Zoom in and Zoom out of Sensory Processing Disorder

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Imagine you are in a restaurant and you start feeling nervous, angry, or scared for no apparent reason. What would you do first?

     A. Panic?

     B. Get really frustrated?

     C. Stop and use your zoom button?

“WAIT! Stop and use your Zoom button?”

Yes, every person with sensory processing disorder needs to learn that they have a Zoom button and also how to use it well.

Now be honest…

Most of us would usually pick A or B for our reaction, because that’s how our fight, flight or freeze mechanism works. But that isn’t the best way to respond, especially if you are chatting with a friend or (even worse) at a business lunch.

We can’t afford to panic or get frustrated!

So what do we do?

First, we need to Zoom out!

Stop and notice what is around you? For instance: Is their a noisy fan in the room? Is the restaurant crowded? Is your cloths itchy or too tight? Did you have something crunchy or smooth in your food that you didn’t like? Was there a texture lacking in your food (ie. lack of something crunchy)? Is there a strange smell?

Noting what is potentially the problem is the first step!

Second, we need to Zoom in!

Often when we are overwhelmed by what our body is saying, we don’t completely recognize what we are actually feeling. For instance, I often react by hyperventilating.  When I start hyperventilating I am consumed with the false idea, “I cannot breath” or ” I need more air,” when instead I need to stop and recognize that I can breath. That I am not lacking air, otherwise I would pass out.

After understanding this, I can see clearly that I am hyperventilating, not dying.

But what do we do with this information?

Third, we need to Zoom back to normal and use that information to find what helps.

Now that we know the source of the problem (ie. the air conditioning fan above my head). And we have found out that this is creating an emotion or a reaction inside of us (ie. feeling overwhelmed/hyperventilating). Then we can successfully use sensory tools to help us feel better.

Try putting  on ear plugs that allow for conversations to still be heard,  while muffling the noisy fan. If I am having troubles with the food, I wiggle a bit more on my core disk or squeeze a Koosh ball to give me sensory impute.

The question is: Which choice are you going to pick?

We all want to avoid choices A and B. Learning how to use your Zoom button will be difficult at first. Yet, the more you learn about how your body reacts and what your body needs, the better your Zoom will work. As the old saying goes, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try, try… again.

Using you Zoom button when dealing with SPD reactions will hopefully help keep you sane and in the place you need to be.


I am curious? What places do you need to learn how to use your Zoom button more effectively? What victories have you experienced lately in using your Zoom button? Please comment below, I would love to hear from YOU!

Also don’t forget to subscribe to my blog, that way you will never miss a post! Thanks for reading! God bless!

 

Old Dream, New Victory!

 

Fur tree branch by Laura M

For the past five years I have had one dream: to create my own album.

Through those years I have learned a lesson I will never forget.

Dreams take a lot of work to come true!

A few years ago I started having very serious health problems. To the point that I wondered if I would ever be able to leave my bed and live a normal life.

I had gone through a time of sickness before, when I was about thirteen, but this time it really shook my world.

I had to fight for my dream.

While I was in my sickbed, I realized that dreams are not something that just happens, it is something we have to fight for. It’s hard, it’s a struggle, but that’s what makes it special!

Five years of struggling, hoping, praying, and now, at last it is coming true! Within just a few weeks I have watched all the pieces fall into place and have seen my dream finally turn into a victory.

But now the question is, what do I do now?

What do I do with this victory?

Because the thing with dreams is that once they come true, that doesn’t mean the work stops. In fact it’s only the beginning, but this time, I have something to work with, something to show for all the hard work and time.

Yes the war may not be over, but this battle is won!

So where ever you are in your journey or your dream, don’t give up! I had to go through the darkness and through uncertainty for my dream to come true, but it did, it finally came true! But it came true because of God’s help and a lot of hard work.

For those who have finally made it to the top of their dream, rejoice in the victory, rest from the battle, and then keep on fighting the war.

On Oct 17th my first CD- Songstress will be available for purchase! My dream will finally be released and another dream begins… the dream of selling my CD for others to enjoy!

This is not the end, but just the beginning!

– I want to help encourage you in your struggles with your dreams. So please, comment below your dream and how you are fighting to make it come true.  Also, I would love for you to enjoy my dream with me. Over on my Facebook page there will be lots of video’s and information on Songstress for you to enjoy, and (if you live in the area of Janesville, WI) on Oct 25th I will be having a Release Party at my Church with a free concert!  Just go to my Songstress Page for more details.

Keep dreaming and keep living the journey!

Adventures in Making a Weighted Blanket!

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The Mission: To make a weighted blanket.

Two weeks ago I gave myself a mission: to create a weighted blanket using weighted poly pellets and fabric that I already had around the house.

If you are unfamiliar with what weighted blankets are, allow me to explain.

Weighted blankets are blankets that are made up of a bunch of small pouches containing weighted poly pellets.  These pellets create a hugging feeling around the users body. They are extremely helpful for those who are autistic and/or have Sensory Processing Disorder.

Many who hear the word “weighted” instantly think, “like the weights in the gym?”. Not exactly. The weights in a weighted blanket are no heavier than having a bunch of blankets on top of you. The weights create the same feeling one gets when the blankets are tucked tightly around someone’s body (making them look a little like a mummy).

Weighted blankets help adults and children feel relaxed, safe, and improves their sleep.

Weighted blankets can be bought at a few different websites, but it is cheaper if you can make your own, like I did.

The Process!

1. I had to pick out the fabric. I decided on three different types.

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The first one I chose had musical notes on it.

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The second one was brown with small dark brown flowers on it.

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And the third was a pink fabric with small cream flowers.

The notes fabric was bought originally for making a skirt, but I never got around to making it. The other two were cotton fabrics that we had used for table clothes, but no longer needed them anymore.

Once I had chosen the fabrics it was just a matter of cutting them. I decided to cut them into squares of 12″, which added up to 48 squares. 24 squares of the notes fabric. 12 squares of brown and 12 squares of pink.

2. Placement.

I used my bed to figure out what order the pieces will be sewn together and how long the blanket would be.

I used my bed to figure out what order the pieces will be sewn together and how long the blanket would be.

3. After ironing all the squares flat I needed to sew them into rows.

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Placing them design side to design on top of each other, I sewed them together creating long strips of each row of squares.

4. Then, after ironing the seams flat…

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I pinned the strips (long sides) together.

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Then I sewed them together.

I kept sewing them together, always ironing the seam flat, until….

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I had my top piece to my blanket… Yay!

The Tricky Part- finishing it off.

For the bottom piece, I chose a brown, pre-made bed sheet with a high thread count.  Using this instead of a regular piece of cotton would allow the blanket to be used with or without a sheet underneath (which is cooler in the summer time). I am also very sensitive to the type of thread count in a piece of fabric, so it was the best choice.

The sheet was slightly bigger than my top piece, but as you will soon see, that is not a problem.

1. The next step was sewing the two pieces together to create a large pillow case like shape.

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I laid the two piece together and pinned them.

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I also put a pin into the center of each square, just to keep the blanket from shifting too much.

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Then carefully, I sewed around the sides of the blanket, making sure to leave the top end of the blanket open… that’s where the pellets will go.

After the edges were sewn, I cut the excess bed sheet so that the two pieces were even. This was very important, otherwise the blanket would have had lumps around the edges.

2. Then the fun part, turning it right side out!

Tadda!

Tadda!

3. After ironing the blanket edges flat, I began making the pockets.

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First I marked the blanket from bottom to top with straight lines indicating where the pocket tubes will be.

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Then I sewed along the lines creating long tubs that ran from the bottom to the top.

Because of my other sensitivities, I left about 12″ of fabric at the top that would not contain any pellets when the blanket was finished, so I only needed to sew the tubes till they reached that spot at the top.

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Finally, I make some more marks with the fabric pencil from the right side to the left side. These will create the pockets for the Pellets, when sewn.

4. The Pellets.

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The weight of a weighted blanket is always determined by the weight of the user. The formula is 10% the persons weight plus one pound. I weigh 115lb which meant that my blanket needed to weigh 13lb. I decided to make my pouches squares of 6″, which means I needed to put 5Tbs in each pocket.

My Dad helped me a lot in figuring out the exact amounts, and if you are unsure, make sure you consult someone else who is good at math.

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Then I carefully poured 5Tbs of pellets into each sewn tube (the tubes that run from the top to the bottom that is).

With my blanket, I had to fold down the extra fabric at the top to insert the pellets cleanly.

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Finally I slowly began sewing lines that went across the blanket (from the right side to the left side), being careful to keep the pellets safely contained in each pocket.

This was really tricky and I had to split this into two different days because my SPD would start acting up from all the work. As the pockets get filled up, the blanket gets very heavy and a bit bulky. I made sure that I had plenty of table space and even added a TV tray table to hold up the finished end of the blanket.

5. Finishing it off!

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I had a bit of fancy edging on my bed sheet, so I created the closing seam just under this edging; folding the fabric over to create a clean edge and pinning.

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Then I sewed the blanket closed.

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Because of this fancy edge, when I cut the excess sheet off, I left the top of the bed sheet uncut, leaving little wings on both sides. So I had to fold these pieces over and sew them. Then I trimmed them.

The Finished Blanket!

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Yay! I made it!!

 

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I love my weighted blanket! It wasn’t easy, but I wouldn’t have traded the experience for anything.

The result: a blanket designed for me personally and something that has become very dear to my heart.

I’d say this mission was a success!

I Am Still Me- I am more than my Sensory Processing Disorder.

This past week I have been wrestling with the thought, “Was I created with Sensory Processing Disorder on purpose, or was it an accident?”.

The question seemed to always be there, haunting my steps. Until some friends pointed out that I wasn’t questioning where my disability came from, I was questioning my value.

I Am Still Me

Am I more than my Sensory Processing Disorder?

Do I have worth outside of my SPD or is my worth dictated by SPD’s presence in my life?

Sometimes when you realize that you have a disability, you get so carried away with how it effects you. You start reading all the books you can get our hands on, and investigating every little thing. You can even become so carried away with your new discovery that you overwhelm your friends with information and facts that they really don’t need to hear.

Ultimately we loose sight of who we truly are.

So Who Am I?

I am a dreamer. Who loves to do things that shake, rattle and roll people’s worlds.

I am a leader. Planning events and leading people with projects makes me very happy.

Music is an intricate part of my heart. I feel more myself when I listen to good music (whether that is new music or old music that may date back to the 1950’s)

I have a laugh that is very loud, but I had one friend of mine say that it lights up a room.

These are just some of the qualities that make up the person I am.

I am not trying to show off by printing these things, in fact it is hard for me to write good things about myself. Often, I tend to see all my faults instead of my qualities.

No, I am just trying to show you that there is more to me than just my SPD.

I Am Still Me.

I may have just discovered that I have Sensory Processing Disorder, and yes, I may do things a little differently than I did before, but that doesn’t change the fact that I am still me. I still enjoy the same things as most people, such as hanging out with friends or watching a good movie (maybe not in the movie theater).

But, ultimately, my worth comes from something else other than my personality.

I am a child of God and that gives me worth!

We are all intricately created and loved by God! My sensory processing disorder is a tool in His hands. It is something He uses to shape my heart. He doesn’t love me just because I have SPD, but because I am me.

It is the same for you too!

Stop seeing yourself in the shadow of your disability. Yes, it is hard. It’s a battle. It may be a struggle to interact with people, and sometimes you may be overwhelmed with what you can’t be, or what you can’t do, but that doesn’t make you any less you.

You are precious. Not because I say so, but because God says so.

With or without SPD I am still me! Can you say the same?