Monday, July 23, 2012

Beating the Summer Heat

Both Sophia and Olivia have sensory integration dysfunction (a.k.a. sensory processing disorder), and both are very sensitive to temperature - particularly high heat and humidity.

Needless to say, this summer has been particularly challenging with temperatures in the 90s and high humidity (in the mid-60s to 70s). There have been days that have felt like it is 105-118 degrees. Literally.

One of the ideas that I read for children who have difficulty with extreme heat is to put a bed sheet in the freezer. If the child gets to a point where her/his behavior and level of comfort is unbearable, taking the sheet out and wrapping them in it provides the security, comfort, and relief from the heat that they need.

After I read this, I thought, "Why not put their clothes in the freezer and then in a cooler (when we go out)? Then, when they start to feel drained or irritable, they can change into the clothes that have been in the freezer/cooler."

So, when they went to the county fair recently to enter their 4-H projects; and the temperature was in the 80s with high humidity (the heat index was well into the upper 90s), I noticed they were starting to get right on the edge of being able to tolerate the heat.

See those blank expressions on their faces and no smiles?
That's my first tip-off that they are having a difficult time
with some element (e.g., heat, too much noise, 
conflicting sensory elements, clothing is uncomfortable,
having difficulty understanding what the judges are saying 
because of having auditory processing issues).

I suggested they change their clothes, so they went to the bathroom and did that. Once they were changed into the "freezer clothes," it was like they had changed their personalities and their energy levels were recharged. 

They came out with smiles and with a level of enthusiasm that I hadn't seen since the morning in an air-conditioned home. It was unbelievable.

The girls standing by two of their projects:
Sophia did a poster on dissecting an owl pellet, and 
Olivia did a poster about musk ox.

Now, when we know we'll be outdoors and the heat may be overwhelming, we bring a spare change of clothes that have been cooling in the freezer. 


Nicole GF said...

Wow, I never knew such a thing.... is a great way to make sure that the girls still get to be active outside in the heat!

kt moxie said...

What a "cool" idea! I might have to try that myself!

Chef Penny said...

Fantastic idea! Thanks for sharing!

FrugalFoodieMama said...

That is a really neat idea! :) I would have never thought of that!

Sara said...

What a great idea! I've thought to put food in the freezer but never clothes - how simply genius!

I'm intrigued by this sensory disorder. Perhaps you can discuss it more in detail in future posts? It sounds fascinating.

Dorky Crystal said...

I've got to try this out for my kids. They are the same way.