Sunday, November 18, 2007

Occupational Hazzards Part I

My OT is full of ideas to help us. Even though it is her fault that we have to wait in the waiting room an extra 15 minutes on average and Connor loses patience, she tries to give me tools to help the situation. It had been suggested before that I get one of the cute little backpacks shaped like an animal. They clamp shut in the front and the parent can hang on to the "tail" to stop the child from wandering off or in our case just flat out fleeing the area.

The problems we happened upon were great with this contraption. My son is big for his age and out grew the pack quickly, but not before his strength caused the tail to be ripped off almost completely. The stroller was a no go, he is too tall and can stop and redirect it with his foot. I could have bought a bigger and better one, but wheeling this boy around for a good long time was not the way I wanted to go if I could help it.

The OT suggested to get a bicycle innertube and cut it, tie one end around his waist in a square knot so it doesn't tighten too much around him and hold on too the other end. So during one of our many trips to the bicycle department I pick up an innertube. The next time we had an appointment with her I wait till we get to the parking lot to loop it through his belt loops, and we walk together into the building. It didn't go perfect, but it went well. There was sometime spent on the floor but that was ok, there was no chasing.

She was almost on time that day and as we walked back down the hall I reported on the week's assignments. Brushing every two hours with joint compressions and mouth swipes. The mouth swipes consisted of taking my finger and running it along behind his front teeth where the gums meet up with them five times with the amount of pressure you would apply eyeshadow, followed with compressions on the lower jaw with two fingers pressing down behind his back teeth. I was sure I was going to lose a finger or two, or have to have one stitched up at the very least. We had also started "Ease 4", a new CD in the listening therapy.

I reported that I hadn't lost any fingers and that he seemed to enjoy all of it except for the occasional resistance to the brush on his hands. I told her of progress made during the week as she sat at a child's table writing everything down. As I take the innertube out of Connor's belt loops she stops writing and looks up at me smiling, "Do you know how many people I have told to try that?"
"Well it has been alot, and do you know how many people I have seen try it?"
"How many?"
"Well, counting you. One."

I stop at that and think why none of her clients before me had tried it. Surely if they are clients of her's they are used to having people look at them as if they have extra heads. Was there something extra wrong with it that I wasn't seeing? I then I remember how she brought it up to me. What you can do is go to a bicycle shop and get an old innertube from their dumpster.

"You know it was only $2.50 at the store." I offer
"But if you go to the bicycle shop their free and it would be recycling."
"Good point, but I think the idea of having to climb in a dumpster to try something might scare people off."


Suzy said...

Listen, if it works, it works. That's what I love about you and your writing- you will try anything to make life a little simpler and easier for you and Connor, no matter what.
Love that you have faith in this therapist.

Great post as always.


Jeni said...

We had one of those "backpack" type contraptions - a little monkey, as a matter of fact. A monkey on the back as it were for a little monkey. We tried it when Maya was very small -prior to age two I believe -and didn't like it but we got it out again on Labor Day to use at a big picnic -community type -we went to. It worked fairly well until she saw some thing she really wanted to get close to and practically dragged me, almost kicking and screaming (me, that was) through the crowd as she ran head long. But I really don't like it cause it makes me feel like I have a dog on a leash. But then, that's better than her taking off and me trying to run to simply catch up with her too. Hard decisions sometimes, ya know. The innertube thing -sounds interesting. And a question for you - what is the brushing for? And with respect to the mouth especially -other than brushing the teeth? I'm a little confused on that.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Amy used to have a huge pram, used mainly for physically disabled children. However, as she kept running off whenever we went out I bought her one. She got too big for it though, even at seven she's the size of an 11 year old.

Crystal xx

dgibbs said...

Based on the theory of Sensory Integration, the brushing technique uses a specific method of stimulation to help the brain organize sensory information.

The theory is..
Our skin is our largest sensory organ, followed closely by our muscles and skeleton, connected by our nervous system and governed by our brain. The sensory systems feed information from our environment, through sense receptors, and neural impulses via our nervous system, directly to the brain. The brain then organizes it, sends it back through the nervous system for use as understanding, adaptation, learning, and skill development.

When this system functions well, it allows a person to interact with their environment efficiently, developing necessary motor and language skills, and appropriate social/emotional behavior. When this system is unable to organize the information appropriately, a variety of symptoms can present; motor delays, tactile defensiveness, learning disorders, social or emotional difficulties, speech, and language deficits or attention disorders.

The brush never goes in the mouth. After the brushing on his arms, hands, back, legs and feet, I do compressions on his joints followed with the jaw compression and swiping my finger behind his front teeth where the gums and teeth meet. This too is for sensory intergration. Apart of that being to help him get a feeling of where he is in space.

There is a certain brush that is used for this, it is similar to the kind of brush you would use to clean under your nails while you wash your hands.

Hold that explains a little more.