Today was speech therapy - I love these days. I feel all fired up, full of new ideas and energy to tackle our problems. Our ST (speech therapist) brought an OT (occupational therapist) to help zero in on the sensory issues. GREAT ideas came out of the talk and play. First of all, Carver just eats up all the attention. He loves these friends who come to play with him. It's hilarious to see him show off and so good for him to have special time. He wanted to wear Daddy's hats and it was so interesting to watch him try to feel that it was on even though it was so loose, searching for a way to make it tight. I love seeing more and more confirmation that his "diagnosis" is perfect.
Here's the tips/ideas that came from today:
pictures of our routine - ST brought laminated cards she'd made from pictures I sent of our daily routine to put on a velcro strip. I can put them in order, let him pull them off and see what's coming next. It's not attached to anything yet, I'm working on how to use it on the go.
thick drinks from a straw (strengthen muscles, satisfy oral cravings). Maybe use frozen fruit/ice to reduce calories. :)
satisfying snacks - crunchy, chewy, spicy, etc... wasabi peas, frozen veggies/grapes
compression exercises -saying "squish" as you press in and down with your hands on chest/back
inflatable seat cushion - gives opportunities to wiggle and sit in his place ($3 REI for an inflatable camping pillow)
heavy backpack - 5-10% of his body weight, builds muscle tone and body awareness
play with texture - rice/beans in a container to scoop, feel (rotate for variety). Can use a sheet underneath to contain the mess and make it easy to clean up.
"chewy tube" - Provides more stimulation, more age appropriate than a pacifier. ST will bring it next time.
rubbing his face, cheeks - stimulate muscles, kind of "wakes up" his face.
jumping - I'm still going to keep working on it. Off the couch into cushions, the stairs, anything.
vibrating toys - on his cheeks (when are you going to get that vibrating toothbrush, Rachael!!)
We talked about brushing today, as well - a technique used more for hypersensitive kids, but one that might help Carver. You use a small hand held brush 5 minutes at a time, every 2 hours-ish for 2 weeks or so. The protocol is taught by the OT and needs to be done correctly to be effective. It triggers the brain to release neurochemicals that help organize these kids. It might be an option later, but the spio suit (more on this soon) is a better approach for school situations because it doesn't require any special training. He'd just wear it under his clothes and we'd be set. So we're going to start with the suit and keep brushing as a back-up plan.
They noticed how much more he's watching our mouths to imitate sounds (YEA!) and his efforts to speak continue to increase. He was drooling a lot. We changed his shirt just at the start of therapy and still, there was a good 4-6" band under his chin at the end of the hour. I think that he drools most when he concentrates on other parts of his body. He worked hard today, just playing around with them. He wanted his "yum, yum" (pacifier) the last 5 minutes and found it on his own after begging for awhile and searching high and low, so I let him keep it. He was exhausted and is napping now.
He handled his redirection very well today when he was sitting on the piano keys. He found a "wheels on the bus" book with the song printed at the end so marched straight to the piano and wanted to play it. how cute is that? cuter than when he wanted to turn around and sit on the keys. No tantrums over the redirection, though. that was great. He handled the "no" for a movie better, too.
But the best news was.... drumroll.... our ST said he's a shoe-in for preschool in the fall. She's be VERY surprised if he didn't qualify. The district rep who came in the spring indicated to her that he would be a great candidate. HURRAY!!!! I've been hoping and trying not to hope and now I just feel so grateful and excited. You talk about school around Carver and he says, "me, me!" with his arm up. And a bus that comes to our house to get him? It doesn't get better than that. AND the good news just keeps coming. After he meets all his goals and doesn't qualify for the therapy aspect of the preschool, he will have first choice to become a peer model and STAY at the preschool til kindergarten. We'll have to pay at that point, but I don't think it's an expensive program. Other districts don't let the therapy kids come back as peer models so I am thrilled. Maybe this is one of the reasons we felt so good about this area - maybe living here is all for Carver.
My heart is always full after speech therapy. It's as much for me as it is for Carver. I don't always get to try everything they suggest because of budget/time constraints, but I do what I can. I can't say enough what a great program this is!