Another “Doh!” Moment

I don’t know if any other parents of special needs kids have “Doh!” moments, but I do on a regular basis. I don’t know if I’m just not paying attention, or what, but often something that has been staring at me in the face for awhile finally dawns on me, and I feel particularly dense.

Since The Boy was a toddler, we realized he has some sensory issues. In facet, I was researching and learning about sensory processing disorder before I even thought autism was a possibility. Many kids are hyper-sensitive to sensory stimulation – too much noise, too much touch, too much everything. But The Boy was just the opposite. He loved to be crushed in great big hugs, and steamrolled, and tickled, and be in the water for great lengths of time. He needed more sensory input to regulate himself. As he got older, a few variations were thrown in, like aversion to fire drills and loud noises in general, which would be classified as hypersensitive, while still maintaining hypo-sensitivity to other sensations.

pexels-photoFast forward to The Man entering our lives, and me noticing he doesn’t like to hold hands much. Or too much touching in general. Of course, there are times and places… ahem, but in general, if my legs are on his lap too long, he’ll have to get up and move, or if we do hold hands, it will not last longer than 20 seconds. I’ll admit it’s been a little tough for a touchy-feely girl like me, who was raised on hugging and cuddling, and all of that. It wasn’t until last night when I kissed him on his forehead and he almost flinched that the tumblers fell into place. He is probably affected by SPD, on the hypersensitive end.

He and I both have always suspected he may have ADHD – always on the go, doesn’t like to sit and relax, periods of hyper-focus (doesn’t like to be interrupted), etc. and sensory processing disorder is much more likely to be co-morbid with something else like ADHD or autism then as a stand-alone issue.

I’m not trying to diagnose him, believe me. But it helps me understand his responses without being hurt by them, and changes my perspective a bit, which can only help. And yet again, my experiences in life seem to be acutely tailored to the challenges I face. I’m just glad my brain can work this stuff out, even if it isn’t always too quick on the uptake.

 

Custom Built Bed for my Hypo-sensitive Boy

The Boy is often hypo-sensitive, meaning he needs more sensory input than is typical.  He rubs his shoulder on the wall as he walks down the hall, loves big hugs, and could spend all day in the water if we let him.  He needs that extra input on his skin to be able to tell where it ends.  Part of this is that he likes to be under blankets, and in enclosed spaces, as many on the spectrum do, and has taken to hanging out in his closet to achieve the desired effect.  No problem except that he is getting bigger every day, and his closet is not.

I mentioned the other day that The Man had designed and was custom-building a bed modeled after the Captain’s bed style, so that The Boy could have an enclosed space under it in which to hang out.  Here is the (semi-) final result:

custom built bed

I say “semi” because, as you can see, the shutter door has yet to be attached on the end.  The Boy chose the color, and would like the door to be painted the same color, but alas, it is made of plastic, requiring special paint, and well, there’s only so much time in the day.  Some of you IKEA fans, may recognize the dark long piece with drawers that acts as a step and added storage that can be accessed from both underneath and the front of the bed.  It is from the Expedit line, and we used it for sorting the recycling at our old house.  It provides much needed additional storage in The Boy’s new room design.  We got rid of the box spring, and his mattress sits on top of slats, allowing for extra head room underneath.

The best part is that The Boy loves it.  It really is nice to have a husband that fulfills his promises and is incredibly handy.

We’ve Come So Far

When The Boy was little, haircuts were tortuous.  I gave him one at home exactly once.  Plopped him in his high chair, and it went OK, besides the fact that it took me two hours…  After that, we went to the Fantastic Sam’s, or the Great Clips, or whatever was the latest one in the strip mall nearby, and he would scream and cry, and I just didn’t know how else to do it.  Some of the ladies cutting his hair were lovely people.  Others were less than lovely, roughly yanking his chin this way and that, easily frustrated by his inability to be calm and compliant.  This was all before his diagnosis, of course.

Then I had an epiphany and we began to bring a milkshake with us, which kept him happy and distracted.

Nowadays, I don’t even have to go with him.  Sometimes he goes with his Poppy, sometimes with The Man.  He still isn’t a fan of the clippers, but he has come a long way since needing a milkshake just to get through it.

And when he’s done nowadays, he looks like a man.  *sigh*…

haircut

We’re Trying an Old Idea for a Slightly New Reason

This is not a new idea.  Parents of NT (neuro-typical) kids have used these for eons to get their kids to be organized and to help them get ready more efficiently in the morning.  But I’m using it for slightly different reasons…

“What is it, already??” you are asking… It is the 6 Shelf Sweater Sorter:

kinda hard to see, I know - bad lighting in The Boy's room

kinda hard to see, I know – bad lighting in The Boy’s room

Ta-Da!

Yes, yes.  Organization, check.  Efficient Use of Time, check.  Not wearing the same clothes everyday, wha..??

My child has a signature outfit – he wears it every opportunity he can (which is sometimes several days in a row).  He has a thing with clothes.  The summer between splitting up and the official divorce, The Boy wore the same lime green T-shirt every single day.  Lots of tiny little loads of wash for me.

How does he get away with wearing the same thing several days in a row?  He wears a different hoodie, zips it all the way up, and waits to appear until we have to walk out the door.  And there are times when I do not fight it, even when I should.  To help me enforce the social code of not-wearing-the-same-outfit-every-single-day, I enlisted the help of the 6 Shelf Sweater Sorter.  Each shelf is a place for an outfit for each day of the week, except for Sunday, because we often spend one entire day of the weekend in our jammies anyway.  Tonight, we placed an entire week’s worth of outfits (including socks, underwear, and hoodies) into the sorter, and I’m hoping that The Boy will follow the implied and implicit rules of the Sorter, that he will wear what is in the space for that designated day, and he will not change his mind and scrounge things off the floor to wear.

If this fails, I will have to go to Old Navy and buy 6 more of every piece in his signature outfit.

I really hope this works…