During the summer holiday we have also scheduled the forest walking among so many outside other activities and programs. Stony loves forest very much, so we have taken lot’s of his playmobil figurines and set in a a nice place in the middle of the forest.
After half an hour I have realised Stony is getting somehow frustrated kind of falling out of himself ( as I call this phenomena) he was getting very shady and confused.
I started to play with him and with his figurines next to a tree with the intention to drag him out of the state he was visibly slipping in when he suddenly in a very irritated way was shooing off a mosquito and asked me in a distraught way: Mum did you see this bug? where is it?
He was horrified and very annoyed, was chasing the bug, and was spying all his body for a bug. Than it has become clear a sensory issue again!
This is likely related to an over-responsive tactile system as well as difficulty with self-regulation. When the nervous system is on the brink of fight of flight, unexpected light touch can be overwhelming. Also due to the fact the bugs can unexpectedly bite, tickle, or cause a pain response in an unpredictable fashion, one might expect a fearful response. This can also be related to sensory modulation difficulties.
Some ideas to help:
- Respect this fear as real.
- Encourage deep breathing during a bug encounter.
- Allow the child remove him/herself briefly from the environment to come back to ready state.
- Talking the child through the situation will likely not help since he/she is in a fight or flight mode.
- When the child is in a ready state and regulated of mind, read books about bugs with him/her and playfully observe non-threatening bugs such as ladybirds and butterflies.
- Encourage tactile based play with different textures, both wet and dry, with full body play if possible.
- When you go for an excursion you can give long sleeved shirt to your child.
Bugs cause fear, see behind…