Thursday, February 19, 2009

3 steps forward.......2 steps sideways.......

Jennica has had a very phenomenal week. She's been easier to reason with, slower to tantrum and much more likely to verbalize first (and then tantrum if she doesn't get what she wants), and has been showing some huge improvements in motor planning functions, which involve the multi-step progressions that we all tackle daily, but are often difficult for those with SPD due to the massive sensory input that comes common tasks such as getting dressed. (Most of us have done it so many times that we don't contemplate the sensory input involved with choosing articles of clothing based on weather outside, season, color, practicality of what our day will involve, and then undressing and dealing with the temperature change on the skin while we re-dress, the changes in gravitational input that our body experiences as we bend and twist to put on socks, shoes, etc. And the dexterity involved with fastening buttons. And on and on and on.)

The huge sudden progression is due to a variety of things. She has now been gluten-free for about 10 weeks, which is a logical place where the gluten may finally be almost totally out of her body. We've also "played" with some of her supplementation based on her lab results. And, finally and probably most significantly, our OT added a 5-minute routine into her therapy each week. Believe it or not.......a specially-designed music listening program that somehow gets her brain and her ears on speaking terms with each other. I know.......I know......I don't get it either. But its WORKING!!!

So we marched into therapy this morning feeling like we've made some really huge strides! Even better, the strides are really evident to other people in her life, so I know it is not just a case of parent-wishing-success-upon-their-child. The Day Care is wanting to know what has changed. The preschool teacher is asking why she's suddenly much more cooperative. And the OT is seeing physical and cognitive changes both. YES!!!!

And then our bubble was burst. With progress comes the unavoidable consequence of.....progression! While this is truly a good thing, we didn't get much time to bask in the glow of success. Our OT is taking full advantage of the open mind, and piled on a whole new set of information for us today. I had a real "lightbulb" moment at therapy today, as some information with Jennica's use of her hands and the "why" suddenly and totally clicked for me. She has always had very good dexterity with her hands, so some of the things that she is reluctant to do, such as handwriting for very long when she will color forever, hasn't made sense to me. Today, I got it! Tiny, subtle changes in hand position make all the difference as to what muscles are driving what. And, even better, I'm learning the tools to help her strengthen her good skills, and build on the weaker ones!

And the vision therapy is finally falling into place. Its taken a few weeks to get all the team members in position, but very shortly, we will be proceeding in a full-blown visual processing program.

So......progress is leading to new therapies and more work. It is so great to see the dark circles (a sign of severe food allergies that nobody ever mentions until AFTER you've been diagnosed......go figure) disappearing beneath her eyes, and she's FINALLY sleeping a continuous 10-11 hours per night. And the beat goes on.........

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