Friday, April 27, 2007

Water is our Friend!

A recent discussion with a school Psychologist has reminded me that summer is fast approaching...which means time for swimming.
The topic came up at Mr M's (14) IEP meeting. He asked about Mr M's recent announcement to teachers and friends...."I NEVER wash my hands!". Of course he's just not a 'desired' activity. I told him he needs to read Mr M's sensory profile to understand the scale of his sensory difficulties. The man said, 'well...he can't have a sensory issue with water if he can go to "insert friends name" pool and swim!'
I found year after year we go through a 'transition' of sorts every summer. His respite provider has a pool and so do some of his special friends. Every year Mr M is difficult about the water issues. It's not as much about getting in any more....but more about getting out! He goes into sensory overload when his skin feels 'dry or wrinkly' after being in water. Lotion must be readily available and he needs to be wrapped tightly in a blanket or towel until his system adjusts.
Bathing is pretty much the same....he still takes tub baths due to the fact that he thinks the showers 'sting'. As soon as he gets out...I towel dry quickly avoiding his hands at all costs. Handfuls of lotion gently massaged into his hands and he usually heads to his room to wrap up in his micro-suede quilt.
Neither of the boys do well with the hygiene issues....still working on these!
My thoughts come back to the pool and how he loves the pool (after a few sessions in the beginning of summer). I'm assuming this is because its a preferred activity? Even though we have complaints after it...he still enjoys it. Handwashing is done...but is not voluntary. Again...lotion must be ready to follow.
School was wondering if they can work on goals for advice...not without an OT input and careful planning. These kids have alot of issues at school to deal with (social navigation, bullies, food, academics etc). I'm not against this idea, but just cautious on how it is approached.
btw...when he did ceramics in art...he put plastic bags over his hands to mold his 'vase'. It's a real interesting peice! LOL! He said, "I wasn't going to touch that stuff!"
anyone share some insight on how to deal with sensory issues and water?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Glad we're into April!

Just thought I'd post a quicky of Mr R (age 17)...this is my middle son but the oldest still at home. This was taken about a month and a half ago? Blizzard on March 1st. He and Mr M had *according to Mr M* the GREATEST SNOW FIGHT IN HISTORY! On this photo, Mr R was 'explaining' the rules of snow engagement....Mr M's response...a snowball to the face. LOL! ahhh...brothers!

Off to appts today....thanks for the welcome to Blogger!

~DES~ guys in size are more like Laurel and Hardy. One weighs in at 230 and the other...90lbs. One loves food...other has food issues. Go figure!

Monday, April 23, 2007

'Fight or Flight' response

Mr R (age 17) is a junior in high school. We are at the point of working in conjunction with several Work Service programs as part of his Transitional Services. Overall, Mr R is doing fairly well in school in the last 2 years....before that...many, many issues. The one we can't seem to 'punch through'....his Fight or Flight response to stressors.

His dx includes Aspergers, Tourette Syndrome and Severe Anxiety. His typical response to anxiety or pressure now disrespect and foul language. On the positive side....its rare he bolts! Many, many days I spent chasing this kiddo....glad I had some track and field background to help with this. It's been about 5 months since he last took off on me.......and that was thankfully out back in the fields. Living on a 40 acre farm has its advantages...lots of room to get rid of stress.

Recently at school when he becomes 'overloaded' or stressed...he mouths off at teachers and his para. Horribly. Cussing is something that is rare in our house....I cannot say it never happens...but we DO have rules! In our home quiet and calm is the norm....for Mr M (younger bro) seems to need this atmosphere. Mr R has anger issues. His anger response is off the wall comments, cussing, threatening remarks....and sometimes throwing things. At school...his recent behaviors are more verbal...and we have not found a way for him to come up with other solutions to deal with his stress. My concern is....we are about to enter the workforce is this going to fly with ANY employer. Yes, he will have a job coach and any job he gets will most likely be through disability employment services. He cannot take redirection...he gets extremely angry when asked to do 'more' or anything that he feels is done.

Part of his 'coping' skill at the moment is not only verbally lashing out....but also to put his head down and fall asleep. We cannot 'process' anything for at least 2 days to let things die down......or it will immediately explode...again.

Mr R also has a fairly significant 'delay' in his response time....meaning he takes a few extra seconds to respond be it verbally or physically. At school, we've told them over and over again to give him that 'time lapse'....and NOT to push. Not being there at school I cannot say if this is part of what is going wrong recently....or if its just a overall 'school work' thing where he is feeling that the work is stressing him. He DOES say that his para and the teacher (sp.ed coordinator) PUSH. But I too have 'waited'....and some of it seems that he's defying a direction even here at home.

He has consequences to face today for another incident on Friday at school. Am hoping he does well with this (detention). Last time he admitted he was wrong, apologized and took noon detention. Not feeling confident today....I'm not sure why.

I guess I'm trying to figure out if there are direct methods of teaching other coping skills to deal with redirection, stress....even critical opinions. We've given 'tools' for him to use....but in the heat of the moment...he still is not able to grasp the concept.

In contrast to Mr R's response.....Mr M (14 HFA) cries....and often curls up in a ball. Just recently....he has begun to throw things and get mouthy. a way....isn't some of this typical teen garbage??? LOL! *thrilled with that thought*

Long week coming...I've got my boxing gloves on too!


Sunday, April 22, 2007

An apple a day...

Most people would not think a child eating an apple was worth posting about....I'm not one of them! Fighting eating issues for over 12 years makes you a little 'food freaky' . This all goes back to Mr M's first signs of Autism. Around the age of 15 months.....he quit eating all the foods accept one...Gerber 3rd foods Turkey and Bacon. He stopped drinking milk...and mostly wanted apple juice (still a favorite).

I suppose any parent would celebrate the idea that a young boy at 14 yrs would CHOOSE to eat an apple....but this is more significant than that!~

Mr M has eaten apples before (last 3 years or so) but recently I was informed *by him* that he LIKES eating apples....with the peel on! For about 3 years, I've cleaned, peeled and quartered apples so that he could eat them at home. This wasn't something he could take to school due to the fact that they would turn 'dark and mushy' by the time lunch hour would come (another sensory demon....visual).

Mr M announced proudly that he traded a recent food add....Chocolate Fudge Striped cookies for his friends apple. I was shocked....and amused. His story was adorable in its telling (if you know Mr M)....the fact that a friend asked to trade her apple. Mr M said yes....Mr M did NOT tell her ALL his cookies....and the poor girl got ONE cookie for her apple! LOL! I did speak to him about the 'fairness' rules of trading....he did admit he 'missed that one'.

I suggested we go to the market and choose some apples to put in his lunch. He looked distressed. I wondered if I made a mistake in his 'liking' them....until he explained the thrill of trading! *duh me* But....I had further discussions and he is willing to take BOTH cookies and an apple......and merely share his cookies with his friend.

I never considered lunch time such a social scene for him.......but I am seeing now that there is much more to his interactions with his 'friends'. btw....all the kids he sits with are special needs. They have known each other for years from different summer programs.

Mr M asked the other afternoon for an apple from the basket to take outside while he plays. He said, "I would like an apple as my supplies" <>

Happily, I report....I think we've found a nice healthy new food choice to add to his list (which is about 5 foods at this point).

Come celebrate an apple a day with us!