Friday, December 12, 2014

Do Tell! Sensory Integration at Christmas

Resurrecting a recurrent feature today because sharing stories is a healing balm.

C.S. Lewis wrote, "We read to know we're not alone." I need to tell my story and I'd love to hear yours. Here's a question I bet you can answer with at least one example. Be practical, be personal, be painful, be my guest...

Do you have a Christmas tradition that accomplishes sensory integration?

Every year we buck the Norman Rockwell tradition and pile into one of our Priuses bound for our nearest Home Depot to pick out the freshest, tallest, cheapest evergreen tree we can possibly find. Inevitably rubbing shoulders with a few friends in the serpentine line, it is a seasonal sensory treat, even if it's not as picturesque as winter in Chagrin Falls or New York City.

Reid makes a beeline for the corner of the nearest corral, crouches down low and crawls into the crevice created beneath a pile of bound and bagged pines. That is sensory integration at its best; a squeeze machine and aromatherapy all rolled into one. He breathes frasier fir in sensurround. The needles surely prickle or scrape his face and hands; a little sap on the fingertips is free for the taking. The distinctive sounds of backing forklifts, buzzing chainsaws, and busy consumers ring in his ears until a familiar alarm goes off across the lot: "Reid, say 'here I am!"

"Here I am."


"Mom, I was hiding."

"I know you like to do that. Doesn't it smell so good?"

We load our tree into the hatchback along with armfuls of free boughs and breathe deeply the whole way home. All this--a rich, sensory diet--for way less than the going rate of an occupational therapist. I'll take it!