Friday, August 29, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday: A Sensory Evaluation, A Pregnancy Update, and Why I'm Thankful

One of the things I've been incredibly grateful for this past year is all the amazing therapists that we've been blessed to have in our lives.  This week I was especially aware of that blessing when I received the results of a report from Mae's OT that she did on her own for me, evaluating Sadie.  We've all suspected that Sadie had sensory processing issues, but I was surprised to see the whole report, probably because Sadie's sensory seeking behavior was so overshadowed by Mae's sensory seeking. But it was definitely there and shown through in about 75% of the areas tested in, showing up the most strongly in the vestibular area.

Vestibular dysfunction basically involves balance and knowing (or really in this case not knowing) the position of her limbs in space.  When I began reading more about vestibular functioning (again) I found quite a bit about it's relation to auditory processing (which is another area with big red flags) and problems with the inner ear.  And it makes me wonder if it relates to the many, many ear infections she had in her first years of life (something like 18 in 18 months).  Sadie's vestibular system under-registers her movements.

Reading about the signs of kids with sensory seeking vestibular problems is like reading about either of the girls .

Sadie with her always moving, spinning, jumping, non-stop movements and her love of the fastest rides at Disney World when she was all of three years of age (she loved Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain and because she was so tall she could actually go on them at that age) seems like the portrait of a kid who's dealing with a under registering vestibular system.

Right now I'm finding roller skating is a huge, huge help.  I had her skate for about fifteen minutes before school yesterday morning and then had her get up and do a few laps around the living room after each subject and it was amazing how much easier reading was!

I'm going a little stir crazy.  Not being able to walk long (or pretty much any) distances is definitely the challenge of this pregnancy.  Yesterday we went to the grocery store to pick up a few things. It was a quick trip... maybe twenty minutes from the time we walked in until we walked out, just picking up things that we needed, and I was only a few minutes in to walking around before the very real contractions started.  Of course they stop as soon as I sit down.

Since walking is such a big part of our lives normally not being able to walk for more than few minutes is definitely a big change.  And I just have to keep reminding myself that sitting down so much is not being lazy (because sitting around this much feels really, really lazy in my head) but definitely seems to be a required part of keeping this little guy safely in place for the next month and a half!

An outtake from the weekly photo taking process.
(because I just can't call snapping a picture with my computer a "photo shoot")

For the last two days Maggie has been making huge strides.  She's talking so fast in therapy that no one can keep up with her word count.  It hasn't quite carried over to outside of therapy... usually our conversations revolve around the word "mermaid" being repeated (it might be one of the only words I hear all day once therapy ends) or "yellow fish," and she's as likely to sign to express what she wants as to say it (and the child acquires signs like nothing else... they aren't part of therapy but her sister watches Signing Time, maybe once a month on Netflix and she won't even be in the room, but she will watch Sadie from the other room where she can't see the TV and will pick up the signs Sadie is copying and use them to make requests for just about anything she wants).

I'm so thankful for all the tools she's mastering and all ways that she's finding to communicate!

I think we're also realizing that if you want to hear Mae talk, get her drawing.  She loves to draw (and look at books) and could probably spend all day at the table drawing balloons and flowers and mermaids and faces.

These days it's almost all about mermaids!

Sadie's getting to the point where she's getting more and more independent doing her school work.  While math has been a breeze, reading has, on and off, been a struggle.  During the last week I've realized, however that giving her the reading book and having her do the lesson on her own and then having her read it to me once she's read it over by herself is way more effective than anything we've done so far.  Today reading was followed by giving her a paper with 30 math problems that she proceeded to do by herself.  When I ask if she needs help she's pretty adamant that she absolutely doesn't.

Maggie is in therapy at the moment and is currently trying to jump in her skates.  Because apparently zooming across the hardwood floors in skates isn't daring enough.

We just had this conversation while Sadie was coloring a picture of a baby being baptized in her religion workbook:

Sadie:  "This is a picture of Maggie being baptized.  What was I doing when Maggie was baptized?"
Me:  "You were being pretty wild."
Sadie:  "I was.  What was I wearing?"
Me:  "A pink and yellow dress.  But all you wanted to do was run around.  You didn't want to be in any of the pictures."
Sadie:  "It was because I was so excited that Maggie was being baptized!"

The wildness just couldn't be contained.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


  1. I thought of your Mae when I read this. I don't personally know this boy's mother, but she posted it in a FB group we're both in -- Roses are Red for Autism

  2. I hope this doesn't come off as condescending or rude... I don't mean it to be. But what did we do before every single quirk and difference was a "diagnosis?" Can't kids just be weird, or dorky, or clumsy, or whatever? Not saying that is your child, but I mean back in my day we just had kids that were naughty, weird, rowdy, etc. and that was life. I am so conflicted about how every single difference in kids is diagnosable now as a problem vs. just being who that kid is. Not every kid is smart, socially inclined, athletic, etc. But I feel like parents just can't accept that their child isn't smart, or athletic, or socially popular anymore - they have to get a diagnosis to explain it! Not saying that is you at all. I have no idea. Just saying, it seems like so many kids have a diagnosis now that wouldn't have 10 or 20 years ago. Can that much of our population have problems or are we just intolerant of differences? Or are parents not punishing their children enough so they get wild, naughty, etc. and then the parents hope for a diagnosis instead of looking in the mirror and realizing they haven't properly disciplined or socialized their kids. I don't know the answer, I just know that wow every single thing now gets services.

    Anne Elizabeth

  3. Hi Anne Elizabeth,

    Just saying, usually when you start a statement with "I hope this doesn't come off as condescending or rude" it's likely going to. After all, if you didn't know it was, you probably wouldn't feel the need to say it, right? I always kind of try to stop myself when I find myself starting something in that way or with the more common "no offense" because when we say those words it's usually because we know what follows is rude and offensive.

    When Sadie tested for large motor skills she tested in the lowest one percentile for her age group. I don't know if you've ever seen the level of clumsiness that it takes to test in that area but let's just say that it's kind of dangerous. It involves a lot of bruises.

    I used to think quite a bit like you do and was adamant that neither of my kids needed services. And then I actually began to learn about the challenges that they were struggling with. And I learned how ignorant and uninformed my thoughts on the subject were before because that's what they were. You're making guesses and statements with no founding, no research, no education. You're probably parroting what you've heard other people say, or you're pulling it out of thin air. Either way, you're basically assuming you know more than parents, caregivers and doctors.

    I don't actually worry about my daughter academically or socially. She excels in both those areas. Sensory processing disorder doesn't mean a kid is below average or anything else. It means they're bodies aren't processing stimuli correctly and they need a little extra help. OT can make a world of difference and if there's something I can do to help that will make a world of difference than I'll certainly do it.

    You just might want to actually learn about the things you're talking about before you actually talk about them. That way, next time, maybe you won't come across as condescending or rude. K?

  4. I wish my daugther was naughty. I wish I was a neglecting mother who did not try enough. I wish she was irrespectful.
    That way she would grow out of it.
    Instead she has a mental illness, diagnosed at 4 yo, yes, that severe.
    She'll never grow out of it.
    She'll have a hard time getting an education, getting a job, holding a job.
    And she'll need a good job, a job you can only get with education and tenure to pay for the therapy shje'll need *just to act like a normal human being*.
    I wish she was naugthy. I really do.
    But I've knoew naugthy children, and let me tell you, she's different.
    May you be blessed with the gift of never knowing from experience.

  5. My younger sister received an SPD diagnosis for both her sweet boys this year, ages 2 and 4, and the difference having services (PT, OT, psych) has been life changing for their family.

    Is it still hard as hell and probably more exhausting than a typical parent's worst day ever? Um, yes. There is nothing that can be 'fixed' in terms of helping these kids process information the way the rest of us do; that isn't the point. The reason these services exist (and please God let them become more readily available to families who are struggling and suffering) is to help these parent/child pairs communicate. Imagine how you might feel as a mother, Anne Elizabeth, if you could not speak the same language as your child. Now imagine someone can come in to your home and act as an interpreter - wouldn't you be desperately happy?

    I hate that you said what you said about Cammie's family and her precious girls, and I hate that your first inclination was to spew judgement and ignorance over the blogpost of a mother who is heroically struggling to meet her children's needs, and I hope that when you do encounter someone in the midst of this struggle in person - because they are everywhere - you can offer something more merciful to them.

  6. I think you need to go back and read what I actually said because I said ZERO about Mrs. Wollner's family. It was more just speaking in general and I went to lengths to make it clear I did not know the particulars of these girls. I am
    Simply amazed by the number of kids with diagnoses these days and am wondering what is up. Not that many or most aren't legitimate, but I also know parents whose kids are simply unpopular with poor social skills looking for "help" to make their kid normal. I am not saying Mrs.wollner did this at all! I just wonder if there is becoming and more and more narrow idea of what is acceptable for a child to be.
    Anne Elizabeth

  7. Cam,

    I've been out of town and just saw these posts. My audiologist daughter said that you are likely right on the money with regard to the effects of Sadie's frequent ear infections on her auditory processing. Mary Kate said that those repeated infections likely deprived the auditory processing portion of her brain of consistent information. She suggested a game called "Bop It" that is often used with children with auditory processing problems. There is also software called "Earobics" which can help with reading difficulties.

    With regard to "Anonymous" and her observations: of course there have always been children who are "weird, or dorky or clumsy". We just know now that there are - sometimes - reasons for these behaviors of which we were previously ignorant, e.g., "diagnoses."

  8. A simple look at human history provides a much simpler answer to why there are so many more kids today with special needs diagnoses than in the past. Most of the cognitive differences come with associated physical issues that would have made survival in a world with no antibiotics or other modern medicine much more difficult, not to mention simple survival making many more opportunities for dangerous accidents unavoidable. Take a look at the tragic rates of infant and childhood mortality in past centuries, and then ask if they would have been skewed toward kids with weakened immune systems and less ability to avoid fireplaces, sharp knives, large farm animals. I have four kids who in six years have scored one total antiobiotic prescription for a singular ear infection, but today that is not the norm, and thankfully does not have to be. But as more people with what some would term genetic weaknesses survive to adulthood, lead productive lives, and have children, the prevalence of diagnoses will increase by simple biology. And for those of us who are pro life in all its forms and flavors, that is a good thing. The increase is not only real, it should be expected.


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