Sammy for Children with Special Needs
My name is Jeana and I am the author and creator of Soothing Sammy. I have worked with children with a wide range of developmental delays for 10 years and currently work in Early Intervention. I know how hard it is to support children with sensory and speech needs, while they are trying to process their emotions.
Using sensory strategies helps everyone (even adults) decompress when feeling overwhelmed. There are a lot of products out there that teach adults how to help children calm down, but I couldn't find exactly what I wanted when trying to help kids learn this skill - in a way that spoke to them, helping them independently take charge of their feelings. That's when I decided to write my first children's book called "Soothing Sammy."
Soothing Sammy is a golden retriever that children visit when they are upset. Throughout the book, children visit Sammy's house. Sammy gives children different items which directly affect their sensory system, helping them regulate their bodies and emotions. At the end of the book, there are four pages that describe all of the sensory components addressed by the items in Sammy's house (this includes auditory, visual, tactile, gustatory (taste), olfactory (smell), vestibular and proprioceptive) and which objects address each component!
The set comes with a stuffed animal/plush toy of Sammy who is almost a feet long (machine washable and is safe for children ages 2 years old and up) and an 80 page parent guide describing how to use Sammy and the book with your children in a variety of situations. This set includes directions on how to build a house for Sammy (the stuffed animal) to live in and what household items you can place in the "house" that kids can be redirected to when they need to self-soothe.
My hope is that this book and stuffed animal will be a visual reminder for children, prompting them to work through their emotions. Once they are verbal, there is also a section in Sammy's book that helps children work through identifying why they were feeling overwhelmed and how to prevent it from happening again.
This set comes with a post-card with a photo of Sammy to place around your home. When your child is upset, hand to or show your child this postcard. This will remind them Soothing Sammy is available to help, without the adult having to "talk to them" while they are mad.
To support your child with a speech delay (either expressive or receptive), take some photos of the items you are going to place in the Sammy House. Allow your child to point to these objects if they are unable to request what they want. Having a choice board may also help them in instances where they are feeling frustrated. Placing two or three photos of calming items in a choice board will help them feel less overwhelmed. Here is a site with some ideas on how to make your own choice boards.
Don't underestimate the power of "Real Pictures". Pictures of your child completing the calming activities! Watching themselves using the items reinforces how they feel when they are using them. You may want to place these pictures in Sammy's house!
The set has been use by parents of children with developmental delays, children with autism and typically developing children ages 2 through 11 years old. I hope that this may help you with your child and bring some simple solutions to overwhelming situations. I am happy to talk more about Sammy and help you decide if the set is appropriate for your family.
For more information, and purchasing options, please visit the About Soothing Sammy Page.
Reviews from parents of children with developmental delays:
Soothing Sammy has been great for our family, especially my son with Autism.
I purchased Soothing Sammy to start working with my (almost) 3-year-old on identifying emotions and learning to soothe. My son was diagnosed with Autism a year ago, and we have to be very intentional when it comes to things like communication and his emotional needs. I had no idea that my 6-year-old would love Sammy so much too.
Sammy is super soft which gives them that lovely sensory input they both need. When my son is upset we go grab Sammy and he holds him. Sometimes, we read him the story too. Last week, my son said "Parker sad!" when I was struggling to understand what he was asking for. His ability to communicate that feeling is a huge breakthrough for us.
I just wished I had ordered two so they wouldn't fight over him so much. :)
Excited for Sammy - for my son with Sensory needs.
I order Sammy for my 7 year old son who sometimes gets angry and has a hard time controlling his emotions. Sammy arrived today and he was very excited to see what he was about. We read the book together and have already talk about how he was going to decorate his home. I am hopeful that this is going to be a great teaching tool for him and that Sammy is going to become a big part of helping him control his emotions. We are very excited to but these new teaching tools into our everyday lives. Sammy is super cute and the book is at a reading level that young children can read on there own.