Tuesday, November 2, 2010

So many choices!

Sunday, my family and I went to a Halloween festival at a local church.  The kids had a blast playing games and jumping and sliding on the blow up type rides.  While playing the games, they would collect tickets and a ton of candy.  This was all great fun.  Toward the end of the festival, I counted the tickets and then we went inside the church to see the prizes that were available.  My daughter had 155 tickets!  There were a lot of people in line to get prizes and there were a lot of prizes.  Do you see it coming?  Too much sensory input!  I was telling her, "Look what you can get!" and she said, "Mom!  Stop!"  I tried a couple more times to help her with her decision and she got closer to a meltdown.  Finally I figured out that the SPD was getting in her way and she was having too much auditory input.  I looked in the "Out of Sync Child" and what my child was displaying was a difficulty in discerning between foreground and background noise.  This is otherwise known as too much sensory input!  I asked the lady in charge of the prizes if my daughter could go behind the table because the noise was really bothering her and she was unable to decide what prizes to get.  Once R4 went behind the table and was away from the noise, she was able to concentrate.  Knowing about SPD and my childrens' symptoms has really helped me as a parent.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Roast pork and potatoes or a magical meal??

So both of my picky eaters walked to the dinner table on Sunday and said, "Yuck"!  We were having roast pork, red potatoes, and steamed broccoli.  Knowing that my daughter would probably not relent, I thought to myself, if I make this meal sound interesting, maybe my son will eat some of it.  The plate had an ocean scene on it so I said, "Look, Daddy made trees (broccoli), mountains (red potatoes), and rocks (roast pork cut up into squares).  There is even some water flowing between the rocks (juice from the roast) and look, there is a picture of a crab on your plate, he is swimming in the water!"  My son proceeded to dig in to the magical meal that Daddy had made and no longer shouted, "Yuck"!

Monday, September 27, 2010

SPD 30 Stories in 30 Days Event

Hello!  Please check out Hartley Steiner's wonderful blog Hartley's Life With 3 Boys.  She is hosting a 30 stories in 30 days event for SPD awareness.  There will be 30 different stories about SPD in the month of October to raise awareness and raise funds for the SPD foundation.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tennis anyone?

I am so excited right now about the progress my two kids with SPD have made!  My 8 year old daughter just came home with a report card full of straight A's and the next day, she earned a gold ribbon in tennis.  What does the gold ribbon mean?  It means that at the age of 8, she has moved to the intermediate level and in March, she will play in her first tennis tournament!

On an aside, I just read a blog by stark.raving.mad.mommy at http://www.starkravingmadmommy.com/2010/09/book-review-this-is-gabriel-making.html and she calls her son with SPD Little Dude.  Well, my "little dude"  just brought home a report card from kindergarten and all of his grades were "steadily developing"!  This is such a jump from "needs assistance"!  (We are giving him another year in kindergarten.)  My little guy graduated from physical therapy and now only needs occupational therapy each week.  Yesterday, he started tennis lessons and was able to earn 5 tickets for hitting the ball over the net!  He did well, listened to the coach and made progress.  This is the same child who didn't know which hand to use to hold a pencil just a year ago!

Friday, August 27, 2010

School is back in session!

Well school started again this week.  We have decided to give our son another year in kindergarten.  Although I know this is the correct decision due to his SPD, it was difficult to see his classmates from last year move on knowing that he did not.  He even got the same teacher, which we were so happy about!  I asked, how do you like having the same teacher?  He replied, "there are different kids in my class and my friends are in 1st grade!"  I said, "You get TWO sets of friends...the friends from last year and new friends from this year!  You still get to keep the old friends but you also get to make new ones!"  Even while saying this to him, deep down inside I felt his pain.  My son will benefit from repeating kindergarten in the long run but we have to get over some bumps in the road first.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Summer is almost over....

Well summer is almost over for my two SPD kids and I think they had a great time!  R4 has been to three weeks of drama camp, one week of music camp, one week of Girl Scout camp, two weeks of swimming lessons, five sessions of picky eaters class, one day of cake decorating class, tutoring for spelling and writing, and relaxation therapy.  R5 has been to one week of drama camp, one week of music camp, two weeks of swimming lessons, five sessions of picky eaters class, tutoring for reading, occupational and physical therapy.  Not to mention a trip to Ohio to visit relatives, a couple of visits to the movies, and countless trips to the neighborhood pool.

All in all, I think all of the activities that they have been involved in are great for Sensory Processing Disorder kids.  R5 is now jumping off of the diving board by himself and swimming underwater.  At the beginning of the summer, he wouldn't dare leave the pool noodle behind.  He is also less shy and will talk more (although many times I still have to say, "Please speak a little louder!")  R5 knows all of his letters and is reading more readily.  He was upset yesterday when his sister was able to earn a free book from Borders by reading 10 books.  I told him if he reads 10 books, he can get a free one too!  We will see if that works!

Now on to R4.  She is helping around the house more and more.  Right now, she is taking dinner out of the oven.  She just asked, "Is there anything else I can do?"  She keeps her room clean after a recent repositioning of the furniture by mom.  She told me that she loved the way it looks so much that she is striving to keep it clean.  R4 earns $5 every pay period by loading and unloading the dishwasher.  Today, she went through her stuffed animals by herself and agreed to give up 13 of them!  (I wonder if she knew that it was Friday the 13th?  LOL.)

Next week I think the phrase "back to school" will finally hit home with them but they will sure have a long list of things to talk about when asked, "What did you do this summer?!"

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Get them out of their comfort zone

I have two kids with SPD.  One is very loud and outgoing as a rule and the other is very quiet and shy as a rule.  This week, they are both at OnStage Kids.  OnStage Kids is a local group that puts on drama camps for kids aged kindergarten through grade six.  It is a day camp and lasts from 9-3 Monday through Friday for a week.  During this week, the kids learn to sing, dance, act, and do crafts.  Friday brings a show in the evening that the kids have learned during the week.  The shows are always a blast for the kids and Christ is always somewhere in the script.  So they get vacation bible school, dancing, singing, and acting all in one!  Of course, my louder child couldn't wait for OnStage Kids.  I kept asking my shyer child if he wanted to attend this camp and he kept waffling.  Monday came and he hung on to me when it was drop off time.  The counselors averted his attention with some bouncy balls and I left.  It turns out that he had lots and lots of fun and had no trouble at drop off time today.  What had I done, I got him out of his comfort zone.  He would have preferred going home with mom and playing with his toys yesterday but I pushed him just a little.  He will blossom in the process.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Picky Eaters Class

Today, both of my kids went to their first picky eaters class.  There will only be four more of these classes before summer is over, but I am hopeful.  They are being taught by a nun at a local hospital.  She taught them how to set the table, what the napkin is for and had them try new fruits and different forms of fruits.  For example, dried apples, applesauce, apple juice, grapes, grape juice, raisins, and figs.  Yes, my picky eaters tried figs!  The figs came from the grounds of the convent.  I thought that was cool.  They were allowed to look at the items, smell, taste, and then spit out the food if they wanted to.  At the end of the class, they all gave a toast with their apple juice.  Cheers...to trying new foods! ;)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer time and the livin' is easy....

So I took my son to swimming lessons this week.  He definitely needs to learn how to swim.  Here in Houston, it is HOT and we spend a lot of time in the pool during the summer.  We found a teacher who is known as "The Swim Nazi" because we have taken lessons at the Y two summers in a row and all R5 did was smile at the teacher and then they would pull him around the pool.  No more coddling at swimming lessons and seems to be making some progress.  One more week of lessons and maybe he will swim in the pool without a pool noodle.  At 6 years old, he should be able to.

Today, while I was sitting at swimming lessons, there was another mother there with her 3 year old son.  He appeared to have his own sensory issues.  He did not like anyone looking at him or talking to him.  The child had never been to mother's day out and still drinks out of a bottle.  He would not even let his own grandmother take him for a walk without crying the whole time.  His grandmother appeared very nice too.  My question is, should I tell people like this about SPD or should I leave well enough alone?  I did tell her about my son's sensory issues but I left it at that.  I also told her that it appeared that her son had sensory issues of his own.  Maybe she will look it up on the internet herself?  I did not want to bee TOO pushy but it pains me to see kids like this who could blossom!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I am starting to see improvement!

Last week, we went to Benihana in downtown Houston.  I thought it would be fun for the kids to watch as the food was cooked before their eyes.  Having two picky eaters, I did not expect either of them to eat anything but plain rice.  So I ask my daughter what she wants and her answer is "plain rice".  My son however says, "I want shrimp!"  This child has never even mentioned shrimp before.  I am thinking, "How cute!  He ordered shrimp, but he is not going to eat it!"  Guess what!  The little guy ate several shrimp along with some grilled corn. 

Yesterday, we tried the new Chinese buffet at our local mall.  I am thinking he will probably eat chicken nuggets and french fries.  He asks for....CRAWFISH!!  We are talking shell and all...  I said, "Daddy will be happy to help you with that!"  (I did NOT want to touch that crawfish!)  So my husband takes the little piece of meat from the tail end of the crawfish and puts it on my son's plate.  The little guy puts it on his spoon, smells it, looks at it, AND EATS IT! 

From what I can figure all of this therapy that he has been going to and the tutoring are helping in other areas besides fine motor, gross motor, and reading.  I asked his reading tutor today (who has a PhD in psychology too I believe), and she said that his self confidence is up.  I am so happy to see this change in his attitude! :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

School is out for the Summer!

School has been out for a week now.  I have been spending way more time with my kids especially my son, "R5".  I have seen where he has improved in many ways but I am also seeing new Sensory Processing Disorder symptoms.  He loathes hot food and almost prefers it cold.  The water in the bathtub or shower has to be almost cold.  Also, he has to have a beach towel on the back of his seat in the car if we are going to the pool and he just has on his swim trunks.  Why?  The seat is hot!  These symptoms seem to be getting worse, not better.  He does not like extreme cold either.  He often tells me "Cold is hot!"  Luckily, I understand that he has SPD and have the patience to deal with this.  If it keeps up, we may have to have therapy for the aversion to temperature.  Right now, he is in OT and PT for strength and writing as well as reading tutoring. 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Wabi-sabi and our SPD children

Have any of you heard of the Japanese concept of Wabi-sabi?  Wabi-sabi (?) represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete" Koren, Leonard (1994). Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers. Stone Bridge Press. ISBN 1-880656-12-4.  When I first read about this concept, I thought of my two children with SPD.  They are so wonderfully imperfect!!  Also, I realize that recently, I have been thinking of life in this way...nothing is perfect!  My home will never be perfect, my family will never be perfect, and I will never be perfect.  Let's all embrace our imperfect kids and their quirks.  Yes, they are different.  Yes, they have different personalities than other children.  So what?  Nothing is perfect. :)

Monday, May 31, 2010

Sensory overload!!

Ok parents with SPD kids.  How did your long holiday weekend go?  Ours went pretty well.  I could tell today though that they were both getting tired.  My son was whining about his hands being sticky.  This was one of the first symptoms that helped us to figure out he had SPD.  Anyway, today, they seemed sticky constantly!! :)  My daughter has been having a lot of meltdowns today too.  We have been very busy the last couple of days so they are both having sensory overload!  It is funny too because last week, my daughter went to a birthday party at one of these places that has video games, bowling, laser tag, etc.  I was talking to some of the moms and noticed that I was getting sensory overload!  There was just too much noise in there for me and I asked if it was ok to leave my 8 year old with them while the birthday party was going on.  If I hadn't gotten out of there, I might have had an SPD meltdown myself!! :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Be an SPD ambassador!! :)

I was buying my daughter a pair of Van's shoes today.  Yes, my daughter "R4" will only wear slip-on shoes.  The sales lady told me about her struggle with socks as a child.  I told her about R4 and she went on to tell me about some of her own issues...sock trouble as a child, not liking to be touched by peers, food issues.  I told her that her quirks actually have a name..you guessed it..Sensory Processing Disorder.  I said that I am sure there is therapy no matter the age.  I like being a Sensory Processing Disorder ambassador.  After that I went to Lakeshore Learning Store to purchase some items to help both of my children.  I explained that my son "R5" has trouble with numbers.  I purchased some cards with numbers on them.  The numbers have a sandpaper texture so that he can learn using his tactile sense.  I also bought some finger paint for him as he hates writing utensils...we will finger paint his numbers and letters.  R4 just tested at a 10 year old level and she is 8.  Her problem is with spelling.  So I bought some word building blocks that resemble legos.  I think they will both benefit from these.  R4 wlll be stylin' in her new shoes and I will be using creative ways to teach R5 his numbers and help R4 with her spelling.

Monday, May 10, 2010

New book and website for kids with Sensory Processing Disorder

Thank you to Carol Kranowitz for commenting on my blog last week!  I feel so honored!  For those of you who do not know, Carol is the author of "The Out of Sync Child".  This book has helped so many parents, counselors, therapists, and doctors in dealing with the topic of Sensory Processing Disorder.  I have quoted Carol's comments below"

"May 4, another book for parents has just been published. Joye Newman (a perceptual motor therapist) and I co-authored "Growing an In-Sync Child: Simple, Fun Activities to Help Every Child Develop, Learn and Grow" (Perigee). Our new "insyncchild.com" website will go up any minute now."  

I will be looking forward to reading this book and the website.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Visual perception problems leading to problems with spelling

I feel like a detective now.  My last post talked about visual perception problems that I think my daughter is having.  I read about this topic in "The Out of Sync Child".  I set up an appointment for her to have a test on visual perception where she goes for tutoring.  This will happen on Tuesday.  She also told me a couple of days ago that when she is sitting at the back of the class room and tries to copy words off of the board, she often misses letters here and there.  That tells me that maybe we are going down the right path.  It also sounds like a visit to the eye doctor may be in order also.  Who would have thought that problems with spelling would lead to all of this.  Once again, thank goodness for teachers that are on the ball and thank goodness for the book "The Out of Sync Child"!  Also, thank goodness that my daughter spoke up about her problems too!

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Out of Sync Child

Well, I am still reading "The Out of Sync Child" by Carol Stock Kranowitz.  Specifically, I have gotten to the section about the visual sense and problems with visual discrimination.  I was reading and made it to the section with the checklist.  (Each section of this book has a checklist which is very helpful for parents, teachers, doctors, and therapists).  Anyway, the two symptoms that jumped out at me were:

- Have difficulty with schoolwork involving the size of letters, the spacing of letters and words on the line, and the lining up of numbers (form constancy).  The child may reverse letters ("b/d") or words ("saw/was") while reading and writing

- Be a poor speller 

This was one of those "aha" or "light bulb" moments again.  (I have had many of those since learning about Sensory Processing Disorder.)  All along, I had thought R4 had dyslexia when that she has is problems with visual discrimination.  I forwarded this information to R4's teacher and the teacher forwarded it to the school counselor and the school's dyslexia teacher!!  What an awesome school and school district we have!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Is it real??

On Saturday, my daughter and I went to Justice to get one of the ever popular (and sold out) bottle cap necklaces.  We did not get a bottle cap necklace but on the way out, I spotted what looked like a denim skirt.  As I have said before, R4 will not wear denim in any way, form, or fashion.  What looked like a denim skirt turned out to be a 95% cotton knit skort!  R4 agreed to try it on and LOVED IT!  You have never seen a mother and daughter so excited to see a knit skort.  We bought it and now R4 will look like she has on a denim skirt (and therefore fit in with her peers) but will actually be wearing a cotton knit skort!  It looks adorable too!  I will be buying several in the next size up for back to school in the fall as well.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Somewhere over the rainbow...

One of my earlier posts talks about picky eaters.  Recently, my daughter, who is a brownie, was given the task of bringing a recipe for a healthy snack to her meeting.  We talked about it and I told her about a recipe that I saw in a magazine.  I think it was the Disney Family Fun magazine.  It is a fruit rainbow!  Well, it also happened to be my turn to bring the snack for the brownies.  I purchased the fruit and a disposable pizza pan.  If you remember from science class, the colors of the rainbow spell "Roy G. Biv" - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.  I used strawberries for the red, clementines for the orange, pineapple for the yellow, green grapes for the green, black grapes for the blue, blackberries for the indigo, and purple grapes for the violet.  I made two rainbows to make sure that all 8 brownies were able to get plenty of fruit.  Let me tell you, there were no picky eaters that day!!

Friday, April 9, 2010

How to get more mileage out of kids clothes

Are your children picky about the clothes that they wear?  My daughter is.  I have said before that she will only wear leggings, skorts, or bike shorts.  For the past two years, I have taken her favorite leggings and long sleeved shirts that she wore for fall and winter to the alterations place near us.  They have turned them into bike shorts and short sleeved shirts.  R4 feels like she has a whole new wardrobe and I know that she will wear these clothes and therefore do not waste money on items she may or may not wear!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Is everyone on the same page?

I think my husband (R2) and I are finally on the same page.  He had been saying that our 5 year old son (R5) knew his alphabet and numbers but had no interest in learning.  He had also been saying that our 8 year old daughter (R4) does not have ADD, she is just "precocious".  Yesterday after R5 did not want to participate at his occupational therapy, he told me "school is too hard".  He was talking about kindergarten.  Now, if he knows his numbers and alphabet, why is kindergarten too hard?  Also, R2 had been saying that there is nothing wrong with either child while I know full well that they both have SPD and at least one has ADD.

R4 brought her report card home last Thursday and never showed it to us.  She then proceeded to give it back to the teacher on Monday.  Also, a neighbor child told me that R4 has been sitting by herself at lunch for months due to bad behavior.  R4's grades have all dropped since the 1st grading period.  These are all warning signs of ADD to me!  I am taking her to the pediatrician tomorrow to talk about ADD medication.  Yes, this is the same pediatrician that told me that R4 is just trying to get attention and that I need to take parenting classes.

I had a chat with R2 last night and explained to him that what he is thinking about our children is just where I was a year ago.  It has taken me a year to realize that YES R4 needs ADD meds and YES there is some kind of learning problem that R5 has.  One of them is SPD and I do not know if he has ADD or dyslexia but I think that finally, R2 and I are on the same page!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How many people in the general population have SPD?

I am just wondering.  How many kids can you name that have Sensory Processing Disorder?  I also wonder how many people in the general population have SPD.  I think that I have had SPD all along and can name some symptoms that I have had since childhood.  For one, I have always been painfully shy.  I have gotten better as I have grown older but I am still pretty shy.  That said, I can name 8 children with SPD and that is through casual conversations that I have had with parents.  If I am shy and I can find 8 children that have this, how many are there in the general population.  I also know of some that have not been diagnosed but exhibit some of the symptoms such as clothing and food texture issues.  Just some questions for thought.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Out of Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz, MA

Well I just started reading The Out of Sync Child and have already found something that hits close to home and I just finished the foreward.  Larry B Silver, MD was talking about how physicians can blame the parent for the child's behavior without even understanding the underlying problems with how the child's brain is working.  Recently, our pediatrician told me to take parenting classes because of my daughter's behavior.  Now, I don't think I am the perfect parent but here we go, my daughter has SPD and ADD.  I can take all of the parenting classes on the planet and it will not change how my daughter's brain is wired.  I cannot wait to read this book and learn more about my children!  My son has been in OT and PT since November and the elementary school is starting an evaluation process for him.  My daughter has not yet been diagnosed but I know she has SPD.  Since her SPD was not holding her back at school, she will start OT and PT next.  Her therapy will be geared toward clothing and food as well as social behavior.

Also, I purchased The Out of Sync Child Has Fun.  This book is by Carol Stock Kranowitz as well.  Both of these books should be interesting reads!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hydrolyzed vegetable protein - what is it?


Like the attached article says, HVP, what is it? Also like it says, many of us did not know what it was until this week. Please read the article and pass it on. It sounds horrible and to think we were eating food that contained it, salmonella or no. I ate some Pringle's on Sunday. They were not part of the recall but they did make me sick. I was reading that rapid heart rate can be a side effect. That is not a good thing to have in a food product. Anyway, my symptoms have been: pounding headache, aches, chills, fever, and diarrhea. I contacted the company in question and was told those symptoms did not come from their food product but I should keep the chips for two weeks in case they need a sample. Let me tell you, those symptoms ARE coming from the chips and I will no longer buy them. Not only for my health but also for my children. NO child should eat this garbage, let alone children with SPD. I have been thinking about using the Feingold diet but now I will be putting my thoughts into actions!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Penmanship WAS and IS one of my strong points.

Has anyone tried the Twist and Write pencils or the Pen Again pens for their children with SPD?  I would like to thank my friend in Ohio who told us about these!  She told me that her son used to hate to write and that these pencils have been a lifesaver.  Even the clerk at the office supply store said she wished they had these when her son was smaller.  Neither one of my children likes to write and these just may do the trick!  The pencils are made specially for children and their small fingers.  My son struggles to write at all and my daughter writes but does not like to.  This is very ironic as one of my friends was telling me recently that she used to try to emulate my writing and never could.  She told me that it frustrated her to no end and that she just kept getting "N"'s in writing on her report card.  Most of the women in my family have very similar handwriting but that is another subject.  Anyway, when my kids get home today, I will let them pick their favorite color from the package.  Let the writing begin!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Math was not my strongest subject either.

Today I am back to Sensory Processing Disorder.  Has anyone had a similar issue with their children?  I find this interesting, my 5 year old son has trouble counting and recognizing numbers.  Last week, I was reading to him out of a Star Wars book.  I started asking questions like, "If you have six clone troopers and you take away two, how many do you have?"  His answer? "Four!"  Then I asked a couple more addition and subtraction questions and he had the correct answers.  I asked his teacher, "How is it that my child cannot count or recognize numbers but he can do addition and subtraction in his head?"  Her answer?  "He learns differently, celebrate!"  We are celebrating.  Happy day!!

Friday, March 5, 2010

We are family!!

This post is not about Sensory Processing Disorder but about family.  My blog is evolving which many probably do.  I just came back from the Youngstown, Ohio area.  My mother, my sister, my niece, and I flew there to visit my aunt who has what she calls "the disease".  She has cancer but none of us are sure what kind as she is a very private person.  May God be with her. 

While we were there, my mom and I also were able to meet and visit with relatives of mine that I found through my genealogy research.  My father's sister was adopted out of the family at the age of about 18 months.  When I was about 12, I noticed a picture on the shelf of a three year old boy and an 18 month old girl.  I asked about the picture and was told "That is your father and his sister.  She was given up for adoption".  We knew the name of the family that adopted her but that was all (or so I thought).  After asking more questions, I found out my aunt's married name as well as her maiden name.  I have been doing genealogy research ever since I stopped working outside of the home.  I ordered a copy of a social security application that I thought might belong to my aunt.  It was!!  Sadly though, by the time I found her, she had passed away. 

Another cousin who I found through genealogy research helped me to locate one of my aunt's son's.  These are the only cousins on my dad's side so I really wanted to find them.  Fast forward to this week.  I was able to meet my cousin, his four sons, their wives, and their children.  It felt like we had known each other all of our lives and we plan to stay in touch.  On the way out of the restaurant where we had dinner was a sign which read something like"  ENTER AS STRANGERS, LEAVE AS FRIENDS.  Amazing!! 

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Please watch The Gift of Ordinary Days


My son's kindergarten teacher just sent all of the parents a link to this video.  Please watch it and remember to have a kleenex handy.  I was touched by it and am trying to remember to cherish those ordinary days that I am having with my 8 and 6 year olds.  I can remember when we brought my now 8 year old daughter home from the hospital.  We didn't know how to put the car seat in the car or how much to feed her.  She is now 8 as of yesterday and playing with her zhu zhu pets and fighting with her brother over who's turn it is on the Wii.  I already look back and miss my babies and toddlers.  They are both in elementary school now and it is going fast.  This is one of those ordinary days...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

To medicate or not to medicate, that is the question.

For two years now, we have been trying to figure out whether or not we should medicate our daughter for ADD.  This has been a very tough question to answer.  At first, I was all, "NO", "My daughter will not be given mind altering drugs!"  (We will call her R4 once again.)  In kindergarten, R4 did very well.  Her teacher had nothing but good things to say about her.  Then, in first grade, we were told, R4 has trouble focusing and has to be reminded to stay on task.  The teacher was not allowed to come out and tell us, but she danced around the "ADD" diagnosis the whole conference period.  They were not given letter grades in first grade and the teacher basically said that R4's personality was carrying her through.  We put R4 in reading classes over the summer and then relaxation therapy.  We have met twice with the pediatrician on this subject and both times, the pediatrician said that R4 is doing this to get her parents' attention.  The doctor then asked if R4 was having any trouble at school.  I replied "No" and was then told that I needed to attend parenting classes.  Now I know my own child and I also know that she has ADD and SPD.    Then second grade rolls around.  R4 starts out with stellar grades ranging from a 98 to a low of 86.  The second grading period the range was 91 to 85.  The middle of the third grading period, the grades were 89 to 76.  Ding! Ding! Ding!  R4 is having trouble at school!  There are also several comments from the teacher saying that R4 is talking during class and not staying on task.  This week, I went back to the pediatrician and said, "R4 is having trouble at school!"  Next week, we are going back to talk about ADD medication.  I am going into this with an open mind.  The elementary school here is difficult enough without having untreated ADD and SPD!  We are right by NASA and all of the parents have very high expectations for their kids!  That includes these parents of TWO SPD kids one of whom has been diagnosed by a psychologist as having ADD.  I will keep you posted of R4's progress.

One side note.  I remember when we were getting ready to take our son (R5) home from the hospital after he was born.  The nurse told us to be adamant when we knew something was wrong with our child.  She said jokingly, "You will take your child to the doctor and the doctor will say, "All kids have their arms fall off at this age!""  I will never forget the words of the nurse and I apply them to my life.  We are not going to let our kids "slip through the cracks" at school or anywhere else!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

A place for everything and everything in its place!

I haven't blogged in the last week so what have I been doing?  I cleaned out what we call "the children's wing" of our house.  It consists of 2 children's rooms and a toy room.  Since children with SPD have so much going on in their brain, they need very organized surroundings.  Will they miss any of the things that were taken to charity?  Probably not.  My oldest understands.  I explained to her that she is always thinking about so much and her room needs to be organized so that it does not clutter her thoughts.  I am taking three large shopping bags to charity today and selling some on ebay.  Spring cleaning started a little early here but it already feels more organized in our house and someone else will appreciate the things that we no longer use.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


We have had a couple of breakthroughs at our house the past couple of weeks.  The first one occurred at occupational therapy.  My son, who has never finger painted, because he does not like to get his hands dirty, did a really nice finger painting of a race car!  I don't think there has ever been a parent as happy as I was to see that finger painting!  It is now hanging on our refrigerator!  The second one was today at church.  In our family faith formation, we did family activities.  One of them was to put each family member's hand in yellow paint and put a hand print on a "family banner"  My little one did this activity without as much as a peep!  Woo-hoo!  We are moving forward with joy in our hearts!  Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

SPD Meltdowns

Ok.  I realize that what my child (R5) just had is a Sensory Processing Disorder meltdown.  He has been whining ever since we came home from school.  We put together his Valentine's to give to his friends tomorrow.  Ever since then, it has been one drama after the other.  Now this child is normally pretty calm.  Now I see this must be an SPD meltdown!  First his hands were sticky, then he didn't want to share with his sister, then his clothes didn't fit right and now he is in full meltdown.  It has been raining for days and too cold and muddy to go outside.  His little body must be saying, "I need exercise!"  Obviously, we need to come up with a way to exercise when the weather outside is frightful!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

How can sit ups help my child to write?

I'll have to admit that I was surprised to hear that something as simple as crawling through one of those playground "tubes" would help my child be able to write better. I read it online while researching Sensory Processing Disorder. I'll call him R5. R5 has never been able to write and when he did, it was very, very light. This is one of his symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). R5 would tell us that he had drawn a picture but we couldn't see it. He would say, "But it is right there!" He is going to physical therapy and occupational therapy. The physical therapy helps with gross motor while the occupational helps with fine motor. The gross motor develops faster than the fine motor. Today, his homework from physical therapy was sit ups and push ups. He has learned how to ride a bike, climb a rock wall, and walk on a balance beam. His handwriting and drawing is coming along but he will tell you it is "scribble scrabble". For now, we will do push ups and sit ups and maybe my tummy will get some benefit from exercising too! We have a Wii system and perhaps we can find Wii fit somewhere like shipgoodwill.com. Have you checked out shopgoodwill.com? They have tons of stuff in an auction format. I have seen baccarat crystal and cole haan shoes to name a couple.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Are all of your ducks in a row??

I did not see this symptom on the SPD checklist but I find it interesting. Both of my children, let's call them R4 for my daughter and R5 for my son, like to line things up. I call them R4 and R5 because they are the fourth and fifth "R" names in the family. R1 is Papa, R2 is Daddy, R3 is their uncle, and then R4 and R5. Anyway, R4 has liked to line things up since she was about 18 months old. She liked to line up Daddy's chess pieces, little people were her favorite, rubber ducks, and now littlest pet shop animals. She lines them up perfectly in a row. She then puts them away. Her little brother, R5 lines things up but not so perfectly and gets upset when they are moved. It is very interesting to me that my children like to line things up because their rooms are a mess. Neither of them likes to put things away. Both of them likes to line things up though. Maybe they are just visual learners and like to be able to see all of their things....lined up.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Let's talk about picky eaters, shall we??

Do you have a picky eater in your house? I definitely do. The problem is SPD is exaggerated when the child will not eat healthy foods. I went to an SPD seminar in December and received a wealth of information about food and the SPD child. The thing that stands out most in my mind is that these children should drink WHOLE MILK. All of this time our pediatrician said to give them 2%. SPD children NEED the fat from the whole milk. Also, the best thing to feed an SPD child is eggs!

Now I have a problem, one of my children refuses to eat eggs. My daughter has major texture issues. We are trying to get her to try two new foods a week. I am reading over the seminar information that I received and there are some helpful hints that we can try:

Offer a variety of textures
Keep portions of new foods small
Allow the child to taste one bite and let them spit it back out
Do not mix food items (like a casserole for example)
Involve child in food preparation
Make the food attractive to the child

Now this is all easier said than done, believe me but it is worth a try. Here are three books that can help us with picky SPD children:

Just Take a Bite

Our Children Are What Our Children Eat

Why Can't I Eat That

These were all recommended as good books for parents of SPD children to read.

Also, fatty acids are important for the developing brain of the SPD child. They are contained in things like salads, fruit, veggies, nuts, whole milk, olive oil, seaweed, and fish oil.

Finally, in my area, there is a picky eater's group that meets in the summer. I am definitely signing my daughter up for it! It is at Christus St. John Sports Medicine Center in Nassau Bay right across from NASA. We can't wait!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

What signs and symptoms of SPD does your child have? - continued

Did I mention that I have TWO children with Sensory Processing Disorder? I just went through the Sensory Processing Disorder Checklist: Signs and Symptoms of Dysfunction (from sensory-processing-disorder.com) for my daughter. She is soon to be eight years old and is doing pretty well in school but we want to start her in therapy to help her. Here are her symptoms:

Refuses to wear new or stiff clothes, clothes with rough textures, turtlenecks, jeans, hats, or belts, etc.

Is a picky eater, only eating certain tastes and textures; mixed textures tend to be avoided as well as hot or cold foods; resists trying new foods

Has a preference and craving for excessively spicy, sweet, sour, or salty foods

May be afraid of the dark

In constant motion, can't seem to sit still

Bites or sucks on fingers

Prefers clothes to be as tight as possible

Written work is messy

Appears to "make noise for noise's sake"

Bothered/irritated by smell of perfume or cologne

Has difficulty keeping eyes focused on task/activity she is working on for an appropriate amount of time

Easily distracted by other visuaol stimuli in the room

Has difficulty telling the difference between similar printed letters or figures; i.e. p and q or b and d. (By the way, I find this one really interesting and want to find out how to fix it - maybe therapy will help?)

Fatigues easily with schoolwork

Variable and quickly changing moods

If you notice, my son and daughter have very different symptoms but they both have the disorder. This is a spectral disorder like autism and encompasses many children. It has not been recognized by the American Psychiatric Society but needs to be.

Finally, I would like to add one more symptom that I did not find on the sheet. My daughter has a very difficult time falling asleep at night. I was told by the Dr. John F. Taylor PhD that these children have a very difficult time falling asleep as their brains are going 100 miles an hour and then we put them in a dark room and expect them to go to sleep! His suggestion was to get a lava lamp (which can be dangerous for small children) or one of those pretend aquariums. We bought my daughter a turtle that lights up and puts the moon and stars on the ceiling. It is called "Twilight Turtle" and can be found at http://www.cloudb.com/.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What signs and symptoms of SPD does your child have?

I was so happy to hear that there might be a name for the quirks that my son has. We started him in kindergarten even though we thought he might not be ready. Once again I will say thank God for the kindergarten teacher that spotted Sensory Processing Disorder. She knew it as Sensory Integration Disorder or SID but it has been renamed SPD. If you go to sensory-processing-disorder.com, there is a checklist titled "Sensory Processing Disorder Checklist: Signs and Symptoms of Dysfunction". Here are the items that I checked off for my son:

Avoids/dislikes/aversive to "messy play", i.e., sand, mud, water, glue, glitter, playdoh, slime, shaving cream/funny foam etc.

Excessively ticklish

May want to wear shorts and short sleeves year round

Has difficulty with fine motor tasks such as buttoning, zipping, and fastening clothes

Has difficulty using scissors, crayons, or silverware

May physically cling to an adult they trust

Difficulty riding a bike

Difficulty turning doorknobs, handles, opening and closing items

Difficulty getting dressed and doing fasteners, zippers, and buttons

Poor fine motor skills, difficulty using "tools", such as pencils, silverware, combs, scissors etc.

May appear ambidextrous, frequently switching hands for coloring, cutting, writing, etc.; does not have an established hand preference/dominance by 4 or 5 years old

Difficulty regulating pressure when writing/drawing - too light to see

May refuse to go to movie theaters, parades, skating rinks, musical concerts, etc.

Has difficulty chewing and swallowing

Excessive drooling past teething stage

Prefers to play on the outside, away from groups, or just be an observer

Now that is one long list but let me tell you, our pediatrician was grateful to see it. Have as much documentation of symptoms as you can when you go to see your pediatrician and...good luck!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Do you have clothing battles at your house?

My daughter will only wear bike shorts and t-shirts or knit skorts and t-shirts. In the winter, I am lucky to get her to wear a pair of leggings and a long sleeved shirt. There was a time when I could get her to wear just about anything, but now it is bike shorts or skorts and t-shirts. It is a good thing that we live in Texas! I am about to go to Gymboree and see if they have anything in her size in the back. Did you know that you can go to Gymboree and do that? Kindly ask them if they have anything in your child's size in the back and they will bring out all of the items in that size and they will be good prices. Anyway, for now, bike shorts it is....good thing it will be in the upper 60's today, in January! :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sensory Processing Disorder? What is that??

Hello! This is my first time to blog and I am excited. Have you recently heard about Sensory Processing Disorder? We have a WONDERFUL kindergarten teacher that saved us from wondering what was wrong with our children. Yes, children. I have TWO children with Sensory Processing Disorder. I am not a doctor and I want to point that out up front. If you think your child might have this, please seek medical advice. Anyway, the kindergarten teacher asked if I had heard of this and I immediately went home and went to the internet, printed out a checklist and headed to the pediatrician with checklist in hand. The pediatrician thanked me for having the checklist and started my son in occupational and physical therapy the next week! From what I have read, the younger this is dealt with the better. I will talk about what symptoms my children have and have had and the adventures of our family in coming days. If you are reading this, thank you and I hope that it will help other moms!!

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