Saturday, May 29, 2010

Every Monday Matters

For awhile now, our family has been participating in a program at our church on Mondays.  Each week we participate in a special project designed to show God's love in simple ways.  We have gone to visit shut-ins, made cards for the military, participated in give-aways, and so forth.  For more information on Every Monday Matters check out the link here.

Because Crash thrives on consistency, some of these projects can be a bit daunting for both of us.  Nothing is ever the same week to week except his mom and brother are also present.  Add to this, some of the social skills that are taxed while participating and if I am not careful, we could end up with a complete meltdown.

I have to say however, most of the time Crash has done VERY well.  We use social stories, scripts, and rehearsal the week leading up to the project.  I set very clear expectations for behavior as well as for what to say.  Crash always has the option to sit and watch or participate and either choice is perfectly acceptable.

This past Monday was a little different. We went to a local nursing home to share some of our favorite children's books with the residents.   We spent the week talking about expectations as well as some of the sights and sounds we would encounter.  We talked about different disabilities.  We talked about loving people regardless of the disability.  We also talked about the medical equipment and how it may seem scary at first but it was just there to help. 

Crash was excited to go.  But as soon as we got in the gathering room, I could tell things were about to go down hill.  He hid behind me and refused to come out.  Not that this is a problem, because he always has the option to watch.  After a couple minutes, he started crying.  I gave him the option to sit next to me or in a chair at the outside of the group while I read a book to one of the residents.  In the middle of the story I hear "I DON"T LIKE THEM!,"followed by very loud crying.  

Uh Oh...

Crash and I excuse ourselves from the room and head outside.  We reviewed our social stories, and then I asked him what was wrong.  He repeated, "I don't like them."  I asked why, but he couldn't answer.

I find humor a good way to help Crash recover quickly from a meltdown, so I asked...

"Did someone bite you?"

Crash: NO!

"Did someone hit you?"

Crash: No.

"Did someone spill their food all over you.?

Crash: No (small smile)

"I know, someone must have eaten your book?"

Crash: laughing No.

"Then what's wrong?

Crash: It stinks in there.

Ahhh...we had prepared for the sights, sounds, behavior, etc...but the smell...opps.  Missed one.

So I reviewed the social story about differences only I added in, some people may smell.  Even if they are smelly, we can still read books to them.  We are here to show God's love and God loves smelly people too.

Crash didn't buy into this 100%, but he was able to come back in the room and sit on my lap while we read one more book before leaving. 

Even though we had a small meltdown, this was a wonderful experience.  Crash was able to recover from a meltdown with only a little deep pressure hugs and social stories.  We will be going back to read again in a few weeks.  We will have to wait and see how that one goes.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Crash would like to introduce his new baby sister...

The social story I never posted was all about the day the baby would be born.  I am happy to report that it worked wonderfully.  Crash knew what to expect and what was expected out of him.  He knew he had to stay with someone else and he did a beautiful job.  Too bad I didn't write a social story for the day after the baby is born.  Today was a little rougher, but he made it through.  Now off to re-establishing some type of routine and getting back to "normal".

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Book Review- Sensitive Sam

Sensitive Sam by Marla Roth-Fisch

I found this book the other day in the Children's Department of our local library.  I was so excited to find out that a book all about sensory processing disorder  had made it to a small town library and was simple enough for even a child to read.

Sensitive Sam is a story about a young boy dealing with the sensory challenges of everyday life.  It was the winner of Creative Child Magazine's Book of the year in 2009, and does a nice job simply explaining a variety of sensory challenges and providing a brief look into strategies such as a sensory diet and occupational therapy.   

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Pressure Washer High

The neurological system is strange and mysterious thing...

Some days Crash's sensory system can be all over the place in unpredictable ways.  Today was no exception.  A child that usually doesn't care for loud noises and tries to avoid them was just the opposite today. 

We had to pressure wash the deck.  It was in the 50's and sunny, so why not...I figured Crash would play out front to avoid the situation, but instead he was so overstimulated by the noise that he was literally bouncing off the trees.  Now add in the freezing cold water and he is just laughing hysterically and running around like a crazy man oblivious to the wet clothing, mud, and freezing cold.  I think the sensory system is on overload.  Granted there is no meltdown, screaming and crying....

However, what do you think the afternoon looked like following this little adventure into hyper alerting the senses?  You guessed it....It wasn't pretty.  Crash was seeking deep pressure and driving his brother nuts as he really couldn't control his body. 

We worked hard this afternoon at providing calming activities.  After dinner we followed our typical routine of bath and stories.  I was pretty confident we were returning to a more even neurological state. 

Then came the tears...I was in the other room and I though Crash had seriously gotten hurt (like needing to go to the emergency room).  Come to find out, while playing outside with his brother this afternoon, he feel off his scooter and cut his hand (hours ago).  Nothing new happened to re-injure the hand, I think his brain had just registered the pain.  Poor guy was hysterical (again). 

Not that I want to see Crash upset, but he worked himself up so much he feel asleep.  And that was the end of our adventure through the strange and mysterious neurological system for the day.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Social Story...

Well, this isn't the social story I planned to write today, but it was successful and resulted in a very positive family experience...

I realized this am that we have church directory pictures today (short notice I know), and  I have two choices.  Let Crash wear whatever he wants and know that he will be happy, or push the clothing issue. 

I was feeling brave.  Knowing that this picture will be around in everyone's homes for the next few years also served as a little bit of motivation. 

So, I used some  should you say quick thinking...

Our conversation went a little like this:
Mommy: Crash today after your brother gets home we are going to go to church to have our picture taken.

Crash: Ok.

Mommy: Everyone is going to wear brown pants.

Crash: Soft pants?

Mommy: No, brown pants (shows Crash the pants)

Crash: Screaming, crying, and flopping around on the floor.

Mommy: What's wrong?

Crash: I don't like the pants (screaming and crying continue).

Mommy: Did I say you had to put them on right now?

Crash: (still screaming) Nooooo!.

Mommy:  Then why are you screaming?

Crash:  I don't like the pants.

Mommy: Do you have to put them on right now?

Crash: (screaming stops) No.

Mommy: Ok, so listen to this,  IF you wear your brown pants for the picture, then you can get french fries when you are done.

Crash: (starts to get upset)

Mommy:  It's your choice.  You can wear soft pants to church and change at church if you like.    All I am asking is for the few minutes we take the picture you wear brown pants.  Then you can change again.  And we will leave right away for fries. 

Crash: Ok. 

So, we review this story through out the day and Crash can tell it perfectly.  We get to church and he changes without hassle.  FIRST TIME EVER IN KHAKIS!! 

What I neglected to say was how long he had to wait to take his pants off at the end.  The photographer said we were done, and there went the pants...

I asked Crash how the pants felt and he said bumpy.  I said is bumpy ok?  His response, maybe for a picture, but I need soft pants. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Aghhhh...I can't find Boardmaker!

If you haven't heard of Boardmaker, it has been a lifesaver, or at least a time saver around our house these past few years.  Bookmaker is a software program (shhh...that I picked up on ebay) that uses simple picture drawings (black and white or color) to represent words.  I am sure there are a variety of programs out there that do this, so I am not recommending one over another, this is just the one I am used to.

We first began using Boardmaker when Crash was less than a year old.  He was screaming constantly and I could never figure out what he wanted.  Even a baby knows what he wants....We started by using a few pictures of his favorite things.  We taught him to give us the picture and we would give him the item.  This was the first real type of communication we were able to have with Crash and it really did reduce the screaming and taught Crash how to be an intentional communicator.

Although we no longer use the picture symbols for communication, we do use them frequently in social stories now.  We have been telling Crash a specific social story for a week now, and this am I wanted to put it on paper.  But...

I have looked every where.  I remember kicking the cd under my bed so it would get stepped on...but after that I have no clue.  Serves me right for thinking i could kick something under my bed to keep it safe.

Stay tuned...I will post the story as soon as I find the cd.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

SPD Blogger Network

Recently I have discovered the SPD Blogger Network.  This network was created by Hartley Steiner who blogs at Hartley's Life With 3 Boys and you can read more about this amazing mom and advocate for children with special needs here

The SPD Blogger Network was created to link people blogging about Sensory Processing Disorder in an effort to increase awareness and bring help to families and children with SPD. 

There is a wealth of information about sensory processing disorder as well as personal experiences, stories, and other resources available.  If you have time, check it out.  If you are currently blogging about sensory processing, these is also a link on the network to become a member


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Advantages of an hypersensitive sensory system

All to often, I find myself trying to help Crash adjust to the environment around him, and neglect to take time to appreciate some of the very special gifts he possesses just being Crash.

Did you know he can tell a train is coming before anyone else?  For a little boy who loves trains, this is an awesome gift.  Those hypersensitive ears sure come in handy.

Did you know he can spot a hawk in a tree so far away it shouldn't be humanly possible to see it?  Sure comes in handy when playing "I spy" on long car rides.

Did you know he can smell specific ingredients as I am beginning to cook that not even I am aware of and comes running to help?

Did you know he notices all the details?  He notices right away if you are wearing something new and will compliment you on it.  Even if it is something small like a pair of earrings. 

These little things make him so special.  It's easy to see how a sensory system on high alert can easily get overwhelmed.  But it sure makes you step back in awe for a few moments, when it has not reached that over-aroused state, to think how amazing it must be to see, feel, smell, taste and touch with such intensity.

And then back to reality...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

A one minute dinner conversation...

I wish I could figure out how his mind works and how it gets from point A to point X in 2 seconds...

Crash: I am glad I am not salt or I would itch all the time.

A few seconds later...

Crash: When I grow up I want to be a fawn so no one can recognize me.

A few seconds later...

Crash: You know mom a pteranodon is the smartest dinosaur.  I am glad I didn't know a pteranodon. 

Wow, my head is spinning...