Jsack's Mom's Blog

Welcome to my blog where I share my special needs parenting journey with my heart, truth, and love, one story at a time. ❤️

Sensory Processing Disorder in the classroom

My son has had a long journey in his five years. He was born a month premature and didn’t open up his eyes for his first five days on the earth. Even back then he knew he was sensory overwhelmed with his welcome to the world. Most Moms have babies crying when they make their exit from the spa into the brightness of a hospital OR. Not my son he was sleeping in my OB’s arms as he was brought over the sheet to check his vitals. 

From that day forward he found his voice and expressed himself fully with the power of his lungs. He was a cuddly baby that never like to be put down to sleep and was rolling back and forth at 4 days old! Then he grew into a bash and crash toddler that scared me with his antics of climbing up a five shelf bookshelf and jumping onto the couch. Now he’s grown up so much I wish time could slow down and I could swaddle that sweet baby he used to be. 

He’s 5 now and recently diagnosed with autism and co-morbidities to watch out for, and attending kindergarten and I have routine  that I do for him in the morning to prepare him for the day. He’s not a morning person after two years with obstructive sleep apnea so every morning is a little more jarring to his central nervous system. We start slow and easy in the morning with the routine of wake up, eat breakfast, get dressed, and get his backpack ready for school. All shown with his visual pictures to keep him on task. 

Regulation 

 He needs to be emotionally and physically regulated with his central nervous system before he steps into his classroom so I have a morning cuddle with him and give him a deep pressure massage to wake up his senses slowly. He then gets fed, dressed, washed, and then coat, shoes, backpack are put on. If he’s feeling antsy I have him jump on his minitramp for 1 minute. That amount of time can balance him out and then crab walks to the door with some heavy work to prepare him for sitting. 

Stimulation

Now that’s he’s awake and ready to start his day he can become overly stimulated by what he sees around him. I help him focus by putting on his glasses so he can single out each object. His classroom is a busy place so I know this cuts down on all the visual distractions. Noise and commotion are difficult input for my son to process so he has his noise cancelling headphones in his backpack to block out the overstimulation. If he doesn’t wear them he will stim and compete with the noise with his vocal power to cancel out the offending auditory trigger. 

Oral Fixation

My son tends to chew on his sleeves, cuffs, collar of his clothes so after he’s dressed I make sure he has his chewlery. He’s a shark and ocean marine life lover so he has his shark on a cord and wears it as a necklace. He doesn’t always like to wear it but I tell him that sharky’s there to help if he feels nervous. It saves his clothes and gives him the sensory input he needs for his low muscle tone in his jaw. 

Motor Planning

He has difficulties with  transitions so I make sure that I use visual supports to keep him on task. First we use his visual picture cards so he can see his morning routine. Then I draw them on the white board in a 3 step format of first, then, after. As he completes each task he erases it feeling accomplished and ready to start his day. 

Zones of Regulation

Each day my son and I will go through the zones of regulation where he will tell me what each colour is to express a feeling or action. When he’s unable to express how he’s feeling verbally he will tell me a colour. 

  • Blue is feeling sad or tired. 
  • Yellow is feeling scared or nervous. 
  • Green is happy and smiling.
  • Red is angry and frustrated. 

Verbal Diahrrea 

My son enjoys talking so I need to show him how to take turns with having a conversation as his receptive language skills are severe. He can have tunnel vision and want to be the only one talking and expressing his thoughts. I have a Popsicle stick that he coloured with one side is red and the other is green. He holds the stick and when it’s green he’s a go for talking. When it’s red then he has to stop and let someone else talk, namely his teacher. 

The visuals keep him on track and help with his slower processing time. We all know the adage it takes a village to raise a child. When you have a child with special needs that village grows. Now we prepare for him to be assessed by the school psychologist so he can qualify for an aid in the classroom. It’s not an easy process because sometimes my son doesn’t want to be organized and given direction so it becomes more of a dance. He takes a step and we each take turns leading. One thing I know that everything we do is to prepare him for success in the classroom. 

Welcome to the Sensory Blog Hop — a monthlygathering of posts from sensory bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution  . Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about what it’s like to have Sensory Processing Disorder and to raise a sensory kiddo!

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This could be heaven, or this could be hell

The floor feels cool on my skin as I lay here with my cheek pressed into it. I’m lying here trying to ground myself, regulate my senses, and to stop the earth from spinning. I go to rise but I can’t move, my tear stained face is stuck to the linoleum so I’ll lay here longer. I’m trying to process everything that was said, all the questions I was asked, how many times I tried to get my son to stop opening the door to escape.

I had a meeting with a new pediatrician and she was assessing my sons for developmental disorders. First my youngest didn’t even want to stay in the office. He was scared and kept running away. He wasn’t interested in the toys or snacks I brought he just wanted to leave. As the meeting went on he felt my energy becoming more and more tense because he was at the point where he was stimming.

So he rolls on the floor seeking sensory input in this tiny office. So I gather him up and bounce him on my knees and encourage to play with some toys. This is the first Ped clinic I’ve seen without toys. The Dr brings in a magnetic wall picture and he plays with that for awhile. With his sensory condition he doesn’t sit still at all and its worst in new situations. He grows bored of the picture and tries to climb up onto the counter. I proceed to pick him up and rock as I would at home. Giving him deep pressure hugs the whole time and whispering I love you you’re safe in his ear over and over again.

My heart is aching as I feel his heart beat like a rapid fire drum solo. My hands are clenched around his back and I’m not letting him go till he’s ready. Then it’s time for the Dr to give him an exam and he won’t let her touch him. So we settle for him sitting on the bed and more he relaxes with a massage and input that his senses are craving. Then my husband arrives and we tag team out, and he takes the littlest home and I take the eldest in for his appointment.

I finish up with the Dr with my youngest information and we start my oldest sons questionnaire. As ten minutes ticks by , I can sense and see his boredom. So I hand him my phone to keep him occupied. He’s slouching and then hunched over building his mine craft world as I’m fully into the questions. Then my battery dies and he’s back to frustration and a loud audible sigh escaped his lips. Well that’s enough for the Dr to say something about his disrespect not being appreciated.

I’m mortified I wonder who is this child and what have you done with mine? My Captain who’s polite, respectful to his elders and obeys authority. Well not today he’s too tired, bored, and frustrated as he has to endure hearing me talking about him. Which always makes me uncomfortable, but if I don’t he won’t get the help he needs. So she starts asking him questions, as he plays with the fidget in his hands keeping him calm and regulated.

He talks about his nightmares, anxiety about new friends turning into enemies, Pokemon cards, and being bullied in his new school. My heart grows heavier with each admission of his truth. I have to hold myself together, as I feel I could crumble like powdery snow on a warm winter day. We reach the end of our appointment and make another for the physical exam. I receive information and paperwork and drive us home. Inside the truck I firmly but gently ask him how he could correct his behavior for his next visit.

He tells me he’s sad all the time, and always does the wrong thing and it’s all his fault. Then the tears start to flow, both his and mine. As he pours out his heart about how he can’t get his brain to stop and then he says the wrong thing. I tell him I understand and I love him, followed by his admonishment that I don’t get it, and no I don’t! I don’t fight or power struggle I just let my silent tears fall down my face. We arrive home in time to quickly get him ready for hockey practice.

I’m grabbing his gear and getting him dressed and he’s yelling and saying he’s tired, he doesn’t want to go, leave me alone etc. If his team didn’t need him for an upcoming tournament I would’ve let him stay home. But I knew he’d feel better after moving, occupational therapy induced exercise, and being with his team mates. After he leaves with his Dad, I set my little one up with a movie. I proceed to close my door and sit on my floor and cry.

So this brings me back to where I am lying, while my tears fall into a puddle on the floor. I’m trying to process it all as the Dr said my sons require further testing for what she suspects is ASD, OCD, ODD, and ADHD. The letters start to swim around in my head as I struggle to lift myself off of the sticky linoleum. I know whatever the outcome is my sons are more than a label put on them. Letters+a label = equals funding. So I’m able to put them into cutting edge programs like Brain Gym, workshops about art therapy, and neurology. And to also cover travel expenses back and forth to appointments.

So that’s a good thing, it’s just hearing the words and applying them to my precious kids doesn’t compute with me. I think back to when my youngest Mad dog (I’m using nicknames I assure you to protect their identities) was called a mystery when I had him assessed last year. He was given the label of Sensory Modulation Disorder (seeker of sensory input). Further testing could be required if I had wished. So here we are today finding out something I’ve known all along and just got confirmation.

I need something desperately to get back the respring in my step. To make me hit the ground running, and onto my next advocating adventure. Something to make me smile, laugh, and feel happy that I’m breathing the God given air into my lungs. But today my super Mom cape is in the dryer and I’m feeling weak and vulnerable. I need to grieve for the regular life I envisioned for my sons.

And as I dry my tears, I know I have my bunker punk family rallying and supporting me. As all those awesome autism and neurotypical parents have given me hope, information, guidance, understanding, and most of all their love. For this support will lead me to taking it one day at a time. While I retrace my thoughts back to my happy place, and get the spring back into my step. 💖

This has been my take on the daily prompt Re-springing your step

Re-springing Your Step

as part of my Blogging 101 assignment. Thank you for being here and sharing my journey. 💗

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*Image used with permission from http://www.simpleeserene.com. Photo found on SubbotinaAnna/shutterstock.com

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