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.

Boy Bonding

The Man and The Boy have a ritual.  When The Man is here (or when we are there), they have evening wrestling matches, which are entertainment for everyone in the room.  Here, we have an old futon mattress, which we use as a crash pad, and that is our “wrestling mat”.  They have three rounds of two minutes apiece, and they try to take each other down (The Man uses this time to try to teach him actual wrestling moves).  This allows them to be goofy, and have their own “thing” that The Boy looks forward to all day long.  The Boy even dresses like a luchador, complete with mask and sometimes long underwear, and this week, The Man even got into it and developed his own costume.  It was one of the funniest things I have ever seen, but I think he would kill me if I posted pictures of him, so you will have to settle for pictures of The Boy.

The Luchador

Without really knowing it, they are also providing The Boy with much needed (and craved) deep pressure, as The Boy is often hyposensitive (the type of kid who crashes into walls and loves water because s/he can’t always feel where his/her skin ends).  It’s also a fantastic way for them to relate to each other and build their own fond memories of each other.