Thank you to Autism Speaks!

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Today’s gift:  Too many gifts to count!

A giant and heartfelt thank you to Autism Speaks for posting about my blog and my recent Huffington Post Parents piece.

I’ll be updating MSCSL this weekend so please check back.  Don’t forget to visit

Cheers, Laura


Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

In the past, Halloween has been a scary holiday for M.

Halloween can be very tough on sensory children, autism spectrum children and special needs kids in general.  (See my recent post on Parenthood’s episode about Max & Halloween).

Normally, as the day approaches his anxiety increases in anticipation of Halloween night but even more so of being “Boo-ed” (see below).   The combination of the doorbell ringing (auditory sensitivity) with the costumed trick or treat-er (unexpected) made M cling to me with all his might.

Like Pavlov’s dog, I’ve been conditioned to expect the same thing every year. I cringed when our doorbell rang at 7:30pm tonight –of course, we were greeted by a Boo Package and I braced myself for M’s reaction.

You have been BOO-ed!! Know that someone is thinking of you in a friendly way! 1. Enjoy your treat! 2. Place the BOO sign on your front door or visible window.  3. Within the next two days, make two copies of this note and two more BOO signs.  4. Make two treat bags or BOO baskets.  5. Secretly deliver to two neighbors without a BOO.  6.  Keep an eye on nearby front doors to see how far and fast it spreads by Halloween.

Instead of retreating in fear, M screamed with delight!

Being BOO-ed was the best part of our day and a gift.  So, we’re celebrating by eating the candy, giggling over guessing who left the cauldron and plotting our BOOs!

Clap-on! Clap-off!

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

Like all sensory children, M’s sensory needs continue to grow and change as he does.

For as long as I can remember, M has jumped and flapped his hands when he gets very excited (by a tv show, a song, a cool truck driving by, a favorite book).When we allow monitored tv time M gets very stimulated by his car and truck shows and is like a jumping bean.  He has always done this during tv time and we always remind him to calm his body.  We are lucky because from a young age M demonstrated that he instinctively knows how to calm himself and to use techniques to settle down.

Which brings me to The Clapper.

This morning I heard an unfamiliar sound when M was watching his favorite car race show.  It sounded like a small snap.  I decided to investigate and this is what I saw:  instead of jumping wildly and flapping his hands, M was standing and clapping when he saw a part he liked.  M’s O.T. and sensory team teach him to do peer appropriate behaviors whenever possible so that he fits in more with his classmates and also to calm his body.  The one skill they continue to teach M is to clap when he is excited instead of doing other behaviors like jumping and flapping (which can be very disruptive in the classroom setting).

I’m thrilled that M is self-regulating and using new skills–all by himself.  It’s been a tough week, but as I quietly moved away from the tv room this morning I couldn’t help but smile about today’s gift — secretly, I always loved The Clapper.

It’s Time To Celebrate!

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Dear Readers:

Thank you!

Today’s post is all about you.  Today we celebrate 100 posts! (Actually today is 102 but who is counting?!)

I started blogging on March 21 (“You can’t always get what you want…”).  So far my daily gifts have surprised me, delighted me, challenged me, humbled me and more than anything, inspired me to find the next gift.  And I hope you discovered a small gift for yourselves each day, too.

I’m equally thrilled and touched by your commitment to read My So-Called Sensory Life every day.  Knowing I can unwrap the day’s gift with my virtual friends is inspiring and pushes me to find my gift even on days when it feels impossible to find anything.

When 100 appeared in my blog tally, I knew I had to thank you.  Thank you for helping me create a special community, thank you for the kind, thoughtful comments (many of them were so generous they made me breathless) and for showing me that even though I don’t always get what I want everyday I do get what I need.

I hope you will join me as I unwrap for the next 265 days.



It’s A Small World

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Today my worlds collided: a dear friend (TOL) and another dear friend (and client) were in the same place at the same time.  Serendipity.

I’d believe that good karma mixed with a lot of positive energy and a dash of good luck changes the physical properties of the universe’s energy just enough to wow us sometimes.

Today was one of those days.

The day started with a blog comment that really moved me.  The spot-0n comment was written by a very remarkable woman who is a new author/a mother of a special needs child/a new friend/a deep inspiration.  Perhaps the best part about her is that our two worlds intersected because another incredible woman/friend/colleague/inspiration connected us.

It feels like someone sprinkled fairy dust and poof fantastic things began to happen.  I’m thankful that today was a magical gift day.


Saturday, June 26th, 2010


Recipe for Summer Fun

Ingredients: sprinkler, water, sun, grass, kids

Turn sprinkler on high.  Combine all other ingredients.  Mix well.  Allow adequate time to reach desired level of fun.

Optional: Popsicles after soaking and cooling.

One of summer’s pure pleasures: watching children play around a lawn sprinkler.   Does any other ordinary object generate as many screams or laughs?

I know it is old-school but I find sprinkler fun totally irresistible.  I grew up loving it.  And now  M and J love it. It’s a great outside activity and the combination of water, running and jumping — not to mention peer interaction– are perfect sensory activities for M.

With each drop of water comes the promise of a laugh or a scream or a shriek.  Every time a child feels a sprinkle, there is a moment of pure surprise followed by an uncontrollable giggle and then it all starts again when the sprinkler rotates back around.

I’m thankful that today’s gift is a box of summer memories.  The Images, smells, sounds, tastes combine in such a way that I feel like I’m the kid waiting patiently for her turn to run through the sprinkler.

Do you think the children or their parents will notice?

Fleece is the Word (sing to Frank Valli’s tune ‘Grease’)

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

Other than John Deere, M’s favorite thing in the world is fleece. I am surprised and delighted by the fact that fleece was invented in 1981 (information based on google research) and is one of the centerpieces of our life. Never say never!

For M, this love affair began with a gift from our beloved nanny J.  She gave him a fleece Lightening McQueen blanket in 2006 (when the movie Cars was in theaters) and it’s been a permanent part of his life ever since.

Most children with sensory processing disorder like M (as well as children on the autism spectrum), have a love/hate relationship with textures.  Some children need tactile input and this comes in many forms.  The wrong one can irritate, aggravate and turn a day upside down (like a tag in a shirt).  The right one–for M this is fleece for others a weighted blanket, for example–can make everything right in the world.

Picture this:  my cute boy snuggled in a fleece blanket in winter, spring, summer and fall.  M finds comfort and meets his sensory needs with fleece-y. (I’m sure my dedicated blog readers aren’t surprised by name fleece-y!)  Like Linus with his blue blanket, M cuddles and curls up with his blanket whenever he needs a fix and some calming security.  He uses her in the morning, after school, in the evening and he even brings her on trips.

Today, I’m not only thankful for fleece but am also a big fan.  Get your fleece on!

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

Every parent wants to give equal alone time to their children.  With a special needs child, it is always challenging to dole out the alone time the typical child needs.

This weekend, I had the opportunity to focus on my daughter during our visit to meet our new niece Miss M.

I am thankful that J and I had a great girls weekend from start to finish.  I loved letting her dictate our activities.  The best part: I didn’t have to time-share between the twins.  I belonged to J and our goal was to have fun.

The weekend went by in a flash.  I’m already planning our next one.  Soundtrack suggestions welcome!

The Everything Game

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

It all starts with “J, do you want to play a game?” or “M, do you want to play a game?”.

Today’s gift:  The Everything Game.  I think it may be a twin thing, but I can’t confirm that.  What I do know is that it is an all consuming imaginary game that J and M play often.  It is only for the two of them.  It usually involves all of their toys (from cars to dolls to books to instruments) and it can be played in different locations (bedroom, basement, outside, the car).

The game has it all:  drama, comedy, tragedy.   Sometimes there are different languages.  Sometimes there are different plots.  Many characters make appearances.  And best of all, the game never ends.

M and J connect very deeply when they play The Everything Game.  Their camaraderie and affection is beautiful to watch.  Secretly, I spy on the game when I know they aren’t looking.   The lessons of friendship and love are lifelong gifts that J gives to M.   And M gives to J.

In the land of The Everything Game, M and J are two peas in a pod and everything else fades away.

Mother’s Days

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Today’s gift:  M showed me how each day is a Mini-Mother’s Day.

At breakfast, M told me how much he loved me, showered me with some of his famous “Wet Ones” (kisses) and then looked deeply into my eyes and said I love you Mom.  He ended with a giant, big, tight hug around my middle and more kisses.  He would not let go.

I got goosebumps from this spontaneous display and felt an enormous wave of love and joy wash over me.  The next thing I knew,  I blurted out “Today’s my Mother’s Day M!!!!” and hugged him back.

Jumping up,  he proclaimed “Sunday is Mother’s Day, Mom and I am going to make you pancakes and french toast and bacon.”

Of course he is right about Sunday being the Official Mother’s Day, but I think the tiny, precious pieces of our day are the real Mother’s Day(s).