Thursday, May 9, 2013

Small Miracles

What a difference!!

Aiden has begun his occupational therapy (OT) after weeks and weeks of being wait-listed. After all the insurance drama and prescription debauchery, it was so worth the wait. Miss Jackie (the OT) will be taking Miss Jo's place since Aiden is done with speech therapy and she is an awesome fit.

We talked for about an hour about the things that bother Aiden and what his teachers see as "problem areas," and she listened and took notes and came back with good, solid answers.

Everything about Aiden tells her that he is a "sensory kid." His issues have to do with his Kinesthetic Sensory System and his Vestibular Senses.

The Kinesthetic System is what "grounds" your body - you know you are standing on the floor, supported by the foundation which sits firmly in the ground. You are aware of the location of your limbs/extremities and you can feel the space around you. For Aiden, these sensory receptors are slow or interrupted (between the shoulders and other major joints, and the brain) so he is unaware of what space his body is in, how much room he has to move or stop moving - thus he plows over and through things without a second thought to get to where he wants to go.

The Vestibular System  is managed by the inner ear and fluid inside of it. This is less of a problem for Aiden, as he often "crashes" on purpose because of the jolt it gives his Kinesthetic receptors - not because he can't balance. However, this particular system explains a lot about this kid. Why the car in the street sounds as loud as the game in his hand, as loud as the dishwasher in the other room, as loud as the thunder outside, etc. It's all loud, all the time. He actually calls it fast - this is intentional. All of the noise input makes his mind race and he gets confused and disoriented. It also explains why he doesn't like showers or getting his head wet - those sensations further exacerbate the input he is getting an overload of.

Once we talked about what's going on with Aiden, we talked about ways to help calm him down. Jackie brought a bag full of sensory objects to touch and feel and we founds somethings that Aiden could wrap around his arms to help reset his Kinesthetic receptors.

We also practiced some things that we can physically do to help him - rhythmic pressure through his arms and legs to the shoulder and hip joints. Randalicious and I took turns practicing and by the time we had it down, Aiden was hypnotized. It was a miracle. And he loved it. He said it felt good, he was smiling. He was calm.

Jackie watched him work with some play-doh and asked about his hobbies and his puzzles and she was truly astonished by what he knows and can do - this leads me to worry a little toward the other end of the spectrum. Clearly he is a smart kid, but if he can't figure out how to literally settle himself he could potentially hate learning and get really frustrated by school.

For now though, I am happy that we are figuring out the little pieces - I think he is too.

He's had a really good week, playing with his kitty - who is dying to go out for walks now that the weather is better.

Going to the Aquarium.

He even found his Game-Boy - which I had given up for lost over a month ago!

And he is hard core sleeping at night.

It's the little things. It really is.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A-B-C, 1-2-3

Hi all!!!

Sorry for the lapse in updates! It's hard to write about Aiden when I spend most of my time chasing after, cleaning up behind and keeping up with him.

He is doing splendidly though! I may or may not have mentioned that he has finished his speech therapy and continues to speak more and more eloquently everyday. I get a lot of flack and funny looks when people hear the way we speak to each other - suggesting that I talk to him like an adult and should speak on his level...but he has grown to very clearly express himself and his emotions in the most beautiful way that I can't see any reason not to speak to him as though our vocabularies are equal.

He starts occupational therapy this week, so hopefully we can put that budding syntax of his to good use once he decides he wants to sit still!

Everything about him seems to be changing and growing so rapidly. After some long thought, I decided that his toddler bed was "dwarfing him" and that he could probably really benefit from a big boy bed - not just a bigger mattress but something that really made him feel like a big kid.

He is now the mayor of his very own twin-loft bed with a tent. And miraculously, he suddenly looks so small in the massive structure. Even just the size of the twin mattress makes him look so little.

Not only is he speaking like a big boy and sleeping like a big boy, he's working hard like a big boy too! As recent at 2 months ago he started counting all by himself to 30 - struggling with some of the teens and not really knowing what they look like, but trying really hard to understand.

So for the last week or so we have been doing the "numbers puzzle" before bed. It's 20 little 3-piece puzzles. Each puzzle has a number piece (i.e. 6), a picture piece (i.e. six puppies), and a word piece (i.e. s-i-x). So he lays them all out numbers first, 1-20.

Then I give him the picture pieces, one at a time and in random order - this way he has to count the pictures and find the matching number.

When we are all done, I read the word piece to him and he has to go back to his line up and find the digit that we are talking about.

Not only is he getting good at it, but he calls this "playing" and he wants to do it every night, uninterrupted by the TV! I freaking love this kid.

He's also getting really good with letters. He wanted to write the "B" on Aunt B's birthday card all by himself - though he got frustrated, he really wants to figure it out.

After introducing himself to strangers - not sure where he learned how to do that.... - the first question he asks is what letter their name starts with. Then, he asks for my phone so that he can make note of it:



So that's what we have been working on. He has a parent-teacher conference this week and then when May is over he'll start going to school 3 days a week (well, summer camp) and then Pre-K in the fall for 4 days a week.

Certainly growing up.