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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Theraputty, Fidgets, and other Tactile Sensory Solutions

This is the final post in the series on sensory solutions. We have already covered Vestibular, Proprioceptive, and Oral. Now I will discuss solutions for the phenomenon of constantly touching everything.

In Dovi's case, his tactile sensory issue is really a combination of three things. A lot of it is in fact proprioceptive in nature - he needs to squeeze, smear, pulverize, and throw things. That's not exactly the same thing as Chaim's tactile sensory need which is just to touch stuff for no good reason. He once had his hands scotch-taped together as a consequence for destroying his Chumash (Bible) systematically during school session. A letter and a phone call to his Rebbe (teacher) helped greatly, and the next time he started fiddling around with his book again, his Rebbe gave him a piece of silver foil to fiddle with instead. Thankfully Chaim has mostly outgrown his fidgeting days; but my point is that Dovi's touching of stuff is different. His need to squeeze and smear is more of a proprioceptive need and not so much a tactile need. It's also a form of stimming; when I give him shaving cream or farina or rice he tends to throw it and smear it everywhere, which is simply part of his stimming repertoire as a person with autism.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Brief Hiatus

Readers, I have not abandoned the blog. or the other four blogs. I am bh in the middle of a family simcha (husband's baby sister got married on Wednesday), so my evenings are consumed with getting ready for sheva brochos and going to said sheva brachos, and my days are consumed with sleeping off the jet lag of the events. Therefore there's no time or energy for blogging. However IYH at some point next week all will hopefully return to normal. Dovi is going away for Shabbos for the first time in 9 weeks! He normally goes away every month, but last month he had just started Ritalin and was being aggressive and and anxious and I didn't want to risk him injuring anyone at the respite house and thus getting kicked out of the program. I am amazed that we managed 9 shabbosim without a break (although we do have lovely girls who take him out all the time when he's home). So anyway good Shabbos everyone and we'll be in touch next week!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Oral Sensory Solutions

Another one of Dovi's biggest sensory issues is oral sensory. At age 4 1/2, he still likes to mouth everything in sight. He is being coached and taught at school to decrease all that, but he is still pretty much at it. He will also eat and chew many things that are not edible such as leaves, sand, play doh, wiki sticks, soap, candles... It's often a challenge to figure out if he's chewing on something edible or whether we have to immediately part his teeth and make him spit out what he's eating. It took a long time for him to stop instantly eating sand when in sandboxes. If I do shaving cream/hair mousse for tactile sensory input, he always mouths some of it and I have to rinse his mouth and warn him again not to eat it. It doesnt' always help. He also loves to eat raw food like rice, farina, oats, spaghetti - anything that can be flung around or broken up.

In addition he is also very sensitive to things like toothaches. Unfortunately he does not tell us when he has a toothache and it's a guessing game. In a future post I will relate the ongoing saga with Dovi's teeth; for now I'll just briefly say that his behavior and mood is very related to having cavities or sensitive teeth - and we don't always figure out that this is driving him for many weeks.

Dovi also went through a phase of biting out of frustration. It was a very difficult phase, as he would bite me, the volunteers, the therapists, anyone who made demands of him or wouldnt give in to his demands. It's extremely frustrating to be unable to express oneself, especially when you're as bright as Dovi and have plans and needs which you can't explain to anyone and have demands made of you which you can't or refuse to meet. B"H that stage has passed for now, but it rears its ugly head every time Dovi makes some cognitive or developmental progress and he becomes more aware of his surroundings and his independence increases.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Temple Grandin Movie Review

I know that my next two entries are supposed to be about Oral and Tactile Sensory Solutions. Trust me, we'll get there. But I need a break from the tedious searching, researching and linking for a day. I'm very tired. Tomorrow is yet another legal holiday, and Dovi is not old enough to attend the local Holiday Respite program (which starts at age 5). His Home Health Aide is off for 2 days, as is my cleaning lady -- and to top it all off, my sister-in-law is getting married on Wednesday night! What a hectic week. I'm pretty sure someone will take him out for 2 hours to give me a break; thankfully I've done enough inner work on myself not to get hysterical when a combination of factors such as these come together. I've endured far more stressful situations as Dovi's mother. I'm just throwing it out there.

So anyway, I'll move on to something a little more interesting and less tedious; after all, sensory solutions only interest those readers who actually need it; I do want this blog to be of interest to everyone reading.

2 years ago, at the chronological time of this narrative, I got a cryptic, interesting message from a friend online. "I have something for you. Remind me next time I run into you to give it to you." I was intrigued and confused; this particular person is someone I run into once in a while at the local stores and wondered what she wanted.

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