Sensory Processing Disorder

I’m 38 weeks now and I wish I could say I’m positive and bubbly, but the truth is I’m exhausted.

I had to cancel an OB appointment  a few weeks back because it was spring break for the kids. And I knew sitting for a non stress test would be impossible. On top of these last few weeks going by slowly my two year old has been having a lot of appointments that I haven’t discussed. I guess I’ve needed time myself to cipher through it before sharing in hopes of connecting with others that understand or can shed some light.

He hasn’t been talking much. He babbles a lot but talking has been a struggle. He can say at least 15 words. I know without a doubt that every child is different, so I am not saying that every child should be talking by 2. He tries to talk and sometimes it’s just difficult for him, which is different than my other three. At his 2 year check up I had to  fill out paperwork asking if he was able to say a certain amount of sentences and words, and he was not.

Again we can get so consumed with these type of evals, and numbers that we fail to realize that every child is different.

Sometimes kids just learn, and grow differently, and that’s okay.

I am not a doctor nor do I want this particular situation to alarm you if your child is not talking much yet.  I have just had a gut feeling for quite some time now.  His pediatrician listened to me and got him set up for in home evaluations for speech. The first appointment was to see if he would would even qualify, and he did. On the first actual appointment he said a full sentence to the therapist, and we were both amazed and shocked! She felt like he most likely can talk more than he does, and it’s just a matter of actually getting him to. To be fair he does have big siblings that speak for him.

But then as she was accessing him he started biting on his sleeves. She asked me if he did that a lot, and I told her how he chews on everything. We went over times when he does which is usually when he is nervous, or frustrated. She gave me a list of questions and we went over them all. She told me something that I’ve had a feeling about all along. He is sensory seeking. He is not autistic, but he more than likely has some underlying sensory processing concerns that should be evaluated.

I am just so grateful she paid attention and for all the early intervention resources. She comes out once a week to work with him and referred me to an OT center for the sensory part.

He had his first in office OT eval appointment this past week. Even with gps the destination wasn’t clear. It kept saying “You have arrived.” But clearly we hadn’t. I tried calling the office with no avail.

I had a meltdown. I kept circling around and was about to give up. Until I decided to try one last time. And there it was tucked in what looked like old apartments, there was the office with small reading on the door.

My two year old indeed is sensory seeking. He barely qualified, but just has some sensory things that they feel they can help him through.

He’s escalated to biting and hitting something I’ve never dealt with before. I’ve been told by someone I’m no longer close with that it’s mine and my husband’s fault. That we should discipline better, that he’s running over us. To be honest it’s extremely hurtful hearing things like that, and feeling like it’s our fault.

I know it’s so hard to tell if some parts are behavioral or sensory seeking. To brush it off as “typical two year old behavior.” I know it’s easy for those looking in to judge and say he needs better discipline.  But as his mother I have noticed some things that my husband also agrees with.

Honestly, I am glad we were able to get early intervention set up so fast. His in home therapist is so encouraging and brings sensory diet plans (which has nothing to do with food by the way). We have also been told he would benefit from a weighted vest. So they are going to be ordering him one.

He is also having gi issues that are finally being diagnosed and treated with meds to help him grow. With that being said he may be tiny, but he sure is mighty. He is a huge ball of energy constantly climbing on things, on me, pulling things, biting, hitting, going constantly. Sometimes when he can’t express himself and gets frustrated he acts out and instead of extending grace I get frustrated too. I find myself feeling helpless, I’ve sat in tears just feeling like I have no clue what I’m doing like I am failing him. But when I put it all in perspective, he probably feels the same, overwhelmed, and overstimulated.

He was walking at 8 months, and climbing on everything! He is so different than my other children, and it’s just amazing how each one is so unique. That’s what makes them each so special.

He is completely enamored by baby dolls, that was one of his first words,”Baby.” So has quite the collection of baby dolls, and sometimes when he gets overstimulated he grabs a baby and hugs it tightly.  Out of all my children he is the only one who has a huge love for babies. The girls love them for sure, but he carries them around, sleeps with them, brings them to his highchair, etc. It’s cute and I love how my husband encourages it also, and pretends with him in taking care of the babies. When he sees them at the store his eyes just light up and he points to them.

 

We’ve been doing tons of research and have ordered him chew necklaces to redirect him to bite on when he’s frustrated. We’ve also ordered an indoor swing that is like a cocoon. My husband is going to hang it from the ceiling in the playroom. These are things the therapist thinks will help him when he is sensory seeking. I will do a blog post on those items soon and how they are working.

I have also been doing research on sensory play at home for him. I saw tons of ideas on the whole rice thing, so I decided to give it a go, with a little Easter spin. We used rice, a few drops of white vinegar, and food coloring. It was so fun letting the kids participate and help make up the sensory bin.

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I gave them each a zip- loc bag filled with 1cup of rice. I then added a drop of vinegar in each bag, and then I let them each add a few drops of food coloring(I did it for my two year old). I sealed each bag shut and let them shake away. You can tell that was their most favorite part getting to shake and watch the rice change colors.

 

The end result of their work was so beautiful, just look at those bright colors!

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I divided up paper towels, placed them on a baking tray, and poured each bag onto each paper towel. We then placed the tray out on the deck to let the sunlight dry it faster. Once it was all dried I just poured each paper towel of rice into a little bin. I then added plastic eggs I found in the garage and some little foam pieces I found at Wal-Mart.

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I just want to make it clear I am no expert at this! 

This is all new territory to me, but I am willing to learn and do this right alongside my sweet boy. I haven’t gotten to test the bin out with him yet because I’ve been working pretty much everyday since. But I plan to do it on my week off and hopefully he has a lot of fun scooping the rice into the eggs and just playing in it and using his senses.

It’s also so rewarding watching his sibling chip in and help. While on spring break they got to talk with the therapist when she came to visit. She encouraged them to make him use his words more, and not just talk for him. I have noticed a difference and they also will say words slowly for him and he copies them. It melts my heart hearing his little voice, and hearing him talk more. He could all along, it’s just a matter of navigating through the sensory parts.

He starts appointments for sensory  in two weeks in an office set up with tons of sensory toys and equipment, along with his weekly in home appointments to get him to talk. Did I mention I’m due in close to two weeks now?

I’m working up until two days before my due date, and I’m just exhausted. My position is seasonal so after I have my baby, I will also be off for the summer. It will give me so much time to get into a new routine as a mom of 5 and to just be with the kids+ navigate through the sensory stuff. The 12 hours are extremely exhausting right now, on top of the new stuff with my two year old.  I feel pulled in so many directions.

Yet I kept thinking back to the gps voice “You have arrived.” And how I kept thinking,”No I haven’t!”

Such is the same about life. We have all these preconceived notions of how things should be. But the moment the route seems different than the destination we wanted then it’s “wrong.” This whole sensory thing is exhausting. I can easily say this isn’t the right destination I had in mind.

But maybe it’s not so much about the destination than it is the driver. God is behind the wheel leading the way. He knows the destination, the detours, and all.

Even when we “arrive” somewhere unfamiliar we can trust in the One who is familiar. The One growing and stretching us along the ride.

And on the days when the noise is too much, the tasks too much, the work is too much, and everything is just too much. This right here will never be too much. When little arms reach up to be held, or someone wants to cuddle. The love will never be too much. I’m exactly where I need to be in this moment, and you are too.

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(Sweatshirt from: Sweetees)

(If you have any resources, blogs, books, or tips on sensory seekers I would love to know!)

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