Monday, June 28, 2010

Sensory Seeking Fun!

Imagine getting out of the car and throwing your body down as fast as your feet can carry you down a huge sand dune, and then repeatedly climbing up it to do it all over again. 

Listen...all you can hear is the crashing of the waves drowning out the noise from every day life.

Grab a bucket and head for the water.  Carry bucket load after bucket load of water back to the sand castle.

Head for the water.  Jump over the waves as they roll in.  Wade in a little rather and let the waves crash against your body.  Imagine how your body feels with that kind of input!

Someone was as close to heaven as he can get here on earth tonight.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Thinking Inside the Box

Crash is a bundle of energy.  He is always moving, jumping, spinning, rocking, name it and he has probably done it within the last hour.  Even when he is calm and watching a movie, or looking at books he is moving.  His favorite position on the couch is upside down crashing his feet into the back of the sofa. 

There is nothing wrong with movement.  We try to incorporate as much of it as possible into our day.  However, Crash also loves small confined spaces.  He will crawl inside a box, shut out the light and be totally calm and relaxed.  He even says he LOVES boxes because they are so cozy. 

I am wondering if this cozy calm feeling would transfer to a directed activity, or if it only works when it is Crash's idea.  What would happen if we read books in the box?  A part of me wants to try to sleep in the box, but I dislike creating routines that I know I will have to break.  I can't imagine a college kid bringing his box into the dorm room.  But, it does give me some ideas.  How can I make his bed more like a box?  How can I give him that safe "cozy" feeling in his own bed?  He shares a bedroom with his brother and is on the bottom bunk.  Maybe that could become the box?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Hair Rasing Tale

...or not.

Crash has never been a big fan of hair cuts.  He has about a million reasons why he refuses to get it cut, hence the bushy out of control curly (kind of cute and adorable) mop a top his head.  Lately he has been convinced that the ONLY place he can have his hair cut is a little shop 4 hours away from our house that lets you watch Thomas the Train movies while they cut your hair.  We have tried some places closer to home and meltdowns have resulted.  Too noisy, too name it. 

I am not about to let a 4 yr old dictate where he will get his hair cut, so you have probably guessed it...this is the only place he will NOT be getting his hair cut.

This past week were were visiting family, and there is this wonderful barbershop in downtown Beloit, WI called Austin's Barber Shop.  We used to take our oldest son there when we lived in the area.  Rod, the barber is amazing!  Not only does he do a fantastic job with hair, but he is wonderful with children.

Crash was a little hesistant at first, so he played with some of the Thomas trains and watched someone else get their hair cut.  Then, Rod invited him to sit in the airplane seat.  He allowed him to climb up all by himself and never once touched him.  He then snuggly fastened him in with a seat belt, only after asking him if it was ok to do so.

This airplane seat became a sensory seekers dream seat.  There were pedals to push (great proprioceptive input), tailspins to complete (vestibular input), and a steering wheel to figit with (tactile input).  You would think with so much going on, it would be impossible for someone to cut your hair.

But, Rod is amazing.  He lets the kids wiggle and squirm and have fun.  He jokes with them, and completely distracts them from what is going on.  He only has one rule.  When he says have to freeze so he can do a tricky part of the hair cut. 

I know I couldn't cut someone's hair and have it look even half way like it should with some much fun going on.  Like I said Rod is amazing.  It's just to bad he lives so far away.  At least I was able to find a different spot to get Crash's hair cut.  Now to find someone closer to home.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Swimming Pool Etiquette

Crash rarely has the opportunity to go to the park or swimming with out his older brother, but today visiting Grandpa was the exception.  His security blanket and model was off visiting other people and Crash was flying solo.  Although he was still very happy to be at the park, he struggled without having his brother around to imitate.

Today, Crash had no idea what to do at the pool.  He bounced in circles and was willing to go near other children, but never interacted with them.  He desperately wanted to go on the slides.  He would walk in circles around the slide and even get in line to go down the slide, but he couldn't figure out the social etiquette to actually wait in the line and take a turn.

Lucky for Crash, grandpa came in to the rescue.  He held his hand in line and waited with him to take a turn.  Then we talked about how to wait in line and when it would be his turn.  A quick little social story, and Crash was able to go up to the slide a couple more times that afternoon.  He was just having too much fun playing with his new found playmate...grandpa.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Day 2

Baby Steps...

So we have begun to focus on the bedtime routine as our first step in transitioning into a summer routine in hopes that a well rested child will make changing the rest of the daily routine easier. 

What changes have we made?

I was not willing to give up the early bedtime.  Crash goes to bed between 6 and 6:30.  I need him to go to bed then because I need a break and he is an early riser no matter what time he goes to bed.  I however was willing to give up 15 minutes so, his new bedtime is 6:45 (not that he is aware of that..that would lead to some battles over the clock that I am not willing to get into).

So, what else has changed?

We begin the bedtime routine after dinner (about 5:15).  We close all the shades to the house and dim the lights.  We are trying to talk in a very quiet tone.  Crash is the first to take a bath.  The lights in the bathroom are dimmed and the fan turned off.  (The fan, for Crash is a very alerting sound, and is not productive in a bedtime routine.  I have put lavender into his bath (no idea if this actually does anything, but I feel like I am making an effort).   I leave Crash in the bathroom as long as he likes to wind down.

We added "brown noise" (seems a little more soothing than white) in his room, so when he finishes his bath routine, we read stories quietly in a low lit room until 6:45.

Finally, we added an incentive chart for staying in his room and playing or reading quietly until he falls asleep. 

After 2 days, this part of the routine is working wonderfully.  However, he is still not staying in his room all I think that will be the next area to address.  This has always been a constant issue for Crash.  We will not let him sleep in our bed, but he can sleep on the floor in our room as a compromise.  I think this summer we will try to extinguish that behavior.  Any ideas on a replacement behavior??  Or way to go about changing this?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Hide and Go... Tackle

I think it is time to review the rules to this beloved children's game.  As I am sitting in the front yard watching Crash a couple houses down playing with the neighbors, I start to get a little nervous.  I hear someone announce let's play Hide and Go Seek.  I refrain from getting up to go supervise a little closer to the action.  It's about time for Crash to work things out on his own....I hope.

Someone counts and everyone else goes to hide.  Pretty typical...and then I see Crash. He is laughing and having the time of his life tackling everyone that goes by.

They are playing on the grass and remarkably no one even says a word and no one gets hurt.  After a couple minutes though I couldn't stand it any longer.  I had to go down and ruin the fun.  It was that or let Crash escalate so much that the tackles would start getting a bit more physical. 

I announce that his help is needed at home and he has one minute to finish up before coming home.  Luckily, this advance notice worked, and he happily came home.  Now, it's time for a little story about Hide and Go Seek.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Seasons Change

Seasons change, it's a fact.  And, living in the midwest, it happens quite frequently.   I think right now,  I may be one of a small group of people that is not happy to see winter go and summer arrive.  Although in a few more months, I will be one of millions that is not happy for summer to leave as winter approaches once again.

I always talk about Crash being resistant to change and thriving with a predictable routine, but I never mention how much  I enjoy it as well.  Once we have established a good thing, I have no problem sticking with it, and rather like the predictability it adds into our family routine. 

But, there is only one more day of school and the dreaded change in routine will be upon us.  We had a small glimpse into this unhappy occurrence over the holiday weekend.  Many of you are way ahead of me on this one.  I have read many blogs recently on how everyone is adapting to the summer routine, and I guess I have just burried my head in the sand.  If I do not think about won't come...right??

Well, after surviving Memorial Day weekend, my head is no longer in the sand.  I have come to many conclusions, but not a lot of answers...yet...

What I do know is...

Crash can not play outside all day long.  He needs downtime through out the day.   Deep pressure, calm activities, etc to help him stay regulated. 

Crash would benifit from some white noise or something similar in his room to help drown out the environmental sounds at night. 

Crash would also benefit from some room darkening shades or a tent on his bed to block out some of the light. 

Crash needs a better bed time routine.  We need to begin to wind down earlier.  we have been relying on melatonin way too much.  There has to be a better routine to get ready for bed.  A bath and stories isn't enough right now. 

So it's off to the drawing board.  I think if we can get the nighttime stuff in place everything else will come easier.  Crash is always more regulated when he sleeps am I.