03 July 2008

new stages

For those of you who've been around for a while, you have heard me talk about my son's Sensory Processing Dysfunction. About two and a half years ago, he was diagnosed and put into occupational therapy which essentially is to teach skills for coping in his world--home, school, and with friends. Most recently, we've been focused on the social aspects since this has been a very big struggle. I will not even go into the many meltdowns, and other frustrations that arise when attempting to play with friends.

However. We have reached a milestone that says he is making huge strides in coping skills, both for Little B and for me (as well as my husband). I am feeling a little bit on shaky ground, a little bit uncertain, and a lot like my security blanket is about to be ripped from my hands.

Little B is being discharged from Occupation Therapy when school starts.

Yes, you read that right.

He is done.

No, he is not "cured" nor does he lack struggles and all that comes with SPD. However, individual therapy no longer has anything to offer him. Prime example: when a gooey, sticky, messy project is part of a therapy session, he no longer falls apart, screams or resists at all costs. He now finds ways to do the project without touching the goop if at all possible, minimizes the touching if it just can't be avoided (wiping his hands immediately), and does all of this without the complete tantrum that used to precede it. He may not be happy about it, but he's learned to cope.

Another example: When in the gym during an OT session, he can strategically design/plan and execute an obstacle course without missing important steps, being afraid of swinging backward, falling or having to start over (among other things). It's okay if those things happen--it is no longer the end of his world. For Little B, these things may still present challenges, but he is now facing them realistically. As I mentioned recently, he is now riding his bike without training wheels and he has learned to roller skate. Both of these things would have been insurmountable two years ago for a myriad of reasons.

Socially...well this is still the weakest spot. But individual therapy cannot help that. He has had a "peer"--a child close in age--to do therapy with this past year, but that was only for half his therapy time. This summer we have put him into two "therapy camps" that are just group therapy twice a week at the same therapist's office. The goal is to work on those social skills as well as hone any other needs that arise. Every kid in the group is at different levels, so it's a very good place to learn such things.

But when summer is over, we will not return to individual therapy. He will not have to check in late to school once a week on account of that therapy.

What lies ahead? That, my friends, is a good question. He still has needs that we must address some how, some way. Unfortunately, the "therapy" style groups that could help him are not to be found in our area--it would be over an hour's drive if we took him to one of those (ie, hiking social group for kids with mild sensory issues--excellent idea, but not so practical). So, we need to carefully select an activity that will provide an opportunity to work on social skills and working together.

The things we are considering include: gymnastics, group horse-back riding lessons, martial arts and cub scouts. There are so many factors to consider and we want to be wise in this choice. There is one that stands out to me right now, but I need to be prayerful and also check into the options a little more closely, gathering more specific information on each one. I certainly don't want to neglect this need, but instead encourage and support him in a new endeavor that will continue to help him.

What does this mean for me? It means my constant support and suggestion-giver (his therapist) will evaporate from our lives and we'll miss her desperately. I've already mentioned to Little B that he's probably not going to have therapy in the fall, and he said he hopes it's not forever. (Why? Because he's going to miss his therapist.) She told me it's very hard to discharge clients like us, and I must admit, that was nice to hear.

But, I have to say, I find that I'm seeing myself as a person who can really cope with the needs as they arise, someone who has grown stronger and understands the finite workings of SPD, more specifically the needs that my son has. We'll have "off days" just like always, but I think I'm ready to be discharged, too. I can do this.


Donnetta (momrn2) said...

Oh my friend, I clearly remember the day we were officially discharged from our OT therapy as well. I had so many mixed emotions and feelings surrounding it all! You are right, You CAN do this! One day, one moment, one second at a time... you can!

Also, thank you from the very depths of my being for the package you sent! I have been away at camp for a week without any electronic or phone access but am now back home. My heart smiles each time I see the journal.

By the way, I started another blog sacredintheordinary.blogspot.com

Notice the quote at the top... does it look familiar?? Thanks again friend for thinking of me. It means more than you know!!

Anne said...

Thanks for stopping over to my blog today...through your link I was able to hop on over here to visit you also!

My daughter is currently in OT for sensory processing...she has the tactile in specific areas. Mostly it is pants and under*pants that bother her, along with hair brushing. Thankfully it is the summer and we can live in sundresses and skirts! She has been going for several months and is making HUGE progress. I don't see us having to go much longer...she can even wear her swimsuit without a meltdown, and that is HUGE!

Again, thanks for stopping by!

Carbon said...

It's scarty but awesome that you all have finished a milestone and are heading into a new direction. I'm sure you will be there every step of the way for little B.