Soothing Sammy for Children with Special Needs

Hello! 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 teach children with sensory and speech needs how to process their emotions.

There are a lot of products out there that teach adults how to help children calm down, but I couldn't find anything that taught our kids this skill - in a way that is easy for them to identify with and understand.

That's when I decided to write my first children's book called "Soothing Sammy." I wanted to teach children how to independently take charge of their feelings.

Soothing Sammy is a golden retriever (the main character of this program).

The colorful photos and simple story is perfect for toddlers, preschoolers and elementary aged children. In the story, children who are upset visit Sammy, a golden retriever, at his dog house. Sammy shows his friends, how to calm down with items he has in his home. The items Sammy uses resemble typical household items (including a child's cup, a washcloth, a crunchy snack, a picture and more). Once calm, Sammy and his human friends ask the children questions to help them identify their feelings, find out why they are mad, and develop a solution to the problem.  Using these sensory-rich calm-down strategies, your child will learn:

  • How to process emotions.
  • How to communicate feelings.
  • How to problem-solve.
  • How to use their sensory system to calm down

Sammy teaches children how to regulate their bodies and emotions using auditory, visual, tactile, gustatory (taste), olfactory (smell), vestibular and proprioceptive) senses!

Why Soothing Sammy?

1. Tangible Tool:

The program comes with a stuffed animal/plush toy of Sammy who is almost one foot long (machine washable and is safe for children ages 2 years old and up.) Follow the directions to build a house for Sammy (the stuffed animal) to live in and place the same common household items into it as described in the children's book. 

Now you have a real "Sammy house" that you can give to your child when they need to calm down, encouraging them to use the items in the "house" the same way the children did in the book!

2. Visual Components:

The simple pictures, colorful children's book and loveable stuffed animal is a visual reminder for children, prompting them to work through their emotions using the sensory techniques they learned in the book.

Once your child is able to talk, there is a section in the children's book that encourages children to communicate their feelings by identifying why they were feeling overwhelmed and learn how to prevent it from happening again.

Show the Sammy post-card (included) to or show your child when they are upset, reminding them Soothing Sammy is available to help.

To support a child with a speech delay (either expressive or receptive), take some photos of the items you are going to place in your Sammy house. Allow your child to request an object by pointing to it.

Having a choice board on hand may help them in instances where your child is feeling frustrated. Place two or three photos of calming items onto a choice board will help your child feel less overwhelmed when choosing a calming item. Here is a site with some ideas on how to make your own choice boards.

Don't underestimate the power of "Real Pictures!" Take pictures of your child using the items to calm down. Look at themselves using the items reinforces how helpful they are to them! You may want to place these pictures in Sammy's house!

Who is this for?

The Sammy program has been use by parents of children with a variety of developmental delays, children with an autism diagnosis and also used with typically developing children ages 2 through 11 years old.

I hope program brings your family simple solutions to overwhelming situations. I am happy to talk more about Sammy and help you decide if this program 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. :)  - Jennilyn
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. - Heidi