Birthday parties.

by Marissa
(New Jersey)

My six year old son has SPD. He loves going to parties. My concern is every time we go to a party he has trouble transitioning from the play part to the eating portion of the party. He throws his food on the floor and acts up and even screams at the top of his lungs when it is time to sing happy birthday. How do I handle this with out embarrassing myself in front of the other parents?

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Jan 11, 2009
party woes
by: Anonymous

Dear Marissa: I'm wondering what your child does with these same kinds of transitions at school and other places? Since you stated that your child has SPD, what type of diagnosis were you given and who is working w/ you to help your child manage?

With my preschool children who have not gotten a diagnosis but have these same type of reactions to the change, I always give then a "Heads Up" on what is going to happen during special times that are not a normal part of the daily routine. We usually talk about it in class w/ everyone, so that there are no real surprises (as much as possible).... for example, fire drills, storm practices, intruder lock downs, etc. If the kids have had a chance to talk about what might scare them or "throw them off", it usually helps.

If you are at the parties, perhaps you could talk about what's going to happen on the way to the event, then quietly talk to your child before some of the changes occur so that he is a bit more ready in his mind-set. This doesn't help 100% of the time, but usually the reaction is a bit less dramatic.

Also, if your child could have similar experiences in other settings/church, park, child-friendly restaurants, your own home, etc., then perhaps over time, he won't be so over-stimulated w/ the change and be so resistive. If you know the area where his SPD exists, that should help the professionals you are working with to help you ~ in order to help him. There's a fabulous book called "Sensory Secrets ~ How to Jump Start Learning in Children" by Catherine Schneider that is a nice resource for teachers & parents. I got to hear Catherine last summer & I highly recommend this book. You can find it on Amazon. Best wishes and hang in there! You can do this! Sue (IL)

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