i am just going to type and see what comes out.
at hadley's 3 year well visit with her pediatrician i brought up my two concerns with hadley, which were her clothing issues (read about that here) and how she still puts everything in her mouth. both of which were issues in there own right. the clothing since she definitely doesn't dress weather appropriate and the mouth thing was a worry because i didn't want to see her choke on anything. she was putting toys, rubber bands, jewelry, coins, fingers, feet, etc in her mouth still, like a baby would. i didn't think that was the norm for a 3 year old. her ped recommended we get hadley evaluated by an occupational therapist. easy enough.
her first OT evaluation was 2 hours long. basically they had me fill out lots of questionnaires on had's behavior and they watched hadley do an array of activities from playing with beans, to finger painting, climbing, riding, and walking. all to see what she could do, how she did it, and what was her reaction when doing certain activities. her evaluation resulted in had's diagnosis of sensory processing disorder. i can say i was and i wasn't surprised by this. i really thought hads had issues with those two areas but kind of just thought that was all there was to it. once they said sensory processing, it kind of made sense. as i started to read up on it, i could see that she really fit into the category. a lot of the things that i just chalked up to being toddler behavior or hadley quirks were really indicative of this sensory issue.
obviously all of her issues with clothes, shoes, and "moutheness"(great new word) are a result of this and were of no surprise. how she doesn't like to feel certain textures on her skin, not liking clothes or her shoes to "shake," as she calls it, and not liking the way any bumps or strings feel in her socks are all issues of hads. as are pushing her pant legs and coat sleeves up. all of these things i could see how they put her into the spd category. it was things like walking on her tip toes, picking her nose till it bleeds(which she does nightly to put herself to sleep), not letting us kiss her, not being overly touchy-feely with us, bothered by certain smells (sadly, she was quick to tell me to look the other way in the morning because i smelled. nice, right), not liking loud noises and covering her ears with her hands in reaction to it, being a picky eater, not liking her hair brushed or styled in anyway that involved clips or bands, chewing on everything, forcefully and randomly crashing into me, hanging on me, and quick to tantrum when something is just "off" in her eyes are all things that hads does that are in line with spd as well. i am not sure why i did not put that together sooner.
hadley is about 4 sessions into her occupational therapy. we are learning a lot. we immediately started the wilbarger brushing therapy at home. of course her therapist taught us how to do this because i had absolutely no idea what to do. we were supposed to brush her arms, legs, and back every 2 hours and immediately follow that up with joint compressions. joint compressions could be done manually or simply by having her jump up and down. however, seeing how the husband and i both work full-time, we would brush hadley in the morning and then twice in the evening. we did try to stick to the every 2 hours of brushing on the weekend. we did it like this for the first two weeks. now we try to remember to do it a few times a day or even once a day when we are terribly forgetful parents. hadley really enjoys this brushing technique. i think it both soothes her and gives her the sensation her body craves. i am hopeful that this method will eventually improve hadley's clothing issues, which still exist. i don't expect immediate results but do see some positive changes already in her.
hadley is a sensory seeker so her OT involves a lot of heavy work like pushing heavy items(bin w beans in it), pulling herself on a scooter using her arms, bear crawls, crab crawls, rope climbs, and lots of jumping(floor or trampoline). all of these things give her body a sense of pressure on her joints that it seems to crave. her OT suggests hadley do these types of things everyday, aiming for at least one big stint of heavy work for 10 minutes. some days we hit the mark, others not so much. it just isn't ingrained yet and i don't naturally think to make my 3 year old girl do heavy work. then her behavior shows me otherwise. when she is quick to be mean or to have a tantrum, it is then i realize that she hasn't done any.
we are in the process of trying to get our playroom set up so that it is a place where hadley and caroline both get to play and have fun, but also suggests heavy play for hadley. we have a ball pit, slide, sensory table (which is a water table with dry pasta in it right now), and a ball to bounce on. my next additions to the room will be a swing and some scooters. i think in the end the room will be encouraging of active play, which both girls benefit from.
here is the thing though. i am nervous about sensory issues. i don't want my kid, who already has so many health issues, to have anything else major on her plate. i don't want her to have any long term issues with learning, making friends, or even eating. i don't want any other diagnosis to come along with this one because so many of the blogs i have come across show children with spd who also have either or both autism or adhd. i am selfishly praying that hadley's only other hurdle on top of her asthma and reflux is the spd. and i am holding out that OT will take care of a lot of these issues. maybe that isn't fair of me to say i don't want spd or anything else of the like since i know so many other families deal with so much more, but when it is my kid i am talking about, i don't want her to deal with anything. i want life, and all that entails, to come easy to her. i want to be able to understand her and what she thinks and feels. i don't want to have to guess like we do now with her asthma. if there are going to be issues, i prefer clear, concrete ones that have clear, concrete solutions. anything outside of that is just hard.
i don't think hadley's sensory issues let her stand out in a crowd. i think you'd have to spend a certain amount of time with her to see them but they are there and make things tough. one minute she is happy and laughing, the next she is full on tantrum and not very consolable. we really have a hard time distinguishing what is just basic 3 year old toddler behavior vs the spd thing. i do remember three being the hardest age with caroline when she was little so it does act as a good reminder that this age is generally tough.
i am a little overwhelmed by it all. i really want to set my kids up for success. here is why i am overwhelmed though... because there is just so much that you have to do and be great at for your kids to be their best. so normally on any given day as a parent i would have to encourage imaginative play, work with them on basics like numbers and letters, sing and read to them, paint, color, draw, write, glue, cut, trace, etc. that is a lot. now on top of that let's throw in hard work... so pushing, pulling, jumping, running, crawling, and climbing. and the brushing. also the normal daily things all kids have to do like eat, sleep, and basic hygiene. are there even enough hours in the day? how on earth am i going to accomplish this all in one day for two children? i am already drowning a bit and so, of course, fear i will fail the girls. and the worry. there is lots of that. i worry about caroline again. hadley requires more attention but caroline craves attention. i don't want her to ever feel left out or overlooked. man, this parenting stuff is the toughest thing ever. how do some moms make it look so easy. i can't hide it. it shows in my grey hair and wrinkles that i am overwhelmed.
but once i take a deep breath and step out of my pity party, i can somewhat see everything as a big picture type thing. i realize i just have to do the best i can for both girls one day at a time. that is the reality i need to live in. that is how the girls will both be successful as individuals.
back to hadley and spd, it stinks. wish it wasn't there. we are going to keep her with OT as long as we can, we will do heavy work with her at home, and we will wait and watch to see continued growth with and for her. we sure love this girl a lot, when she is happy, mean, funny, sad, angry, silly, whatever. she is an amazing package and we are so blessed to have her.
here is a first. may not look like much to your average eye, but to my eye i see a girl who is wearing two braids in her hair for he very first time ever. baby steps. yes, please!