The strange thing with Jax is that he’s never had a reaction to a storm before – so this was totally out of the blue. It must have been a “perfect storm” (haha) with a combination of sensory things. Now , the challenge has been finding WHAT combination that is. That’s a good point about 4 walls, maybe we will hold off on tent camping for a while…


  4. When I was young, I had a lot of sensory issues – I still do have some, but they are lessened.

    One thing that my parents said would make me cry for at least half an hour after I heard it were motorcycles.

    My parents worked with the OT/PT/SLP at the EIP & preschool to help me with it – as many other loud things would do it, too. They started by having me listen to recordings of motorcycle noises – with me in control of the play button, on the condition that I agreed to press it at least once. I don’t remember this – but it is what my parents told me a few years back. By the time I turned 6 or 7, something clicked and my reactions to sensory stuff started to lessen in severity.


    1. Thank you for sharing your story! It helps to know that with therapy and hard work, you were able to find some strategies to help lessen your reaction.


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