Monday, March 25, 2013

What is sensory processing disorder?

A month ago I had only heard these words but really had no idea what they meant. Then, I was told my son had it and I have been in learning mode ever since. It is really very interesting. It used to be called sensory integration dysfunction. This wasn't even thought about until the 1970s when an occupational therapist named Dr. A. Jean Ayres started learning the foundations that would eventually become known as Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). It is still a fairly recently established issue.

SPD is when a person doesn't process the sensory around them like others. Most people absorb all the senses going on, the hard chair under their rear, the hum of the light, the sound of the wind whistling through the chimney, the clicking of the computer from a neighbor... All these little pieces, these puzzle pieces come together to form a complete picture. Someone with SPD has trouble putting the pieces together and just see this overwhelming pile of puzzle pieces. One isn't more important than the other but all just there and difficult to focus on just one.

There are a couple of types of SPD. One is called a "sensory avoider" and the other is called a "sensory seeker". These two are just like they sound. The avoider doesn't like crowded areas or lots of noise or touch. The seeker wants the sensory stimulation. This child is constantly touching peers or moving or bouncing. My son is a seeker.

What are some common behavioral symptoms of these children?
Over sensitivity or under sensitivity to touch, sights, sounds, movement, tastes or smells
High distractibility, with problems paying attention and staying focused on a task
An unusually high or low activity level
Frequent tuning out or withdrawing
Intense, out of proportion reactions to challenging situations and unfamiliar environments
Impulsivity with little or no self control
Difficulty transitioning from activity to activity
Rigidity or inflexibility at times
Clumsiness and carelessness
Discomfort in group situations
Social or emotional difficulties
Developmental and learning delays and acting silly
Awkwardness and insecurity
Trouble handling frustration and difficult to return to calm state
Problems transitioning from active state to calm state

One of the brain's jobs is to regulate the level of nervous system arousal. Children with SPD are unable to do this consistently. So, here is a brief synopsis of SPD. Now you know. ;)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Can of worms...

So, the kids recently went in for their annual physical and this opened a huge can of worms. That saying really makes no sense. A can of worms? Anyways! So, Ryanne had an irregular heart beat. This led to multiple trips to the hospital for testing only to find out that her irregular heart beat is actually her normal beat. I always tell my kids to be different and stand out but this wasn't exactly what I had in mind. Hehe!

Finally, there is Collin. The doctor thought he had sensory integration so he referred him to an occupational therapist where it was confirmed that Collin has Sensory Processing Disorder, specifically he is a sensory seeker. This means he is constantly craving sensory stimulation which is why he is always moving. For a year or so the doctor has suspected it was ADHD but this was confirmed to be false. It's all part of the SPD. We have also discovered he has poor fine motor skills and all his muscles are developed which means he is going to be evaluated by a physical therapist this week. So, we have extra exercises and therapies and tools to use throughout the week to help things go better. School is already easier. Oh! That's another thing. She said Collin would not function well in a regular brick and mortar school so home educating is the best thing we could have done for him. So, yay that we made the right choice there. ;)

Well, now you know what came of the kids' well child appointments. ;)

Mother daughter date

Ryanne and I have been having a lot of girl days. Recently she and I went out for a "fancy" dinner and ballet of Alice in Wonderland. The dinner was fancy b/c it was a nice little restaurant where the food was so expensive that Ryanne and I split our food and it still cost us $37. Ack! She LOVED it! Sh zoned out during the ballet and was so focused on it that she hardly spoke. Those of you who know Ryanne know how rare this is.

Thrift shopping!

So, yesterday Paul went off with a friend and Collin was at TaeKwonDo day camp so Ryanne and I had the whole day of just the two of us. Now, before I say what we did, let me explain that Ryanne had just gotten hand me downs from two people, so much that she split it with her cousin. So, Ryanne and I went shopping for clothes for Collin and me. I was down to two pair of pants that did not have holes in inappropriate places... Hehe! So, I spent a lot of money... Grand total of $48 on everything pictured below. While that was a lot of money, not bad for what we got. I even got Ryanne a jump rope, Collin a rubber snake, and both of them a bag of crayons. I also got myself a pair of boots and then all the clothes pictured.

Build and Grow

We have recently discovered a new family activity, the Build and Grown workshop offered at Lowe's. We have only been twice but it was awesome each time. The best thing is that it is absolutely FREE! Yay! I love free. The kids get the supplies to build something, all children are given an apron the first time, they are given a patch for each item built and then the kids get a snack on top of all that. Normally it's a juice box and a bag of chips so not the healthiest thing but still really nice of them and it's a nice treat for my kids.

From scratch

So, we have decided to try and cut out all processed food and artificial flavors/colors. Below are some pics of some of the things I have been making, yogurt, granola bars, cheese crackers, cookies, bread, crackers and veggie chips. It's been fun finding and trying different snacks. Our refrigerator is always full of fresh produce though. Storing leftovers gets a bit tricky. ;)


So, I realized I have gotten very behind on the blog so I will be catching up today. We have been building tents and towers a lot in the living room. Here is a double for the kids made. :)