A Leader Worth Following…Am I?

 

As I was pondering a leader I know and questioning whether she is worth following, in that moment God convicted me and had me reflect inwardly – What kind of leader am I? Am I leader worth following? What does that look like, and what things should I heed? I have been very fortunate in my time at Mclean Bible Church to be under several amazing Godly leaders worthy of being followed.

In order to become a leader worth following, I must follow Paul’s example when he said in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ”. I need to be continually devoted to growing in my likeness to Christ. What does that look like in ministry?

Passion – I must be totally sold out for Christ with a fire in my belly for Him and His work. I get to wake up every day and serve in my ministry, not because it is a job, but because it is my calling and God’s plan for my life.

Purpose – I need to be clear in casting vision to my team, what we do and why we are compelled to do it. Access Ministry is committed to impacting the disability community in the Washington, DC, area with the message of Jesus Christ. Do I share a vision of the future and what is possible? I must remind the team our mission goes well beyond connecting special families with great programs, that the big picture is connecting them with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Is my heart aligned with Christ’s?

Plan – Do I have a plan in place for the ministry to reach its goal and purpose? Is the plan carefully bathed and covered in prayer to ensure it is God’s plan and not anyone else’s agenda, including my own? Do I constantly – in good times and in challenging ones – convey a message of hope and determination? We all know ministry can get tough and messy.

Power – When it comes to our power source, am I relying on the Holy Spirit or my own humanness? As a recovering Type-A personality, this is a constant struggle. I need to be totally dependent on His Spirit to carry and sustain me in ministry, not my own gifts and talents.

Personable – Am I approachable and seeking to develop the team as well as relationships with other ministries? Am I “others” focused, being a servant leader looking to assist others in becoming all they be?

Pupil – Am I student of leadership, continually hungry to fine-tune my leadership skills? Am I constantly learning and eager to learn from those on the team as well as others? To guard against the mindset I have arrived and know enough?

Being a leader worth following is hard work. I fall short daily. I don’t have it all together, and I make mistakes regularly. It’s kind of discouraging, except for the fact we have a God who is able to use each of us for the purpose for which He has called us. I am thankful in this season of my life, that I have been called to lead Access Ministry.

Girl Time

Every other week, I look forward to the night during which I am able to connect with my dear friend, Janine. Because of the busyness of life and our crazy schedules, meeting more often is just not realistic. Janine is witty, funny, and sometimes quirky, but such fun to be around. She has a passion for music and loves art. Janine has such a zest for life.

Before our preset getaway outing for the week, there is great discussion regarding what we shall do and where we should go. Both of us live in the same town, so the plans are usually local. Great thought is given on how to maximize our time together. Many times, we invite another close girlfriend to join us…the more the merrier.

Our precious time together usually consists of a gym workout at the local Y and then a bite to eat—oftentimes at a Mexican establishment. Table talk covers a myriad of topics from work, to family, to daily struggles, to bouts of silliness and laughter.

As a ministry leader, mom, and grandmother, my life is very full; but making time for friends is a necessity. Friendships are very dear to me. This friendship is especially important. Janine is a true friend and mighty prayer warrior. She is generous and kind and has no problem stating her thoughts or letting you know where she stands on an issue. Janine, besides her great personality, caring heart and sense of humor, has Down Syndrome.

For Janine, her phone does not ring nor does she receive texts with requests to fill up her social calendar. Other than home, work, and church, she does not partake in a lot of social activities in the community. Janine participates in Access Ministry’s Friendship Club. While people from MBC and Access embrace and welcome Janine, and accept and love her for who she is, I am not sure that is the case with those from her community.

One of the wonderful things about our friendship is it has grown well beyond the walls of church and Access Ministry into the community. Janine’s friendship is a wonderful blessing to me. I used to think I might be the blessing in Janine’s life; but God quickly cleared up that misconception, as I have been blessed tenfold while getting to know Janine better and God continues to reveal the beauty of his handiwork in Janine. I see His beauty in her.

So, tonight it is off to the gym for a light workout and then to Chipotle for a good dose of Mexican food and laughter. Embracing diversity strengthens the whole community.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10:  “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”

Parent Connection

It’s the conversation children’s ministry workers and church staff dread, or at least one of the most dreaded:  meeting with the parents of the child whose behaviors have either become so disruptive or dangerous that they interfere with Sunday school. Oftentimes, we wait and hope the issues get better only to find the behaviors escalate, volunteers and staff become more frustrated, and parents begin to voice concern. So, what is a formula for success, and how do we take a difficult conversation and turn it into an opportunity for great success?

Meet Joshua, a third grader who loves the Lord, reads his Bible, and prays. He is hungry to learn about God. Joshua also has diagnoses of ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, and an emotional disorder. When you look at Joshua, he appears “typical”; however, after being with him in Sunday school for a few minutes, you realize he is wired a bit differently from the other boys in his small group. He is easily over-stimulated, has a high degree of anxiety, and is incredibly impulsive. His responses and reactions are extreme and often seem unwarranted. Joshua has difficulty in social situations, taking turns, and in group or collaborative activities. He becomes easily agitated when things do not go his way and frequently resorts to violence, lashing out at others or becoming self-injurious.

Three weeks ago in Sunday school, the boys in small group were playing a game; it was a noisy, active game with much excitement. Joshua became upset with a boy he believed stepped out of turn. Joshua became verbally upset, punched the boy, and called him an idiot. After the volunteers interceded and separated the two, Joshua went over and began kicking the wall. The leader asked Joshua to go outside of the classroom, and the day went from bad to worse. Unfortunately, that day had not been the first during which Joshua had had difficulty in the classroom; there had been a handful of other times with similar behaviors and outcomes.

Based on the last incident, it was decided it was time to request a meeting with the parents, children’s ministry staff, and an Access team member. Access came alongside the children’s ministry staff in the role of inclusion specialist and as a professional resource. The date and time was set.

The meeting day arrived. Because mom homeschools both of her boys, a room was set up for the boys across the hall so we could have privacy. The meeting started with opening in God’s Word and prayer as a reminder of how to conduct ourselves and that we serve an amazing, gracious God we are to glorify in our words and actions.

I sensed the tension and defensiveness in mom immediately, mostly from observing her body language. I quickly explained the purpose and desired outcome of the meeting was to create a plan that would create success for Joshua in Sunday school, not removal from the program. Mom let out a big sigh of relief and said, “You have no idea how many programs we have been asked to leave because of our son’s behaviors.” Mom then relaxed and opened up, and together as a team we put together a plan to be used going forward to help set up her child for success on Sunday mornings. The meeting was a big success; but even bigger than that, it was a meeting at which God was honored. Below are the steps to success when communicating with a parent regarding a child’s behavioral issues:

  • Affirm – Affirm to the parents that you love and care for them and their child, that it is your hope and desire to seek a plan that would allow their child to attend and learn about God’s great love.
  • Acceptance – Make sure they understand you accept and welcome their child in the program, and that you accept them as a special family and want to serve them.
  • Advocacy – Create opportunities for the child to learn to advocate for himself or herself. In this situation we created a break card for Joshua, who, when he becomes overwhelmed or needs to take a break and move to a quieter activity or area, he can hold up the card and be given a break.
  • Awareness – When possible, teach a child to be aware of feelings of boredom, overstimulation, or not enough stimulation, and provide choices. If children are not able to verbalize, present them with pictures of facial expressions showing different emotions, and teach them pointing.
  • Accommodations Seek to implement accommodations that support a child’s learning style and needs. Joshua is a sensory child, so having fidget busters and a weighted toy to place on his lap or shoulders helps him feel organized. He also has some auditory sensitivities to loud noise and music; the use of earplugs helps with that. Mom agreed to always send Joshua with earplugs. Because Joshua has sensory challenges, he often needs a place to which to retreat that is calm and quiet; creating an area outside his Sunday school class with a pop-up tent and bean bag provides a retreat for a few minutes. Joshua is highly visual and is helped by the use of a visual schedule and rules to help him manage transitions and expectations during Sunday school.
  • Action End the meeting with the commitment that both church staff/volunteers and parents are on the same team and are seeking to work together for the child and his or her spiritual development and personal growth. Avow that, together, we seek not to teach compliancy but the bigger goal of competency. Review next steps for all parties, and recap in a follow-up email. Commit to follow-up meetings or discussions.

Let’s Play…Inclusive Friendships

As more and more children with disabilities are included in our schools, communities and churches, there are even greater opportunities to celebrate one another’s differences.  For a child, friendships can be one of the most rewarding aspects of their lives. Friendships are beneficial to a child—they boost confidence and competence. Friendships help foster social, intellectual and emotional development.   Having a circle of friends opens up new ways and opportunities for a child to experience the world. Friends walk through life with us during times of great joy and challenges. They become our greatest cheerleaders, coaches, counselors, confidantes and clowns and add such value to our life. Why, then, is it so hard for children to be friends with a child with disability, and what can we do as adult leaders in our homes, communities and churches to facilitate and encourage inclusive friendships so children of all abilities  are laughing and playing with one another?

I recently read a post by a special mom titled “My Child’s Dream: To Have Friends”. I was so saddened by some of the statistics cited in reference to the loneliness felt by many children with special needs, troubled by the isolation felt by many. Some had no friends or very limited time with friends. Only one  percent of children with disabilities spent an hour a day with a friend.

The biggest barriers to fostering inclusive friendships, those between typical children and children with disabilities, are not physical barriers but more the barriers of attitude or condition of heart. It is clear that we as adults have great influence on how we respond to and include those with disabilities. Children are always watching us, and we as adults have great impact on how children accept and relate to those who are different. We have the ability to facilitate environments and situations that foster inclusive settings in our schools, churches and community by doing the following:

  1. Believe disability is normal, and God made all children in His Image.
  2. Teach disability is natural.
  3. Become an expert on a particular child, NOT his/her disability.
  4. Be comfortable in the world of disability.
  5. Provide adaptive equipment, so all can play or engage in the activity.
  6. Plan activities children of all ability levels enjoy.
  7. Create time for socializing and connecting.
  8. Encourage collaboration and teamwork.
  9. Teach taking turns and social skills through game playing, such a back and forth games.
  10. Identify a child’s strengths and areas of interest, and incorporate those into programming.
  11. Pair up peers with similar interests or strengths.
  12. Facilitate opportunities for peer-to-peer learning and interactions.
  13. Model appropriate play and interaction; be the role model.
  14. Teach non-verbal communication strategies to typical students.

By being intentional in our efforts to model inclusion, we help foster friendships for all children; and by doing so, we help all to experience the joy of laughter and play.

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:12-15 – NIV)

Unqualified (by Guest Blogger, Sabrina Watkins)

Qualifications are one of several key factors to being successful with landing that perfect job in today’s market. Lack of qualifications can sometimes make or break your chance of getting the job you want. Recruiters scan through hundreds of resumes searching for that one candidate who meets the qualifications. 

Luckily, serving isn’t like looking for a job. Serving does not rely heavily on your qualifications. There is an amazing quote out there:  “God doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called.” There is so much truth to this quote in the fact that God will qualify us if we are willing to serve Him. The Bible is full of individuals who did not have very impressive resumes or qualifications to their name, but God did amazing things through them. Your lack of qualifications should not hinder you from serving in ministry. One of the biggest misconceptions about serving in a special-needs ministry is you need to have certain qualifications. I know this because I speak from personal experience.

I was working in the IT field for a large corporation when a friend of mine introduced me to Access Ministry.  At the time, I was in my mid-twenties and had no prior experience working in the special-needs community, nor did I know anyone affected by disability. I agreed to attend one respite event to be nice and figured it would be a one-time event. What I didn’t know at the time of the offer is that’s where God was calling me to serve. Six years later, I am still volunteering with Access Ministry. The night I attended respite for the first time changed my life. God opened my eyes to such a beautiful community I had never seen in my life. I remember sitting in a meeting several years ago with Access director Jackie Mills-Fernald. She told me you can teach a person what they need to know to get the job done, but you cannot teach a person passion. I came to Access Ministry with no qualifications, but I had passion. I was like a sponge the first few years soaking up all the knowledge from staff, classes, and other faithful volunteers. During that time, I took my love for everything creative, especially photography, and started using those gifts within the ministry. I have been able to participate in all the ministry’s programs at one point or another. Volunteering with Access Ministry has opened my eyes and my heart to a community that is oftentimes forgotten. I am truly blessed to be serving alongside such amazing men and women of God, who are passionate about serving. I feel humble that God has picked me to serve such amazing families, and that they allow me to serve their children. I was not qualified to serve in Access, but I answered the call and God qualified me for the job.

You do not need experience to serve; you need passion. We are all called as Christ followers to serve others (1 Peter 4:10). The reality is potential volunteers don’t need the right qualifications; they need God’s calling! Where is God calling you to serve?

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10)

Tent Talk

 

In walks young David, in full camouflage military gear. He was ready to lead his troops into battle and victory on Sunday morning in the midst of his Sunday school class. David is one of our Beautiful Blessings children: 13 years old, weighing all of 50 lbs soaking wet. David is bright and articulate, with amazing fascinations and often times fixations. David has a complicated diagnosis complete with ADD/ADHD, developmental delays, PDD (Pervasive Developmental Disability), and emotional disabilities. His fascinations and fixations lead him to fantasy play of great power, oftentimes assuming the role of a lawyer, manager and, today, a high-ranking military officer. David has a great strategic mind and delights in the operation of organizations, hierarchy, and power struggles.

David’s self-appointed role came with much power and responsibility. Very quickly, the lead teacher, volunteers and students were assigned ranks of less importance in David’s play. Headquarters were quickly set up with a pop tent, which remains in the classroom for times when students become overwhelmed with sensory input and need a place to escape. The tent was converted into a strategic command base with a chair added and makeshift military supplies. Once free time and guided play had ended, David was determined not to participate in prayer and lesson. In his mind, he was the person in charge. It was at that point – at the power struggle between classroom schedule and David’s military plan – I entered.

One of the most important lessons I have learned in 13 years of disability ministry is there is great value into stepping into the world of a person with disability and not always demanding or requiring they step into our world. I was called into the room to begin negotiations, a situation that, at first glimpse, appeared to be a lose-lose situation: the teacher desiring to begin the most important part of class and a student not just refusing to participate, but vehemently so. Wanting to use David’s interest, strength and area of expertise to enhance his learning and classroom experience, I became not the Access Director, but a five-star general instead. I saluted David, made introductions, and requested permission to enter the room. Permission to enter was granted.

As I engaged David in conversation to get his story and perspective, I used all the military lingo and knowledge I knew to better relate to him and his fascination for the day. I knew that by using his obsessions, we could create a positive teaching experience for him. We reached an agreement at which David would report to a tactical meeting (comprised of prayer and lesson) facilitated by a lower-ranking officer (the teacher). Once we had fully participated in this meeting, we could resume military discussion at tent headquarters. We spent time on our visual schedule posted on the board to help David stay on track and see the reward toward which he was working. Part of the negotiations was I was to be his secretary tasked with taking notes. I quickly asked to be considered for the position of executive administrative assistant to which he agreed after careful consideration.

After David fully engaged in prayer and lesson time, he asked permission to be excused, and he and I headed for the tent. Once inside, he handed me a yellow steno pad (we created an office supply kit for David, as he loves office supplies) and asked me to take notes. I responded with the customary “Yes, Sir.”

I dated the yellow piece of paper and titled it “Military Meeting”. I then asked him for the agenda items. David responded we would be talking about God’s love and grace. I perked up and asked, “David, do you know what grace is?”. He shook his head. I explained it to him as unmerited favor, receiving a wonderful gift we do not deserve. I asked him what he thought God gave us that we do not deserve. His response was “love”. I explained love comes in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ. I then challenged David and asked what we should do with this great love God has given us. Should we share it with his troops, friends in school, and the neighborhood? We had a lively discussion on whether God would want us to share or hide that love. After some coaching, David agreed love should be shared because we have a God who is love; and we are called to love all people, not just his military troops. We talked about how great leaders are filled with love and compassion and what a great leader David is.

This wonderful one-on-one discussion with this very special 13-year-old boy with multiple disabilities only happened after being willing to step into his world of fascinations. By playing into his fantasy and fixation, it created a bond and opportunity to have a significant discussion regarding God and His great love for us.

We entered the tent to have a tactical talk. We left having had a theological talk instead. Priceless.

“Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!” (1 Corinthians 9:19-23, The Message)

Under Construction – Please Pardon The Mess

The words “under construction” came to me the other night while praying. I immediately began to worry and panic about what God has in store for my personal life and/or ministry and thought, “no more change!” The picture of a construction site came to mind:  messy, incomplete, and a structure only partially finished. As I pondered, I realized a construction site is truly no different from my own life; it is a work in progress. 

I got up from praying and wrote down the words “under construction”. I began to reflect and shift my focus on God, the Master Builder, and His abilities and unlimited resources. Oswald Chambers wrote, “Jesus, the Master Builder, takes us ever so that He may direct and control us completely for His enterprises and His building plan; and no one has any right to demand where He can put us to work.”

God wants to deconstruct our old selves and reconstruct us in His Image. In the book of Ecclesiastes is written “a time to tear down, a time to build”. This is a season for growth in my life and Access Ministry. Our Father the Master Builder desires to build and prepare us for personal growth in and through Him for His glory and impact. “For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus, to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10, NIV) He will give us every supply, resource, and skill necessary to do His work, His way.

So instead of dreading this season of construction and renovation in my life and Access Ministry, I am looking forward to what God is doing and will continue to do. Yes; I am under construction, a work in progress. Please pardon the mess.

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

Your Presence Is Requested – 2011 Reflections

As I reflect upon this past year through the storms of parenting a 17-year-old son with significant co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as a possible spectrum disorder, I am reminded of the great gift of human presence in my life. In my darkest moments of despair, grief, and pain, it was the physical presence of others who became Jesus with flesh on that comforted and encouraged me by just being there, often in times of great silence. His light shines brightest in the darkest of night, carried by those who are willing to come alongside others in their complete and utter brokenness.

This year my personal life has been wrought with explosive behaviors, high-risk activities, residential treatments, school plans, and legal and financial woes. The presence of others provided a level of care that not even the best written Hallmark card, bouquet of flowers, or home-cooked casserole could come close to. I thank God for those people who entered into my darkest of nights to feel my pain, agony, and brokenness and took that on with me, those who sat with me, wept with me, laughed with me, and just sat with me, who refused to give up on me even with my efforts to retreat inward and put up walls of isolation. 

As a ministry leader, I recognize the importance of programming and ministry outreach initiatives; however, no program replaces the need for one-on-one care for the brokenhearted and downtrodden. It is easy to become focused on rolling out and running exceptional programming for God and yet miss the many opportunities to be a blessing in the lives of those who are hurting because we are just too darn busy.  It is easy to put programming in front of people.  We oftentimes wish we would not be inconvenienced by those in need, as our to-do lists run a mile long. 

This year will be different for me, as my personal suffering unleashed an empathy I do not believe I had yet felt or fully understood for those I serve in the ministry.  Someone once said our capacity to love is only as great as our capacity to feel pain.  Experiencing true brokenness puts us more in tune with the suffering of others, whether that be the loss of a loved one, grieving the loss of a dream, disunity in a relationship, or financial crisis.  Making ourselves available and being present, showing up with and spending time with someone in need, sends the message “I care; you are not alone.” We are His messengers of love and hope. 

God’s Word commands us to care for those in need, to “rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” (Rom. 12:15 NIV). Because we have been comforted by God in our trouble, we are to comfort others (2 Cor. 1:3-4). 

As I pray for God’s wisdom and direction for Access Ministry and our programming, I also pray my year of brokenness would not be wasted and would be used to better care for others by being more intentional to be present with them in the midst of their storms. I realize I may be inconvenienced, uncomfortable, and not know what to say or do—but God does.

Yes, my presence and your presence are requested the world full of pain in which we live. We are called to bear witness and love in the face of suffering. As we make ourselves present to those in need, Christ will be there as well. 

“A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3:4 NLT)

A Fresh Perspective

Guest Blogger,  Sheena Austria, our Access Future Leader, has been with us for three months. Here are her thoughts, reflections, and lessons. 

A Fresh Perspective

Three months is ninety days, 2,191 hours, or 7,889,231.49 seconds—and it all goes by in a blink. But time is an interesting concept. Trying to squeeze and clench time is like gripping a handful of water:  always a futile attempt to keep something for a little bit longer. As the droplets of water have run down my fingers and palms these past three months, the Lord has truly transformed me, changing my heart a lot for the past few months to focus not on what is fleeting, but on what is lasting.

Yes, it’s true that time is not lasting. But in the eyes of God, brokenness is not lasting either. Because of sin, we are all broken, whether we are a man or woman, old or young, typical or with a disability. Take one look at magazine covers, celebrity gossip and news reports, and the brokenness is evident. But that brokenness is what we tend to focus on. And unfortunately, when interacting with a person with disabilities, people (myself included) are quick to focus on the disability, or what makes him or her different.

However, by the grace of God, I am learning to focus more on what is lasting. What lasts is the love of Christ that overwhelms our brokenness. What lasts is what Christ did on the cross, so that we can focus on His grace more than our own depravity. What lasts is his or her relationship with Christ. What lasts are his or her strength and joy, both of which humble me in astonishing ways. What lasts are the ways families adjust and become strength for one another. What lasts is his interest in the leather back sea turtles and marsupials in Australia. What lasts is his obsession with watching trains at Quantico. What lasts are his prayers for the same friend every week. What lasts are his genuine feelings of compassion and care towards his friend, shown in the ways he cares for her and tries to feed her, even though he cannot feed himself. What lasts are her firing questions, the ones that indicate her genuine desire to get to know people. What lasts is the friendship that each of them has graced me with, a friendship that has molded and shaped me in so many incredible ways.

These are the things that will transcend time. These are the lasting things that bring joy to the heart of God. These are the things to fix our eyes on—the lives and passions that the Lord of Lords cherishes and loves more deeply than you and I can imagine. 

“For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.”

Hebrews 13:14

Sensory What?

Sensory Dysfunction Disorder is the inability to process sensory stimuli/data effectively. Think about how our nervous system is flooded with sensory input via the following senses:

  • Visual
  • Auditory
  • Olfactory (smell)
  • Tactile (touch)
  • Gustatory (taste)
  • Vestibular (sense of balance)
  • Proprioceptive (sense of body space)

So, what happens when our systems are either not integrated or function at a hypo or hyper level? Think of the children in your Sunday school programs, VBS, or Awanas. What about the child who craves jumping, crashing into things…the risk takers? What about the child who is clumsy and can’t find the coordination to throw a ball, do a puzzle, or has a fear of walking down stairs? Or how about the child who covers his/her ears during worship time or when a toilet flushes? Or the child who will only eat food that is a particular color or texture? Well, perhaps each of these children may have a sensory processing condition known as SDD (Sensory Dysfunction Disorder).

As children’s ministry workers and church leaders, how can we assist by creating environments that are sensory rich? For a child who is hyper-sensitive, meaning has acute sensitivity and appears to over-react, that child is a “sensory hightailer” and needs less sensory input. For a child who is hypo-sensitive, he/she needs more sensation to register; that child is a sensory seeker craving more. Listed below are activities for less or more input.

Sensory Activities for Additional Input:

  • Mini trampoline
  • Therapy ball, seated disk
  • Gross motor play/movement
  • Sensory bins, tactile toys, fidget busters
  • Outside play, playground/gym time

 Sensory Activities to Delay or Calm:

  • Tent
  • Rocking chair/swing
  • Fish tank
  • Bubble tube
  • Headphones
  • Soft music
  • Stress-reducing techniques (deep breathing, visualization)

The term sensory diet was coined by Patricia Wilbarger, OT. Just as we each need a balanced food/meal plan throughout the day, each of us also needs a variety of sensory input that provides input to help us stay focused, alert, calm, and safe.