Monthly Archives: December 2010

If Your Child Resists Mittens, Gloves, Scarves, Hats and Other Winter Clothes…

Now that winter has truly arrived (here in Wisconsin, it seems to come in around mid November but today is the official start!), are you struggling to get your child with sensory issues to don all that wonderful winter clothing that will keep her warm when she plays outside?

Here’s a tip: Make winter clothing items more tolerable through desensitization and careful attention to textures and tightness.

Many people prefer one type of scarf material to another, or prefer gloves to mittens or vice versa. With children who have sensory processing differences, these preferences can be very intense. They may actually be deeply distressed by the feel of certain clothing. Yet you don’t want them to get frost nip or, worse, frost bite because they’re underdressed for cold weather. What’s more, playing with snow will make any non-waterproof clothing wet and cold. Fortunately, there are many options available.

Tight or loose? Sometimes, sensory kids can better tolerate clothes if they’re tight or, at least, if tight clothing is worn underneath looser clothing. Consider offering tight long johns, glove liners or tight and fingerless nylon “arthritis gloves,” and spandex caps or face masks (often available in bike shops or sporting goods stores) that give comforting input. These can be worn alone or underneath items such as acrylic hats and nylon snowpants.

Won’t wear mittens? Hand warmer packets kept in the pockets can help keep hands from getting frost nip, at least when they’re in the child’s pockets!  You might also massage the child’s head and hands before she puts on a hat or mittens. Light vibration from a hand-held vibrator or even a vibrating toy or toothbrush may work to desensitize her skin as well, allowing her to handle the sensation of clothing against these parts of the body.

Check his skin! Your child may have dry skin that is exacerbating his discomfort. If he will tolerate lotion or oil that will lock in moisture, use it liberally, especially after a bath or shower when the skin is still warm and moist as it is most effective at these times.  You might consider making baths and showers less frequent to prevent dry skin, and think about adding an essential oil to the bath (but do not use lavender or tea tree oil with boys, however, as some research has indicated these oils act as hormone disrupters in young males).

Keep cheap accessories on hand. It’s a good idea to stock up on cheap hats, gloves, mittens, snowpants, and boots during the summer at second-hand stores and look for ones that are not scratchy (for instance, fleece rather than acrylic or wool), have minimal elastic (such as at the wrists), and which you know your sensory child can tolerate. If he is uncomfortable in a clothing item, ask him if he can express exactly what is bothering him.When you can, have extra dry clothing on hand in case he does get an article wet or loses it.

Try fleece. Keep in mind, too, that fleece repels water fairly well, so if he cannot tolerate nylon you might have him wear fleece.

Finally, do remind your child to drink water during outdoor activities to stay hydrated, which will also help prevent dry skin.

Stay warm and enjoy the winter break!

Happy holidays to all of you!

There are ways to get your sensory kid to tolerate winter clothing!



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Filed under affordable sensory items, clothing sensitivities, sensory integration dysfunction, sensory processing disorder, sensory processing disorder symptoms, Used sensory items

GIVEAWAY of Raising a Sensory Smart Child!

I’m in a giveaway mood! Two random subscribers to Sensory Smart News will each receive a FREE copy of the award-winning book Raising a Sensory Smart Child: The Definitive Handbook for Helping Your Child with Sensory Processing Issues. If you haven’t signed up, go to and sign up before Dec. 10 when the lucky winners will be chosen!

Hurry! Contest ends December 10, 2010!

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Selecting Toys for Children with Sensory Processing Disorder

Shopping for toys or products for a sensory child in your life to help carry out a sensory diet? Here are some of my personal recommendations this year:

Raising a Sensory Smart Child. Buy it for your child’s teacher, therapist, grandparent, nanny, aide, whoever! It’s now available for Nook and Kindle, too.

The Kindle, a dedicated eReader available at For my son who has visual processing issues, this device was THE key to getting him to read. No wriggling black letters on white pages. I wish the Harry Potter series and other faves were on Kindle but there is an excellent selection of kids’ and y.a. books on and most cost well under $10. For my over-40 eyes, the adjustable typeface is heaven. He loves the auditory function (you can set it to read the book to you) and the instant dictionary (place the cursor next to an unfamiliar word and immediately see a dictionary definition). I’ve not tried the Nook–I’m not sure how it compares to Kindle.

Wikki Stix. What a brilliant idea—sticky wax covered yarn that serves as a building toy. I hated the sharp edges of pipe cleaners as a kid. Forget that. Go Wikki. You can get them at Sensory

Vibrating toothbrushes with characters on them. The perfect accompaniment to holiday candy! Santa often leaves a Sponge Bob vibrating toothbrush and a fresh new tube of toothpaste in my son’s stocking. Many sensory kids love vibration, and you can even hold the vibrating handle near other parts of the face to desensitize them to tactile input your child finds distressing (such as to the lips before putting lip balm on).

T-shirts from Teres Kids. My son loves his “dress up” t-shirt with a tie. I’ve tried these out on some other sensory kids and they loved the feel of them too.

Dizzy Disc Jr.  entertains a child and provides helpful sensory input (vestibular in this case) for years, and is totally portable and easy to store. There is a preschool version and a version for older kids.

Santa has a big sleigh and I heard a rumor he might be delivering a “Crash Pad” to our house. This is a bean bag chair that provides “wider coverage” for kids and adults seeking proprioceptive input. For smaller kids there is The Pea Pod available through (you really have to navigate through their site but it’s worth checking out).

If you want to shop by developmental skill or sensory channel, see my Sensory Smarts Shop. If you click through and purchase anything that’s sold by, by the way, I do get a very small monetary reward that helps me to pay the costs of my site, blog, and newsletter. In fact, if you do purchase from Amazon after clicking through to it from my site, or this blog, I will get a little money back which helps defray my costs so I can keep offering more information for you!

NEW WEBSITE AND BLOG! If you liked this article, PLEASE come join me at the new and sign up for my NEW newsletter and blog. Thanks!

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Filed under affordable sensory items, celebrations parties and holidays, kids toys, Nancy Peske, Practical tips for sensory issues, sensory processing disorder, sensory seeking head, Uncategorized, Used sensory items