In the Kid Zone

Home Schooling and Sensory Issues

A note for this post. I received my certification as a Developmental Specialist back in 2007. I have been able to be home for 4 years and haven’t kept up my CEUs but I think I still have a little to say on the topic.

Home schooling a child with sensory needs is challenging to say the least. Sounds, smells, and touch can be a huge distraction. Here is where experimentation and a good evaluation of the home comes in.

One of our big distractions was the dishwasher. When I was home schooling my daughter ( now in a charter school) the dishwasher was white noise and actually helped her focus. I recently started to delay the dishwasher in the morning or turn it one at night for my son. The dishwasher is a huge distraction for him. Also our kitchen table sits near a window. I had to place my son with his back facing the window because the birds we feed were distracting him.

As for smells I needed to change up my essential oil routine. I have a diffuser in my kitchen. I had to experiment with what smells worked for him. My daughter likes lavender, my son doesn’t like that one. He likes chamomile. Both like the citrus oils. Cleaners are a smell distraction too. I changed to making my own cleaning products years ago to save money. Recently I bought a cleaner at the store. This distracted my son to no end. “What is that smell, Mom?” It is probably best to stay away from bleach as much as possible. My friend has 4 kids who are all are typical in development. She really likes bleach but came across an article that stated that bleach hinders concentration. I will have to find and post that article. My friend noticed a difference during school after she took out most of the bleach in her cleaning products.

The feel of itchy clothes is a game ended for my son. He doesn’t notice the itch until he is still. Then it is all over. I thought that he was just trying to delay school with a change of clothes but them I noticed that when he sat down to play the offending clothing would bother him and he would change. Also when we where in the car he would start to itch. Also I noticed that saying the clothes where itchy was generalization that something was wrong. I have finally come across a detergent I don’t have to make that helps with the itchiness. Socks need to be soft and clothes need to be baggy.

On the other hand these senses can be used for concentration. My son likes to hear the birds in the background. He enjoys the smells of the oils I use for him. Sensory touch is soothing and we use that in between subjects along with active play time. Sensory touch is great for science classes! Yes, I am putting one more thing in your plate. Don’t try to evaluate everything at once. Take it little by little and bit by bit. And remember this post comes from several months of tweaking.

For some kiddos you won’t be able to get rid of all distractions and they will need to learn how to tune those out. I highly recommend getting help from therapy. If you have a kid with Autism, Down Syndrome, ext then please get developmental services for them. Just because we are home schooling our children with developmental disabilities and delays doesn’t mean we do this all by ourselves.

I hope this helps jump start a better learning experience for your kiddos and yourself.

May God give you grace and patience. Keep on trail blazing!


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