Monday, March 19, 2012

She's so SENSORY Part 2

Why is she wearing those headphones? Well, because there is research that shows that
theraputic "listening therapy" can help kids who have different "needs" -such as Keifer's needs with her attention and "need to control" things. (the hot pink tape is just special for helping keep the headphones on her head!)

I'll explain the pictures: 1) swinging helps my girl calm her system and find a place of "calmness". The rope 2)- works on her upper body strength, which in turn gives her core strength, which in turn, allows her to feel more confident and secure about her own body (because stronger = more grounded). 3) The mouth blower if for regulation. It has been proven that blowing (like bubbles or on special blowers or noisemakers) can WORK your lungs out, which in turn causes your system to WORK HARD and in turn, calm down. Make sense?
So yes, our girl received OT Sensory Integration for 1 full year. What finally prompted me to get help? One, I work(ed) with a fabulous OT through my school district who helped cue me into Keifer's needs- in a way that most people aren't even AWARE OF. Two, I was DONE with dealing with things like this:

Children with sensory processing disorder have difficulty with:
• Managing anxiety
• Handling high stress situations
• Dealing with frustration
• Staying on tasks to finishing point
• Effectively using fine and gross motor skills

Dealing with Keifer on a day to day level is hard. She wants your full -on attention all.the.time. I joke about how she has an "umbilical cord" attached to me - but the girl has stress and anxiety like she SHOULDN'T! We are a "safe" "happy" family, you know?

When comparing children’s sensory processing problems with coping abilities, the sensory processing problems were mostly related to the child’s difficulty with their ability to:
• Handle new situations
• Change plans / transition
• Appropriately learn new situations
• Understand independence and dependence
• Use self-defense successfully
• Have an proper activity level
• Control impulses

It came to light when things like this happen(ed): refusals to cut her nails (toes or fingers), refusals for me to even comb her hair, refusals for me to help her do things, her insisting that ,when we took the dogs for walks, we had to do the SAME LOOP every time. On that same loop of a walk, we had to go visit a certain child. If said child wasn't home, melt-downs ensued. There was always NEGOTIATION with her. We've never NOT been able to negotiate moving ahead with our day with Keifer in the house. It also happened at the library: we had our "routine" at the library- and if we didn't 1) push her in a stroller around the edges of the library or 2) let her push a cart, she would have full-on meltdowns. To the point that people would ask me if I needed help. Adding Kyla to the mix only raised MY anxiety with her, and I (to other people ) were told that I "looked" like I was handling it OK. Not inside!

I got the help for Keifer and within months, she was making progress. THe poor girl had a LOT of gravitational insecurity-which was hard to see until you tried to press her into climbing way high without her feet on the ground. I'm so proud to say that by the end she was able to climb like a monkey with no help within lycra "blankets" up high above the ground. I've also found rubbing her feet or rubbing lotion on her arms and legs helps calm her down. It's kind of cute- in a way- when I rub sunscreen on her, she says "rub harder, mommy!". She's now taken MY PLACE on the couch with her feet in her daddy's lap- I don't get my feet rubbed anymore! And- walking by an Asian massage place at the mall, she begged me for a back rub! LOL. I told her for her birthday, we'd get her a massage and she is SO excited to do that! This is the same reason she LOVES to get adjusted at the chiropractor- the pressure! She told the neighbor girl getting an adjustment is like "getting your body massaged!".

I often wondered, did she have another "disability", if you will? Like this:
Sensory processing disorder is often associated with other diagnoses such as:
• Pervasive developmental disorder/ autism spectrum
• Learning disabilities/ attention deficit disorder
• Language disorders
• Behavioral disorders
• Anxiety disorder/ depression

I've come to terms with, most likely, she has some sorts of anxiety and depression, and I think (!) some possibly ADHD or something. She cannot stop. We actually went to counseling last summer for the WHOLE summer plus some time in the Fall - to a fabulous, loving, amazing counselor about her anxieties. We also went because we can't get Keifer out of our bed. IT's turned into her not able to go to bed without me. Do this for over a year, and one will see breakdowns occur. However, after some time with our amazing therapist, it came to light that she is a smart, loving, VERY SOCIAL child and although at first, our therapist thought K1 had anxiety disorders- by the end, she thinks it's more behavioral with underlying issues. The thing with Keifer - you could bribe her or promise the moon to her- but she won't "give in" and promise to do anything unless she really believes she can. Books, bribes, etc. you name it, we've tried it. And I've given into the fact that we all sleep better if she's able to be with me right now. We have come a long way from her screaming outside the shower door as I shower at 6AM because she didn't want me to leave her alone in the bed.

And yes, we got her new bunk bed for her NEW BEDROOM in our new house, that she loves to show off. Daddy gets to enjoy that sleeping room!

So there you have it- so much more to say, but so little time. Let me know if you have any questions or comments, I'm always open and ready to talk! I've found this blog explains a lot of "techniques" that we use at home (and my work) for kids with SID.

This is an example of the lycra blankets that Keifer loved to crawl around in at therapy. Initially, she freaked out if her feet were off the ground - by the end, she was crawling around in there like it was no problem at all!

1 comment:

Jamie said...

This is really interesting. Thank you for sharing about Keifer's sensory issues with all of us. I am glad that you are finding solutions and I hope things continue to improve!


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