Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Stretching Songs and Activities

One of the things we've been dealing with in our family is needing a lot of physical sensory input. I have found this works really well when my son is out of control and constantly seeming to have temper tantrums about everything. It makes my day pretty miserable but I am very thankful the other day that I took the time to hold him really tight. Mind you, the beginning of this isn't usually pleasant as there's a lot of kicking, hitting, and screaming however, I know in the end it'll pay off and this time it did.
One thing I learned when I had my kids in gymnastics is making up stupid songs to help my kiddos stretch. So one thing they did was make food sitting on the floor like pizza and sandwiches. I did an alternative and used my son as the bread product so if I turned him into a peanut butter and jelly sandwich I take him and I use the action of smearing peanut butter all over him and plopping jelly on him and then smearing in all over him. When I'm done I take him and fold his legs up over his head. This can be done with almost any food with some imagination but it seems to work. The surprising thing is while he may or may not say 'I need _______________ (fill in the blank with a sensory input action) he can say I want to be a peanut butter and jelly sandwich fairly easily and it lets me know he needs some sensory input without him being specifically being able to say what he needs.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


One thing that has been a huge help to our family is counseling. Now family counseling would probably be a good idea but because of how our life is it just isn't working that way right now. Many times it is me going to counseling with my son and I come back home and teach my husband what I have learned very similar to how we deal with our hard of hearing daughter and learning sign language.
The benefits to having a counselor are many because we have one that fits our situation. I know another family that uses the same counselor but the results are not as effective. She has helped both my son and I but in different ways and I wanted to explain that in this post.

For my son counseling helps him learn new coping techniques. It helps him have a place he can vent if he needs to. It gives him a chance to practice new skills he learns in a safe environment where it is controlled and he can be helped step by step to walk through a process until he gets it before we impliment it at home. It gives him someone who can relate to him to some degree as well as spend time with him alone and reflect upon things.
However, me taking him to counseling helps me out as well in many ways. The first thing is having a person who can understand what I am facing. It's not easy being a parent of a special needs child. They are able to give be a balanced view when it comes to my child and how things affect him or he's dealing with things. It gives someone to come along side with me and work towards a common goal who can break things down in steps especially when I might want something to change NOW. I am also informed of various opportunities that I wouldn't know of otherwise. I also have a safe place to vent about just life although it's not all that often that we go in that direction but sometimes it's needed.

One of the new things we will be doing this week is actually doing a social skills program called SuperFlex. My son was introduced to the characters in the SuperFlex program when he was in speech therapy and so we'll try to find out if this gives him the ability to be able to be flexible enough to handle more situations effectively. I'll let you know how it goes.

Raiding the Recycle Bin

One thing we do in our house to limit the amout of times we must go to throw something in our recycling bin (which is outside on the far side of the house due to HOA rules) was to make one for in our house that is just a plain old cardboard box. It has worked wonderfully so we don't have to run out there every few hours to put something in.
I was quite surprised one day to find my 6 yr old had raided the recycle bin. He had gotten out tape, glue, markers... and you know the rest working on some brilliant creation. The amazing thing I have realized when I watch him do this is he ends up typically creating an object that fill his sensory needs. For instance, if he's craving noise he finds things that make noise such as tin cans and pencils. If he's craving slime most likely he'll get into the glue or paint and so forth. I didn't notice this until today. Seeing he is an undiagnosed high functioning autistic* it is very good to see him use his imagination that is not based off of a movie of some sort.
It's amazing what he can come up with but also that he is finding out how to create things to fill his sensory needs without knowing it. It takes me a while to realize he's doing this sometimes because I have to focus on the object he got, what he's doing with it, and how he is using it. It's quite cool to see his imagination soar with a bunch of recycled products.

*I used the term undiagnosed high functioning autistic because his neurologist finally told me that he has too many characteristics to not be on the spectrum somewhere. We have also tried lots of medications and so forth to control various behaviors but it hasn't worked out well and I eventually gave up. I'll need to actually contact his neurologist again here soon.

Braille Books for Blind Children

I ran across a resource for parents with blind children who use Braille that I thought I would share. It is a program that gives 2 books per year to children who are blind that have braille up to the age of 21 or so that's the way the program appears at at least. Anyhow, I don't have a blind child or what that has issues with sight but this might be a good resource for families that do rely upon braille.

Anna's Book Angel Project