Sensory Schedule

What I really wanted to title this post was ‘there goes the rest of my life’, but that title doesn’t work well in the world of SEO, so instead my title is  sensory schedule.  Consider that my genuflecting to the powers of search engine optimization.

sensory schedule

I love working with Parker.  I’m happy and willing to do it.  I’m just feeling overwhelmed and frustrated and lost as to how I’m going to get it all done.  I keep finding myself wishing that I could afford to take him to professionals who actually know what they are doing instead of this poor kid getting stuck with me, who tends to be clueless more often than not.

But you know what they say about wishes and fishes and all of us having a fry.  Instead I’m pulling up my big girl panties wedgie style and getting done what I need to get done for a kid who deserves nothing but the best.

I wish I could just send you to a nice and tidy color coded copy of Parker’s Sensory Schedule, but my computer skills don’t stretch that far, so instead, I’m going to list it here.

Yes, I’d love your input.  I’m going to have a friend who has all the proper letters behind her name take a look at it too, even though it’s been compiled by Parker’s OT.

I’m not going to lie, I’m a little stunned at the going price of weighted blankets and lap pads these days.  Plus a few of the other items our OT suggested we purchase to use on this grand experiment.  I’m  tired of money being an object in my life and perhaps that’s making me a wee bit stabby too.  I’ll get over it though.  I’m pretty creative and I’ll come up with ways to replicate a lot of this stuff with items I already have around the house.   Although wouldn’t this be amazing?  Or this little beauty?

So without further ado, here is our Sensory Schedule:

7:00 Wake Parker up.  Spin 10x each direction in office chair, or go down slide 10x or bounce on therapy ball for 1 minute. Pray the kid doesn’t hurl.   This of course is after I unhook him from all his monitors, continuous feeds, change his diaper, and change him to his nose from his vent.

7:30 First academic work session.

8:00 Hand hugs or joint compressions

a sensory vibrator for a sensory schedule

9:00-10:30  Brush teeth with vibrating toothbrush while putting vibrating noodle over Parker’s head to help desensitize in anticipation for hearing aids.  Do nebs and shaker vest.  Bath.  Daily cares.  Does a vibrating shaker vest count as both Vestibular and Proprioception sensory experiences?   Pray it does.

10:30  OT Goal Work  Prior to OT session go over Parker’s back and legs several times with either the sensory rolling pin, sensory ball, or massage bug.  Then practice wearing his head phones (Heaven help me) while listening to music.  Reward will be a couple of sprays of snow cone flavoring on his chewy.  Continue on to regular OT work.

11:00  Book Time  While sitting with a weighted blanket complete with fidgets on his lap, read books to Parker.  Remember to point out items such as ‘the green tree’, ‘the red car’, etc.

11:30  Second Academic Work Session  Begin with Proprioception sensory activity, such as foam rolling pin, massage.  Put on Parker’s sensory vest.  Complete lesson goals.

12:15  Vestibular sensory activities.  Take a walk.  Play on slide.  Swing in blanket. Follow this with visual activities such as playing on the iPad, watching YouTube video, visual tracking games.

1:30  Meds and Nebs and Shaker vest.  Brush teeth with vibrating toothbrush while the vibrating noodle is over Parker’s head/ears.

2:30  Vestibular sensory activity followed by proprioception sensory activity.

3:00  Speech work session.  Guess who will be doing that?  Yup.  Moi.  A self trained SLP.  Damn insurance.

3:30 -4:30  Free time.  Maybe this is when I can take a pee?  Who knows.  I’ll work that out later.  Work on playing with toys independently.  Tactile sensory experiences, including Parker’s sensory table, texture balls, art projects, etc.

5:00 – 5:30  OT has ‘stimming activities’ written down.  Ahem.  Sitting someplace stimming might not be a big issue now, but when he’s 15 it’s not going to be so pretty.  This will become hanging out and rough housing with Dad time.

6:00  Brushing and joint compressions.

7:00  Wear sensory vest for 30 minutes.  Watch the little Turkey like a hawk so he doesn’t take it off and shove it down a vent hole.

8:30  Meds, Nebs, Storytime with weighted blanket.  Brush teeth with blue vibrating noodle over ears.

sensory items for a sensory schedule

9:30  Bed.  Use weighted blanket.  Reality will be that a certain Brave Hero will jump off the walls until about 12:00 a.m. THEN I will finally be able to switch him over to his vent and hook him up to his monitors while Reed is snoring on the mattress on the floor.  I’ll wait 30 more minutes to make sure everything is okay then I will fall into bed.

The Ultimate Goal is for Parker to have an early bed time, where he actually falls asleep,  sleeps through the night and  gets to the point where he can tolerate the sensory brushing every 90 minutes.  More sleep will make a HUGE difference in Parker’s ability to learn, play on his own more, etc., unless it kills me first, then all bets are off.

I can do this right?  She has me down for an HOUR a day to clean my house.  I usually spend around THREE hours a day keeping things around here clean. I kid you not. My kids ain’t that great in the cleaning up after themselves category.  So this will be interesting.  Think Sargent Steam will finally take pity on me and allow us to do a review on their steamer in return for free product?   Steam cleaning seriously takes less time than traditional cleaning.

All the Mamas who have told me how amazed they are at all I do really weren’t just throwing me ‘thank God it’s not me‘ platitudes, right?  I really do have super powers, right?

I’m already exhausted and all I did was TYPE this new schedule.  sigh.

Okay.  Pity Party over.  Big Girl Panties pulled up so high I have a killer wedgie in place.  We begin tomorrow.   A sensory schedule adventure is about to begin.

Wish us luck.



About Tammy and Parker

Special Needs Blogger, and homeschooling Mom, heavily involved in advocacy for all kids with special needs in Utah.


  1. Maria Cordner says:

    It feels overwhelming just reading it! I have felt that way when introducing new schedules but I learned we are adaptable in many ways. Some things become part, easy into routines, other are just that busy stuff. You’ll see that while you implement but only you can know the difference and after all this years I learned, believe me, that the mom knows better the difference than the therapist who doesn’t live with the kid and knows the overall environment of the family interactions. I also learn that everything that looks beneficial is worth to try for the very sake that you find in it what really works for you and maybe something even new. There’s no doubt in me that you are a warrior, I would say more than that a sentinel warrior! Love to you, Tammy!

  2. Julia says:

    I have a SN son as well, and he had very serious sleep issues for 2 years. He had terrible GERD and was losing weight. After doing a lot of research, pediatrician was no help, I found that zantac causes insomnia in some people. After some allergy testing (IgE), and revamping his diet based on the findings, we were able to wean him off the zantac. Now we give him a little mylanta right before bed those incredibly challenging nights have changed dramatically. He also gained 5 pounds in 2 months. I don’t know much about DS, or your child, and certainly don’t want to lead you down a possibly fruitless path, but when it comes to sleep, I think diet and meds are worth a look. It sounds like you are an amazing mother. I wish you the best and hope that your boy starts sleeping better soon. It makes a world of difference for him and you.

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