It’s been kind of a long road since it became clear that Monkey was struggling, which those of you who’ve been reading along already know. Things at school kept getting worse, we’ve waded through the proper HMO channels and had him (mis)diagnosed as having ADD, we went back to the allergist, we increased therapy, and there continued to be no answers for us.
The school finally completed the last of the testing Monkey’s team decided to do. He has a whole team! Trying to help him! It’s like they care, or something. (I am going to miss this school.)
Although Monkey is more or less on target academically, he’s very anxious, somewhat hyperactive, and reacts explosively to any perceived transgression against him. While it’s good news that in spite of this he’s been able to keep up, it also means that many schools would shrug their shoulders and pass the buck.
Simply put: He has no idea where his body is in space, coupled with a need for constant movement to reassure himself that his body is still there. And on the flip side of the coin, all those times when someone brushes up against him and he howls that he’s been punched? He really does feel like he’s been assaulted.
Oh, IS THAT ALL? Okay then!
On the one hand, the twenty page report I was handed today was overwhelming. On the other hand, it confirms everything we’ve been seeing with him for the last year. And this report includes an actual plan for helping him. Ways to desensitize him to light touch. Ways to help him learn how to control his body. Ways to teach him how to quiet the chatter of sensory bombardment in his head so that he can relax and focus and maybe stop being so stressed out all the time.
We’re starting him on a customized sensory diet both at school and at home. It feels silly, “brushing” him with a surgical scrub brush and then compressing his joints the way the occupational therapist showed me—though he absolutely loves it, as if I was giving him a massage rather than systematically manipulating his body in an effort to retrain his nerves to transmit appropriate signals—every few hours. They promised me that if this is going to help, he’ll improve and need it less and less. Which is a relief because I don’t want to have to go to college with him and scrub him down every couple of hours.
The part I love, though, is that kids with proprioceptive issues need more sensations in their joints and muscles, such as those that “can be obtained by lifting, pushing, and pulling heavy objects.”
The occupational therapist wants him carrying full laundry baskets, and vacuuming, and toting a full backpack. A few days ago, Monkey pulled Chickadee all over the yard on a sled and when I protested that they should at least take turns, he beamed, “No, I like it!” And he does like it. It calms him down.
I’m looking forward to him feeling more normal, but I’m also totally looking forward to my house being cleaner. All in the name of helping my child, of course.