Friday, October 29, 2010

About sensory processing...

Good morning, wow it has been a difficult one at my house. Not only do we have about $10,000 worth of wind damage to deal with, but our own little "hurricane" "A" blew through this morning. Talk about stormy, he was extremely irritable. From the moment he woke up until I walked him into the classroom. We had a MAJOR meltdown this morning. It was one of the most serious I have seen so far! I'm not sure what is making "A" so upset. Maybe it is the change in weather. Alex has sensory processing disorder this is common with children with autism but can also occur with other disorders or even by itself.

Children with SPD may be hypersensitive to touch, as infants these kids often do not like to be held or cuddled. They may be fussy during diaper changes and hate having their hair washed or brushed, they wipe kisses away, and they prefer being hugged. They dislike messy play, certain textures and they may hate wearing clothes, dislike the seams in their socks and are picky eaters. A's baby brother Elijah is like this. He was born extremely early he was not held often during his early months and when he was held it was often to receive uncomfortable or painful treatments.

Children with SPD may also be hypo sensitive to touch. These kids are considered under responsive they

  • crave touch, needs to touch everything and everyone

  • are not aware of being touched or bumped unless they are bumped with extreme force or intensity

  • are not bothered by injuries, like cuts and bruises

  • may not be aware that hands or face are dirty or feel his/her nose running

  • may be self-abusive; pinching, biting, or banging his own head

  • mouths objects excessively

  • frequently hurts other children or pets while playing

  • repeatedly touches surfaces or objects that are soothing (i.e., blanket)

  • seeks out surfaces and textures that provide strong tactile feedback

  • thoroughly enjoys and seeks out messy play

  • craves vibrating or strong sensory input

  • has a preference and craving for excessively spicy, sweet, sour, or salty foods

"A" seems to be more of a hypo sensitive kid, but has some hypersensitive tendencies as well. One of the things A does is play with my bangs. When he is nervous or sleepy he wants my hair, it doesn't matter where we are at, he will ask for my hair. A is also a kid that likes to wrestle, jump, and pretty much bounce off of things and people! One treatment A has been prescribed by his OT is a Sensory Diet with Heavy work Activities. Some of these activities are:

  • Whole body actions involving pushing, pulling, lifting, playing, and moving

  • Oral actions such as chewing, sucking, and blowing

  • Use of hands for squeezing, pinching, or "fidgeting"

I have found that allowing A a small stretchy toy to fidget improves his concentration. My main concern is getting A the supports at school for his sensory needs, but that is a whole other story, and I promise to write about it soon, we have a eligibility meeting next week. I am sure it is not going to go well. So I am getting prepared!

There is so much more to understand about sensory processing, I just wrote about the two that seem to pertain to A. the most. To learn about the other aspects of SPD go here

A great book to read about Sensory Processing is "The Out -of- Sync Child" by Carol Stock Kranowitz. It is a great book for parents and teachers alike!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordish Wednesday

"A" really enjoys Lego's he will spend hours on them!
A therapy session.

Wordish Wednesday

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What is the difference between High Fuctioning Autism, Aspergers, and classic Autism?

My son has a diagnoses of Autism, his autism is high functioning, possibly Aspergers. Autism is actually a whole spectrum...a child with high functioning autism can be described in the following way"In the case of high functioning autism, the afflicted person will have high IQ and is regarded as genius some times, but they lack in understanding non-verbal communication and social skills." These kids are often called "little professors because of their almost adult way of speaking. In many ways "A" seems like a normal four year old, it is actually hard for people to believe he has autism. "A" prefers the company of adults, he doesn't like to make eye contact, he says that eye contact "makes him embarrassed". He likes to be around other children his age, but he has a difficult time approaching them. He prefers to play alone or with his 15 year old brother. "A" can spend hours building "structures" out of Lego's. Right now he is building houses.

"A" does not get it when someone is joking, he takes everything very literally. Pet names confuse him, and figures of speech are frustrating for him. If I get mad at the dog and say "I am going to kill her" really believes I am going to kill the dog. "A" has a hard time reading emotions and is constantly asking if someone is happy, sad, etc.

"A" is very smart and his IQ is high, but he has trouble remembering his colors. He has a hard time sitting still because his sensory system is so overwhelmed. Sensory problems are common with autism, but that is a whole other issue, I will post more on sensory later!

Here are some symptoms of Aspergers Syndrome:

Signs and symptoms of Asperger's syndrome include:
*Engaging in one-sided, long-winded conversations, without noticing if the listener is listening or trying to change the subject
*Displaying unusual nonverbal communication, such as lack of eye contact, few facial expressions, or awkward body postures and gestures
*Showing an intense obsession with one or two specific, narrow subjects, such as baseball statistics, train schedules, weather or snakes
*Appearing not to understand, empathize with or be sensitive to others' feelings
*Having a hard time "reading" other people or understanding humor
*Speaking in a voice that is monotonous, rigid or unusually fast
*Moving clumsily, with poor coordination
*Having an odd posture or a rigid gait

Early Red Flags that may indicate Autism:

No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by six months or thereafter
No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial expressions by nine months or thereafter
No babbling by 12 months
No back-and-forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or waving by 12 months
No words by 16 months
No two-word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months
Any loss of speech or babbling or social skills at any age.

Early intervention is important, it is no longer acceptable to just ignore these symptoms and see if the child grows out of it, they may, but what if they don't? Then you have lost precious months and years of intervention, if your baby shows any of these red flags you should see your pediatrician for an evaluation.

"A" at 18 months old. He started talking in full sentences well before his first birthday, he could sing Amazing Grace all the way through when he was 15 months old.

Bright lights are painful for "A" sunglasses are a must on a sunny day.

"A" can often be seen playing "beside" other children, without actually interacting with them. This type of play is more typical of young toddlers.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Meltdowns and Medication

Hello everyone, I am enjoying this lovely fall weather. But not looking forward to winter. The doctor started A on medication again a couple of weeks ago. We are pretty much having the same issues we had last time. It works at first, then he starts having more meltdowns and becomes really emotional. It seems to work at school, I think it wears off in the afternoon and makes him a zombie the rest of the time. I am not against medication, especially for older children who really need it to concentrate and learn. I do worry about long term side effects. I have made the decision to wean A off of this medication once again. I'm sorry if he is a little more hyper at school without it. I don't like to give a child something that erases their personality, and he is so very sensitive to this type of thing.
I have finally found some services geared toward autism in this area...I will post more about that as soon as A attends his first appointment. I am excited about this opportunity!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday Mayhem

Join Us for Monday Mayhem
Welcome to Monday Mayhem- the happenin' Monday Place to be.Today's we are playing a modification of a tag- the 8's tag. By 'modifications' we mean we edited out some of the questions we never want to see again.Have fun!

1. Are you living the dream??
Maybe a twisted version of it!

2.Is this what you imagined your life would be like?
Honestly, No. But, whose life turns out exactly like they imagined. If I were living the life that I imagined as a young girl then I would have prince charming, a million dollars, and a maid!

3. I'm coming for dinner, what will you make for me??
I hope you like chicken nuggets!

4. What's your favorite cuss word? I don't have a favorite cuss word!
A. does though, thanks to someone near and dear to me who I won't mention, his favorite cuss word starts wit a D and ends with a N!

5. Tell me one thing you would change about anyone's blog and why?
I really don't know of anything I would change, a blog is like a journal, so whatever!

6.What is your biggest blogging pet peeve?
People who don't comment and don't follow...come on I'll follow you if you follow me!

7.What's your favorite tv show this season? I need a new show! :)
This is crazy, I am 34 years old and I am really hooked on that show, Teen Mom!

8. What's your favorite 'down' time {nothing computer related}? Downtime, what is that....I gues when I get it, it is reading, I love a good book!

Your son has Autism??

A lot of people don't know my son has autism, a lot of people know, but don't believe it. A. isn't what most people typically think of when they think of autism. This makes it difficult for us to get the services he needs to be successful. The school constantly denies A. the rights to the accommodations he needs for success.

Because A. does not exhibit the signs of classic autism does not mean that he doesn't struggle. He does struggle, he is extremely smart, but he has a hard time learning because his sensory system is so overwhelmed. Everyday things like bright lights, sunlight, and even the textureCheck Spelling of his clothes are very distracting to him. He can hold intense conversations with adults and he loves older children, but somehow approaching children his own age is hard for him. He will say "mommy go ask them to play with me."

He has good days and bad days. On the good days I will forget about the Autism diagnosis. On the bad days, the days when it takes 30 minutes to get from the door to the car, when I am chasing A. around the school, with a two year old on my hip, everyone staring at me trying my best to keep my son from dashing out in the road, A. oblivious to my shouts and warnings of danger.....well on those days I remember.

To learn more about High Functioning Autism check out this article.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Am I wrong??

Okay, so stress is a major part of my life. I should be used to it by now, but I am only human!

Today I was at Wal-Mart with my boy's. Alex has been a sensory mess for a couple of weeks now so I should have known better. But.....I desperately needed a few items so I loaded the kids up and went.

Things started going downhill almost immediately,
  1. A. didn't want to hold my hand, so he bolted in the parking lot.
  2. A. didn't want to ride in the cart, he wanted to walk, so I made him ride in the cart.
  3. A. wanted to wait on the bench outside of the restroom, I made him go in with me, so he waited until I was in the stall, OPENED the stall door, and bolted out of the bathroom, while I followed him as I hiked up my pants! What a lovely scene for everyone in the bathroom!
So is it any wonder that as we were leaving the bathroom with A. in the back of the cart, screaming to the top of his lungs and totally melting down, I noticed a couple of ladies staring.

Now this is not so unusual for us, we get this a lot. But, at this particular moment I was way past my breaking point and on the verge of a meltdown myself! I looked right at the two ladies, now usually if I make eye contact that is enough to make nosy people turn away, but no, these ladies were whispering, giving me evil looks and one of them even smirked at me! So I simply looked them right in their faces and said "what is your problem, haven't you ever seen a kid with autism in the store before?" And then I walked off, A. never let off of his screaming through this whole ordeal.

So did I do wrong? I just am so tired of being made to feel like I am a horrible mother because my child throws tantrums in Wal-Mart. SO WHAT! Get over it people!