Wednesday, November 4, 2009

In Which Connor Does Things When He's Good And Ready

This morning at physical therapy, Connor sat up for thirty minutes! What a big boy he's getting to be!

It was really interesting to watch the way his sensory issues affected his balance: when he was playing with a familiar toy his balance was fantastic, but if you put a new, strange toy in front of him (he hates touching unfamiliar toys) then he got all wobbly because he couldn't handle focusing on the new toy and focusing on sitting at the same time. The second you put the old toy back in front of him his balance magically improved! It was a pretty dramatic demonstration of how his sensory integration disorder affects him; he can't handle more than one or two major stimuli at once without being totally overloaded. All the same he's come a long, long way from where he was six months or a year ago, and we're so proud of him!

I also talked with Connor's feeding therapist today; Connor has decided that he's not going to swallow any of his food at school. He'll open his mouth for it, but then after a minute or two of holding it in his mouth he'll just spit it out. His therapist pointed out that the child thrives on routine, and that if the classroom is noisy he may be having the same problem that he did when he was trying to sit and play with a new toy; too many stimuli. He can't watch the other kids and focus on eating at the same time. At home, in a quiet, familiar area, he swallows his food without any trouble.

So she suggested that rather than having them use any techniques to get him to swallow, that they either have him sit in an area off by himself or turn him so he's not facing all of the other kids and doesn't have as much visual stimulus. Then it's a matter of letting him get used to school and the routine-- which for this kid could take somewhere between six weeks and six months. Once he's comfortable, he'll start swallowing. It's slow and steady wins the race with the little guy, and he's inherited a healthy dose of stubborn mule from both sides of the family, so if he doesn't want to do something there will be no persuading him otherwise.

So we'll try it and see how it works. He's a funny, funny little guy, isn't he?



Kristin said...

Even with the challenges Connor faces, I think he's trying to remind you that as awesome as he is, he's a regular little kid too. Out of no where, Josh started letting dinner fall out of his mouth and down his shirt. Like the effort to chew and swallow was too much or it was his protest to my cooking. It lasted a couple weeks and pops up here and there if he's being particularly stubborn. ;) hopefully Connor will move through this quickly!

Julia O'C said...

Oh, we're learning similar things about Emmett! He just started preschool this fall. Being stubborn is a good trait for kids like ours, I think. When they decide that they're ready to learn something new, they don't stop until they've got it. Quitting is not an option.

Hey, did you get the books and theraputty I sent?

Niksmom said...

Sounds exactly like what my Nik (almost 6 now) went through...all of it. For a while it seemed to work when we gave him a favorite toy to focus on while eating so it helped him block out the classroom chaos.

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