Have you ever thrown one of those small rubbery bouncy balls in a very small room? Did it bounce every which way zinging in every direction, bouncing off walls, floor, ceiling, and everything else in the room? If you gave that little ball some stamina to keep it going, it would be very much like my son. He even has a habit of making his own sound effects as he "ZOOM"s, "EERRRRR"s, and sometimes "Bam"s or "Kaboom"s through the house. With this he has a love of all things powdery or sand like; coffee creamer, sugar, salt, instant potatoes, ground coffee, etc. He likes to spray his face and chest with spray bottles full of water. He loves creamy textures like lotions or butter and will cover himself and everything around him. Also we have pica, he likes to put things in his mouth (most times eating them) that are not food items; sand, dirt, styrofoam, and chunks of nerftype balls. Armed with this information I went in to the OT's meeting today sure that she was going to tell me he is sensory seeking.
We arrived (quite by mistake) 20 minutes early. He isn't able to sit still very long and has already seen two lovely ladies with perfectly pedicured toes in flip flops. He dives under a chair and slowly inches his way under the chairs and tables lined up in the waiting room. I try to lure him out with his Thomas train, but it's no good. I explain to the lady before he gets to her area that he really likes feet, so when he does reach out from under her chair and grabs her ankle she isn't alarmed. She gets up and helps me move her chair so I am able to grab him. He makes a show of being an airplane zooming around a center post in the room, then counting, and a recital of ABC's, all in courtship of this lady, all in hopes she may consent to let him touch her toes. It was really quite shameless.
I look at the clock and see it is now time for the appointment and start to feel some relief that soon he will be occupied and not doing such a great impression of a ping-pong ball. I see other therapist bring children out of their sessions and the lady whom my son had such admiration for soon leaves with her child. To my aggravation the therapist has not made her appearance yet at five after and more people come in. One of the new people is an attractive woman wearing open toed heals and to my horror I see her toenails are painted red, his favorite. Oh for the love of God!
All he had to do was turn toward her and I saw his little blue eyes get wide. He had almost got a full lunge toward her when I grabbed him, "No, no, no." He recovers quickly and shoots like a bullet down a hall and into a conference room shutting the door on me. I pull him out and keep him on my hip the best I can checking the time, it is now fifteen after, and finally there she is. She sees I am sweating and looking perturbed and quickly gets us in a room where we can go over what the questionnaire tests show.
She first takes us to a conference room and Connor starts climbing, playing with the phone, and then finds the unlocked cabinet with spray cleaners. She sees her folly and decides she knows a much better room. She takes us through a maze of halls to a very small room that has a little pop up tent, three mats and a swing hanging form the ceiling that looks like a punching bag, the wall with the door is a huge window looking out into the hall.
The test show Sensory sensitive. Huh? She starts on a quick spill about how sometimes these are wrong and we needed to start a sensory diet, we would start with "Heavy Work Activities" every two hours. I will report to her next week how this went and how he reacts and performs. The goal is to find out if he is sensitive to stimuli (distracted to the newest stimuli to present itself) or sensation seeking (trying to add stimuli to all activities). She continues with telling me how the senses work and the different levels of arousal. At one point I think I wrapped my mind around the subject and offer "Flight or fight?"
"Yeah! But there are four really; fright, flight, fight, and reproduce. The four F's." she chuckles.
My brow furrows for a moment, surely she know "reproduce" starts with a R, then her meaning finally comes to mind. I am reminded of a quote from a wise person in my life, my youngest teen, who says "He who laughs last, thinks slowest."