Thursday, June 17, 2010

Therapy Thursday ~ Making a Comfortable World

"Since sensory integration disorder involves receiving and interpreting information from the senses and combining the information to form a well-rounded and accurate picture, problems with one sense can cause problems with all sensory input and output.  If your child is distracted by the way her clothing feels, it's going to affect her ability to listen and to see detail and to stay still.  If your child feels off-balance, it's going to affect the way she sees things, coordinates her movements, and hears what you are telling her."  ~The Everything Parent's Guide To Sensory Integration Disorder 
It is the little things that drive each of my boys crazy ... the way the hair on his legs gets caught in his socks with every step; the rotating fan coming back and forth across his skin instead of just being steady wind;  the feel of a hot pillow at bedtime that someone else has leaned against during story time; sticky sand that was fun when he was sitting in it playing but now hurts while he is trying to get it off; the way it is cold in the morning and hot by mid-day; how much it hurts to sit on the hard ground (it hurts his neck, not his bottom) -- all of these statements have been said by one or the other of my boys just in the last week.

Even though it is the middle of June in North Carolina and our days often end in the high 80's, my younger son is still putting on his winter sweatpants many days. Sometimes he even puts on a long sleeve shirt. My older son never wears shorts because he cannot stand the way the air feels with only part of his leg cool and the other part hot.

One way I have found to help my boys is with brushing therapy. My older son can brush himself and my younger son is brushed by me. Brushing the skin with a soft brush is an excellent way to wake up the skin and prepare to take in some sensory input. I took my youngest son to the store and had him feel many brushes and sponges. He picked a very soft one. We also have an occupational therapy brush.

Today we attempted our first children's outdoor concert. It was the library's Summer Kick-Off program. They had a local popular, positive kids hip-hop group. I must admit that, when I heard it was going to be hip-hop, I thought this was not going to work out well. But my friend insisted that this group was not to be missed. I packed snacks and gum to help Tom Sawyer be able to "chew" his way through the noise level. We also took several blankets so that he could curl up in them if necessary. I let him pick the spot where we sat and told him to tell us when it got too loud and we would move or leave. He started with us sitting outside the tent but still very close to the stage. Toward the end, we sat right next to the stage with our friends. Overall, he did very well and made it through 25 minutes of the music before he said we needed to leave. He had no meltdowns and only needed one piece of gum. He did not need to curl up in the blankets.

While he did not dance or show any signs of enjoying the concert, he did not cry or misbehave either. Hurray, a success!

When we were leaving, the kids were given free snow cones. What a special treat. I'm glad that everyone behaved and earned the right to such a nice treat.

Blessings, Dawn


  1. This is very thought-provoking. I wonder if my son has some of this going on. He hates to have a fan on and wears long pants in the summer. hmmm
    Glad your little man did well for the concert! You are so prepared and facilitate his success.

  2. How wonderful! My kids have SI (I think you know that) and they did very well with outdoor concerts when they were little. I think outdoor concerts are alot easier for them to process than indoor because it's open. kwim? Even with my hearing loss from head surgery, I'll opt for an outdoor concert over indoor anyday. We did the brushing therapy too!

  3. Great job!!!

    Have I shared with you about the ear plugs that Daniel is using? They have really helped him to be able to tolerate the music in church. Last Sunday he even seemed to be enjoying it. It was good for my heart. Let me know if you want more info on them and I'll go find them. They are called Baby Blues.