Friday, March 25, 2011


...also known as "Sensory Processing Disorder".   Some of you have heard of it, others have not.   I'm still learning more and more about the disorder every day!   Eli has been "diagnosed" with SPD.  How did this come about?   Well over the past 9 months I've just felt that there was something more that Eli needed than I was providing at home.   His constant need to hit, push, throw, squeeze and pull things was starting to affect our life at home.   I guess before Anna was born it wasn't as much as a problem, but with a newborn in tow things became a lot more glaring and I couldn't provide him with what he needed.   I asked around a bunch to see 1) if other parents struggled with this with their boys and 2) if anyone knew what what could be going on.   I received several different answers from, "no.  My kids never do that" and "he's acting like a 3 year old boy" to "I think he may have some sensory issues".   I was referred to a book called, The Out of Sync Child, and checked it out from the library.  Some of the examples and children in the book seemed so familiar.   He didn't seem 100% in any box, but it was worth looking into.  They recommended an occupational therapist that specializes in SPD to have him evaluated.   I called a friend Kim who's degree was in this very disorder and she was extremely helpful.   She worked with us and gave us a ton of tips a lot of which are included on this list.

A lot of us can sit in a room and hear the noises, smell the scents, look at the lights, feel the couch and we process it all normally.  To kids with SPD one or all of these senses doesn't quite come in clearly to the brain and they need help organizing it.  Eli jumps, flaps his arms, screams or worse squeezes his sister or throws an object across the room.   Sometimes this fixes the jam but other times he just needs more.  I'm sure you know this but this is not Eli all of the time, but it is enough that I believe it gets in the way of productive things and it really wears me down. He loves learning, playing with friends and is truly a loving little boy and I would hate for him to get a label based upon behaviors that are somewhat out of his control.  
We decided to bite the bullet and go to doctor weekly to help us and to help Eli.   They have access to activities (and time) that we do not have at home to work with him. We are going to a place called Sensory Solutions.

From his evaluation with Sensory Solutions they feel like he gets "tripped up" in processing all that is going on around him at times and seeks "Proprioceptive" experiences to help him process them.   The proprioceptive sense is in the stem of the brain and it basically describes what Eli seeks.   He seeks pressure/tension/movement on his joints to help him process information.   So, before we need him to sit down at dinner an example of what we can do is have him wheelbarrow or crabwalk to the table.  Same for any time we need him in a "calm state" (ALWAYS! : )  ) However the most helpful thing we can do is work on his "Vestibular" sense before we work on the "Proprioceptive".   The Vestibular sense is the control panel for everything we do and it is located in the brain.   Basicially it is best to start with this sense and then work down to the others for the greatest effect.   Major motion is what this sense requires like swinging in circles on a tire swing (but for Eli this would be stimulating) or swinging back and forth in a linear motion(for Eli this would be calming).   Another example would be sliding, climbing a jungle gym, crawling through tunnels, and riding on a seesaw.  So for those of you with a swing set in your back yard...awesome!   That is what most kids esp. SPD kids crave!  We unfortunately do not.   Something we do have is a trampoline and Eli now will have trampoline time built into his schedule directly followed by "heavy work" (his proprioceptive sense).   We also will walk to a playground any time we can.  
Whew.  Sounds easy enough, right?   Well I wish I could say that we could do this perfectly but unfortunately my job as a mom/wife/friend isn't limited to serving only Eli and his needs so while I am very thankful for the knowledge and the applications I can do at home I am also thankful that there are trained people that are working with him every week to help rewire his brain so information isn't so overwhelming for him.   Their hope is to see progress in 6 weeks!   I am excited for him! 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The "big" 1-5!

Alright, so it's really not that big of a milestone, 15 months.   BUT when there is a wellness Dr.'s appointment involved I feel like if they say it's a big deal, we're making it a big deal.   So here's where Ms. Anna Davis "stands" at 15 months.  

*20.14 lbs...just under the 25%!   We can finally move her car seat!!
*30 3/4 "....just under 50%! (Everyone asks if she is short...I think because she's still crawling while a lot of her peers are walking.   It's hard to judge when they aren't vertical : )  ) 
*Double ear infection. : (   This is the second time she's had one, and the second time they've found it out at the wellness visit.   She doesn't tell me these things!!!   She must have a high tolerance for pain.  Good thing she takes the medicine like it's candy : ) 
Some other fun facts....

*She crawls up and down the stairs like it's her job. 

*She's finally dishing it back to her brother.

*She's taken up an interest in painting.   (ok.  Not really, but she gets offended when I don't let her do the things her big brother is doing.)  

*She's pulling up like a pro.   She can even stand without much support (like holding on to a wall), and walk with a push toy.  I'm so proud of all the "strides" she's made!  

Happy 15 month birthday, baby girl!