So my son was enjoying going to school for the most part. He liked his teachers and they liked him.
The teacher stated that depending on the size of the group my son could sustain his attention for approximately ten to fifteen minutes. In his most distractible moments he required external support to refocus his attention and to maximize his performance. He learned best during activities that relied on visual (seeing) and tactile ( touching and doing). He also needed his activities to include gross motor movement by using large muscle tasks being integrated into the lessons. He had the most difficulty with lessons that used auditory approaches for learning such as listening to directions. He was able to discriminate an object by color, shape, or size however it became problematic when he was asked to classify it by more then one attribute (Example: Color and Shape). He was unable to consistently rote count. He had limited ability to identify letters and numbers. He also had difficulty being able to re-tell a simple story in sequential order (First/ Next/ Last.)
At home my son was very loving and affectionate. However, there were days that when I would hold him I was unable to caress his hair. He would actually flinch as he would see your hand rise towards his head on certain days. But on other days, I could sit and stroke his hair and it did not bother him. Once, he became a bit more verbal he was also able to express that certain clothing made his skin feel like “it was on fire”. It was anything that was made of fleece which most people would have found comfortable. But not him!!! Fleece was excruciating pain and screaming. He also could not stand jeans or shirts that had a rougher feeling silkscreen on them. And of course, all tags MUST be cut out of his shirts.
Also forget haircuts!!! We had tried once. His first haircut was at our friend the barber’s. Okay, I know most kids cry or maybe scream for their first haircut. But do they flail so much that they end up kicking the barber right in the Family Jewels? Needless, to say we never took him for another haircut out. My husband figured out shortly afterwards that our son preferred the buzzer then scissors, thus the reason for years afterwards he always had short military looking haircuts. We also figured that he would FLIP OUT if a hair would land on him. Therefore, we had a system now! Okay first my son would have to get absolutely naked. Then I would make sure the shower was on and the right temperature (Hot, very hot)! After that I would wrap him in a towel like a cocoon. And then Daddy got the buzzer! At first he also sat on my lap but after some time he was able to sit all wrapped up by himself. Then soon as the buzzer would stop, we quickly unwrapped him and he jumped into the shower. Okay so this was pre-school but what would happen as he got older? Naked haircuts till 30??? I worried and I also went back to the internet.
I found out about something called the “Wilbarger Brushing Protocol”. It involved giving deep pressure by brushing the child’s arms, back and legs with a soft white surgical looking brush. It needed to be done in a slow methodical manner. Following this procedure, the child would need to receive gentle compressions to the various joints of the child’s body. An occupational therapist would usually administer this therapy and then could train the parent as well. The therapy had gotten good feedback and was said to reduce sensory defensiveness as well as improve behavior and the comfort of the child in their surroundings and environment. So I spoke with the occupational therapist at school and the brushing began both at home and in school. It seemed weird but I was desperate. Over time the brushing did help but it was not the answer all. It was just one of the many therapies that would soon come.
On the home front, things were pretty good. Of course, when we had company or went out that was a different story. I’ll give you just two of many examples but these two stand out in my mind.
So I had my family over. My son was his normal rambunctious self when company was over. Perhaps some would have thought he was the Tasmanian Devil but to me he was Mommy’s angel. Everyone had left. As I was walking my mother to her car she made some comment to me about my son. And as much as I love my Mom is as much as I can rip her head off at times. I’m sure some of you can relate to mother daughter battles. So I’m trying to explain my son’s behavior to my Mom defending his actions. He is with us too. She turns around and tells me to stop making excuses. And because she did not want to hurt my son because he was within an earshot she says, “Your son was just being a B R A T!” She spelled it out so he wouldn’t hear her say this. I remember these people walking their dog down the street hearing us raise our voices and spelling things out. They must have thought we were crazy! I went back at her and said, “Well my son’s Grandmother is a B I T C H!” Not our best moment on either of our parts but that is what stress can do!
Then there was a time that we all attended a house party. It was an engagement party for a very close friend and my son’s godmother. The future bride and grooms immediate family as well as the bridal party were invited with our spouses. I was in the bridal party. And I was the only one with child so he had been invited too. My son had actually been on pretty good behavior. I was relieved. We sat down to eat. My son was chattering a bit and knocked some of his food on the floor. The bride’s mom who I knew from the time I was in kindergarten said, “Don’t worry.” But then one of the other woman in the bridal party turned to me and said, “This is great that you brought your son. It is great birth control!!!” I felt horrible and hurt but I never said anything back because this was my childhood friends special day. I just grinned and continued eating but inside I was devastated.
This was a feeling as time went on I would feel over and over again…
Copyrighted 2011: danadogooder and DMT