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Summer more difficult for children with sensory processing disorders

In the summer months, children with sensory processing disorders can be more stimulated. We spoke to experts about why that is and tips to keep your child calm.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Back yard barbecues, beach days and spending time with friends and family are just some of the best parts about summer.

But for children with Autism or other sensory processing problems, these summer months are more difficult.

"There are people talking, there are smells coming off the grill and their bare feet are touching the grass and the wind is whipping and the leaves are rustling and there's a dog barking," Jeff Johnson, director of the Children's Center Early Intervention and Family Support, said. "All of that piled onto somebody with a generalized sensory input problem could put them over the edge."

Which is why parents and providers work to identify a child's sensory needs.

For example, a child that doesn't like to be touched may use the spray sunscreen instead of the lotion.

But every child's needs are different.

"I think one of my favorite lines about Autism is that if you've met one child with Autism, you've met one child with Autism," Kara St. Hilaire, director of Autism services at the Children's Center.

For 5-year-old Keenan Roper, he is nonverbal and communicates with his parents and teachers with sign language.

When things get overwhelming for Keenan, especially during the summer, his mom says that's no problem.

"We don't feel like we're being outcasted or anything like that. If he wants to go inside and take a break we go inside and take a break then come back out," Kennan's mom, Payge Flewelling said.

In a handout provided by the Children's Center, says for children with visual needs to use spinning toys or computer games. Auditory needs, use the radio or musical instruments. And for tactical needs, use shower scrunchies or soft toys. 

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