Monday, March 29, 2010

Rule #10

Rule #10

New socks SUCK.

So, we have reached the end of a socks' life expectancy and the inevitable has to happen.  New socks arrive.  However, due to the ever present problem of childhood growth spurts, the old size for socks is no longer the current size of Crash's feet.  Not to mention the old brand is no longer carried at the store.  You see Crash is very specific on the type of sock he will wear.  It has to be "short" (below ankle cut), it has to have a minimal to non-existent seam for the toe, and it has to be tight fighting (so his foot feels like it is getting a hug when he puts it on).  Try explaining that to the clerk at the store.

I would love it if someone could do a study to find out just how many socks of this type actually exist, because I sure can show you all the ones that don't.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Enforcing Rule #9

Please refer to the earlier post for details on rule #9

This is a rule I must enforce on myself...Every 3 months or so I will go out an buy new socks.  BUT...

Crash has to try a few strategies first....
1. Go try another pair of socks and find a "softer" pair
2. If all else fails, turn the socks inside out until new socks arrive.

Very rarely, do I enforce a rule on myself.  But, I have to admit there is no feeling quite like new socks fresh out of the package.  You really can tell the difference and I am sure to Crash it is extremely irritating probably like sandpaper on his feet and that just isn't fair.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Rule # 9

Rule #9

Socks have a limited shelf life.

I am sure everyone abides by this common law of nature.  Once bleach can no longer whiten the fabric, or there are too many holes to sew socks inevitably bite the dust.  However, for Crash, perfectly white intact socks have already expired.  If I only knew their exact life expectancy life could get a whole lot easier.  Instead, this morning we had a bedroom floor littered with socks, none of which were acceptable to wear.  Too itchy, to scratchy, too name it, it could be found in the sock grave yard on the floor.

Stay tuned for the squeal..."New socks SUCK"

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Trouble Ahead

Early Morning Signs of Trouble Ahead...

Do you ever just wake up and know "it's going to be one of THOSE days."?  Maybe you missed your alarm and are running late, or are out of milk for your cereal, or maybe you work up with a headache.  Whatever IT is, you know it, and IT has the remarkable ability to forecast the rest of your day.

Well, it was one of THOSE days for Crash.  How do I know?  I am so glad you asked.  Here are some symptoms of Trouble Ahead.
  • Your T-shirts are too itchy, sweatshirts are too scratchy, the bottom of the shirt hurts your stomach
  • Your pants are too soft
  • Your socks are too little, the seams are too big
  • Your shoes can not be tied tight enough
So then what happens???  You some how manage to get dressed because nakedness is not acceptable, but does your day turn around?
  • Your bed sheets can't be made straight enough
  • Your toothbrush is not how you expected
  • Your bathroom fan is too loud
  • Your spot at the table has been occupied by someone else
  • Your cereal is too crunchy
  • Your toast causes you to gag
Yet you make it through breakfast because sustenance is vital to life, but does your day turn around?
  • Now you have to go to school...
What results?
A brave and strong 4 year-old reduced to tears crying in your arms.  Lucky for him....we have a entire arsenal to combat THOSE days.  Today we chose a little deep pressure (some great big whole body hugs) and some proprioceptive input (pushing against my arms and jumping) as well as the reassurance he will be picked up in 2 hours in the form of a social story about school, was enough to help him regulate himself and calm down enough to face the challenges of preschool head on.  By the time he got to school he was the beautiful happy little boy we know sitting down at the table to play with his friends.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Social Stories and Scripts

Today, our family did a service project at a local senior living complex.  Our task was to hand out carnations.  Seems pretty easy and non-threatening.  However, for a child who does not understand social situations very well, it could have been very alarming.  To make a long story short...Crash did a beautiful job!  I couldn't have been prouder of him.

So how did the impossible become possible?  A magic another child for the day....(tempting, but no.) 

A  social story with scripted language.

We started talking about the project a week ago, and turned it into a simple social story a little like this:
On Monday we will go visit some new people. 
We will bring some special flowers with us. 
When we get there we will use inside voices and walk. 
When we see someone, Crash can say "Would you like a flower?"
If the person says yes, Crash will give them a flower.
Then Crash will say "Have a good day."
If the person says no, Crash will keep the flower in the bucket and say "Have a good day."

Seems like a very silly story to tell a child, but it prepared him for the situation and set my expectations for his behavior.  Everything went according to the story and my seemingly shy little boy who normally avoids situations was participating along side his brother. 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Things that make you go Humm...

We have spent quite a while encouraging Crash to use words to describe feelings, objects, sensations ...Here are a few of our favorites:

1. I like the shower.  It feels like a gorilla is tickling me.

2. I want my cold blanket.
 (the comforter not flannel blanket)

3. I need the squishy shoes.
 (shoes with velcro that he can pull tight to squish his feet)

4. I want the soft shirt not the cold shirt.
(the flannel shirt not cotton shirt)

5. Where are my soft socks...the itchy ones?


Monday, March 8, 2010

Enforcing Rule #8

Please refer to the earlier post for details on rule #8

Crash has always struggled with the mechanical noise (a blender, vacuum, fan for example).  When he was younger he would scream at the top of his lungs and covered his ears when these daily sounds would occur in his presence. 

All though he has become desensitized to these sounds, his primal reaction still remains.  My house still needs to be cleaned, food still needs to be prepared, and humidity needs to exit the bathroom.  So what do we do?

In the case of the first two, we warn Crash ahead of time that the noise is going to occur.  With this advanced warning he is able to tolerate the auditory insult.  We used to have him pick a "safe spot" in the room that he would like to sit in before the noise began, but we no longer have to do this. 

In the case of the bathroom fan, I had just gotten lazy and forgot to turn it on for a while during bath time.  We warned him the next day that the fan would be on when he got to the bathroom.  He wasn't happy about it, and took the fastest bath in history, but tolerated the noise enough to complete his task.  He will still acknowledge his dislike of the sound but bath time has gradually been getting longer.  We acknowledge his dislike, and explain why it is necessary to run the fan. 

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Therapeutic Listening Program -Oh what do your Ears hear?

How can what you hear affect how you behave?  Specifically how can listening to music help increase attention or make positive changes in behavior?  Sounds a little like hocus pocus?  That's what I thought when I was first introduced to the concept.  I am not a doctor or professional trained in this area, but I can say for certain that there is scientific reasons behind this and you can read more about it here

What is listening?
"Listening is the process of detecting sound and organizing and integrating it for use with information from other senses."
What is Therapeutic Listening?
Therapeutic Listening (TL) is an expansion of Sensory Integration. It is an auditory intervention
that uses the organized sound patterns inherent in music to impact all levels of the nervous system.
Auditory information from Therapeutic Listening CDs provides direct input to both the vestibular
and the auditory portions of the vestibular-cochlear continuum. The emphasis of TL is on
blending sound intervention strategies with vestibulo-proprioceptive, core development, and
breath activities so as to sustain grounding and centering of the body and mind in space and time.
Providing these postural, movement, and respiratory activities as part of the TL program is critical

Crash started the Therapeutic Listening Program when he was 2 1/2 years old.  I was a little hesitant at first because I knew how much controversy surround the results of the program.  After attending a conference on Therapeutic Listening Program by Shelia Frick I knew I had to try it.    We found an Occupational therapist certified in the program and began the 30 min listening sessions 2 times a day.  We incorporated swinging, crashing, and a variety of other activities designed to increase core strength and respiration, and we did some some positive changes.
  • After each listening session he seemed calmer.  
  • He was able to attend and focus for longer periods of time while wearing headphones. 
  • His communication skills increased
  • He seemed to become more social with other children
  • He seemed less sensitive to tactile and auditory information
I believe these changes were a result of the program, but they may also have happen as a result of the activities we were doing in addition to listening.  I would never tell someone to invest in this program, but I would recommend researching it, and making an informed decision on if you believe it would be a benificial experience for your child and family.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Rule #8

Rule #8 Bath time is relaxing.

I am picturing candle light, bubbles, and quiet peaceful relaxation. Opps, this isn't a post about my picture perfect bath time.

This is Crash's definition of a relaxing bath time. In Crash's mind, yelling, screaming, splashing, banging, etc are not considered noise. It doesn't bother him in the slightest to be in the middle of World War 3 with his brother in the bath tub. However, turn on the bathroom fan and all of a sudden the most insulting bath time infraction has occurred. This, not World War 3, will leave him screaming for silence.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Where's the fever when you need it??

A little while back, I posted about the wonderful change in behavior when Crash has a fever. Not that I want him to be sick, but wow it's a nice change for our entire house. Well, Crash is sick again...

This time, its some type of head cold. Nothing serious, and no fever. The result, his head is pretty much disconnected from the rest of his body and one body part is seemingly unaware what another may or may not be doing at any given time, much to the dismay of his older brother. Higher functions like balance, coordination, and impulse control are pretty much disengaged. He seems to crave proprioceptive input and could be found all day in various locations throughout the house throwing himself off of something or flying across something. If he could sit still long enough I would love to throw his weighted blanket on him or squish him in some bean bags. Bedtime couldn't come fast enough today. Even during stories he is flying behind us crashing into the mattress. Hopefully the big daddy bear hug will help to calm him enough to fall asleep...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Calling All Sensory Seekers!

If you have never had a chance to observe an occupational therapist trained in sensory integration work with a child, I would highly recommend it. You are in for a real treat. From a child's perspective it is action packed fun and leaves their body feeling great and relaxed. A child can swing and crash and fill their body's with all different types of sensory information that is both exciting and calming wrapped into one. From a parent's perspective it can be a much anticipated hour that turns their child back into a "human being".

With this being said, therapy is expensive, and it only happens once or twice a week. Not 24/7. If you do the math, 99% of your child's week is spent in a state of relative sensory disorganization. I was not about to accept that percentage, it would lead to insanity and utter chaos in our home.

What did we do???

One idea was to create a sensory room in the basement.

We worked carefully with Crash's therapist and observed calming and exciting activities and created a sensory room in the basement. He can crash into bean bags, swing on swings, ride scooter boards, explore different tactile sensations and so forth as he needs to on a daily basis to help maintain an appropriate arousal level (in other words, to prevent or lessen the extreme fluctuation in mood and temper resulting in meltdowns and tears when situations become overwhelming).

This being said, this is a very carefully thought out plan. We started with very regimented activities to help Crash learn and understand some of the activities his body craved. If we were to let him go crazy in the room and do whatever he wanted, we would have ended up with a crazy outcome. It is important to incorporate specific activities that are calming into the mix in order to have a beneficial experiences.

Some alerting activities for crash included swinging and spinning. Some calming activities for Crash included deep pressure being squished under bean bags or crashing into bean bags as well as rhythmic music such as Native American drumming or chants.

In the beginning we would spend an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon working through these activities. A year later, he has come to understand the benefits of the activities and will seek them out as needed through out the day. At times with guidance and at times independently. We have also incorporated smaller forms of similar sensory activities throughout the house for him to seek out as needed, but that is a later post.