Raymer Sensory Sensation!

MightyTyke QraymerUINCY

Diagnosis: Sensory Processing Disorder

“We got the 1/4 lb wrist weights for our son with Sensory Processing Disorder and he loves them!! He is a sensory seeker and also has a lot of overflow with his arms when he is excited. Our son wears the weights daily (when awake) and he has been much more regulated!”

MightyMom Melissa, Illinois

Quincy Strong & Stable

Quincy SimmsMightyTyke QUINCY, age 2.

Diagnosis: Right-side hemiplegia (partial paralysis) due to severe pre-natal stroke.

“Quincy often struggles with tremors and weakness. Since using MightyTykes we have seen increased use of the right arm as well as stability when using the arm. Quincy uses his MightyTykes in daily therapies including aqua therapy.”

MightyMom, Jess

Help with one-sided weakness and tremors.

Quincy Simms“Quincy often struggles with tremors and weakness. Since using MightyTykes we have seen increased use of the right arm as well as stability when using the arm. Quincy uses his MightyTykes in daily therapies including aqua therapy.”
MightyMom Jess, Pennsylvania

Help for Sensory Processing Disorder

raymer“We got the 1/4 lb wrist weights for our son with Sensory Processing Disorder and he loves them!! He is a sensory seeker and also has a lot of overflow with his arms when he is excited wink emoticon Our son wears the weights daily (when awake) and he has been much more regulated! We see a big difference when the weights are off. If your child enjoys the feeling of a weighted or compression vest or weighted blanket these wrist weights might be the perfect addition to his/her sensory diet.”

MightyMom Melissa, Illinois

Activities For Kids With A Sensory Processing Disorder

Sensory processing takes place in the brain when it receives information from the body’s senses, processes that information, and decides how the body should respond. A child may have a sensory processing disorder if he or she does not process this information adequately, which can manifest in many ways, including a frustration or other stress response. All children can benefit from appropriate sensory experiences. Weighted items–including blankets, vests or weights like MightyTykes–can help kid with sensory processing disorder feel more comfortable and function better while doing everyday tasks. While sensory processing disorder can present some challenges, with sensitivity and some adaptations, we can still help kids be part of the action.

Children with a sensory processing disorder can help with preparing meals

There are numerous ways that children with a sensory processing disorder can be involved in meal preparation. Look for opportunities for your child to work his or her muscles such as rolling dough, carrying pots and pans, and stirring thick soups and stews. Seek out tasks that your kid will enjoy that are appropriate for his or her skill set and age level. For example, measuring dry ingredients for a cake or mixing is a perfect task for a preschool age child and can be done wearing MightyTykes.

Spending time in the water and going through an obstacle course provide ample sensory input.

Going to the pool on a regular basis can also be a positive experience for children with sensory processing disorders. Seek out activities for pool time that offer further benefits.  Since MightyTykes are waterproof, your child can wear them in the pool for gentle resistance and sensory comfort.

Obstacle courses provide ample sensory input while allowing kids with a sensory processing disorder to have a lot of fun. You can set up an obstacle course in your home or backyard or at a playground. If you have an obstacle course at a playground, consider incorporating swings, monkey bars, and tunnels. The motions required for these types of tasks will give the child feedback from the environment while improving hand-eye coordination.

Running errands and going to appointments can stress out children with a sensory processing disorder.

It is not uncommon for kids with sensory processing disorders to get stressed out about running errands in crowded stores or having appointments. These appointments can include getting a haircut or having a dental cleaning. Allow your child to wear a weighted item, such as a vest, hat, or heavy backpack to reduce stress level. Whenever possible, stick to a predictable weekly routine with minimal surprises. Again, experiment with different weighted items to help minimize sensory discomfort.

Keep in mind that not all sensory activities are appropriate for all children with a sensory processing disorder. Forcing a child who is extremely fearful or stressed out about a certain task may do more harm than good. Pay attention to your child’s reaction to different stimulation and seek out activities that meet his or her needs and preferences.

A special needs mom worked with physical and occupational therapists to develop Mighty Tykes. Our infant and child weights are intended to promote physical strength and stability for optimal development. Mighty Tykes address a range of common issues including one-sided weakness, overall weakness, toe-walking, low muscle tone or hypotonia, tremors, visual field cut, and sensory processing disorders. Our products are lead free, latex free, and made in the USA. To learn more, give us a call at (877) 456-2822 or contact  us via email at info@mightytykes.com.

Dealing with a Special Needs Diagnosis

Those of you who read my essay Embracing Life or the recent Guideposts article know that I struggled mightily before and after Isaac arrived with a diagnosis of Down syndrome. Today, like so many parents, I can say that both Pierce and Isaac are the loves of my life, and bring both my husband Ray and I unique joy and satisfaction.

photo 1If you’re grappling with a diagnosis, here are a few lessons I’m learning and affirming every day, most of which I find handy with any kid. I hope these tips will comfort and encourage you, knowing that they come from a mom who was at first really crushed and smushed by the news.

  1. No matter what you’re feeling right this minute, know that you will love this child with every fiber of your being and you can have great joy and deep satisfaction, as with any child.
  2. And whatever you feel right now will pass. It will. No matter how overwhelmed, angry, sad, terrified, ugly, hopeless, confused and desperate you feel right this minute, it will pass.
  3. Network on Facebook if not face to face. There are groups for every diagnosis and you can watch from the sidelines until you’re ready to engage.
  4. Don’t read about potential issues or anticipate problems, which fuels fear and overwhelm. You’ll find the internal and external resources to deal with whatever when the time comes.
  5. Guard against “catastrophizing” by staying in the moment and sticking to the facts.
  6. Whatever your child’s limitations, you’ll be able to know and value their essence as an individual.
  7. What as first may seem a curse can be the greatest blessing of your life. (And BTW, the opposite  is true, too).
  8. You, your other kids and your whole family can be the (far) better for this.
  9. Though there are admittedly some challenges to raising a child with special needs, it can be a uniquely gratifying and validating privilege to help meet them.
  10. Your child will routinely surprise you. Sometimes when you’ve given up hope.
  11. Don’t compare yourself or your parenting to anyone else. Ever.
  12. Don’t let experts pressure you into pressuring your child.
  13. Life can be extraordinarily “ordinary” and joyful again.
  14. Don’t sweat milestones. Embrace your child’s pace.
  15. Don’t compare your kid to any other kid. Ever.
  16. You can have a very normal and fulfilling life.
  17. Everyone and every kid is different by design.
  18. Even the best doctors don’t know everything.
  19. Not every comment requires a response.
  20. People won’t understand and that’s OK.

Of course, these are all a matter of opinion, but thankfully, we get to have opinions.

I’m on a journey collecting lessons and would love to hear yours.

God loves you and so do I,

Isabella

 

Cup of tears: One simple milestone leads to tears of joy.

Lesson #328 on letting go. water glass

I was cooking dinner. Isaac was putzing about, pulling assorted cups out of the cupboard, walking them one by one to the family room coffee table to create a colorful, sculptural tableau in sight of the stove.

Suddenly, he nonchalantly grabbed the step stool, pulled it up to the kitchen sink, yet another small cup in hand, and filled it with water. I braced myself, a warning forming on my lips, prepared to see him pour the cup all over the floor or play fireman with the nozzle, but he didn’t. Placidly, as though he’s done it 100o times before, he took a sip. Then another. Then another. Not a single drop dribbled down his chin.

My heart burst, “Isaac, you’re drinking from a cup! Woweee!”

He looked surprised, then smiled his most unbridled smiled at the praise. “Yay!!” he shouted with glee.

Then he quietly stepped down and resumed his cup extravaganza.

Later at dinner, he did it again for a full audience, including Ray and Pierce, and we all hooted and hollered our praise. I burst into tears of joy…and relief, at the latest gentle assurance that Isaac will continue to make headway at his own pace, and that our risk in trusting that is OK. Maybe even better than OK.

Isaac is five, and that was the very first time he took a tidy sip from a regular old cup. He used a bottle for a very long time before graduating to a sippy cup and eventually, a cup with a straw.

My mommy-ego wants so badly to take some credit, to say modestly, “We’ve been working on it for a while…I’m so pleased with his progress.” But the truth is, I have little to do with it.

Ray and I have long abandoned milestone madness, the meticulous and frantic pursuit and documentation of achievement that has overshadowed joy and peace in my own life. We just don’t mark the dates anymore, or read up on motivational strategies, or bully or plead (mostly). It made life exhausting and tense and seemed to saddle the kids with something the tiger mom may one day regret.

We mostly just live and love on both our boys, encourage them and for me, continuously fight the urge to fix or force, often admittedly more fueled by my own feelings of inadequacy or guilt than a desire to advance them on some continuum of performance.

Isaac has provided so many object lessons on the matter of performancism. Lessons which I am reluctantly learning to apply everywhere.

I still don’t know just how to tell the difference between positive encouragement and responsible parental tutelage and destructive, alienating controlling, so out of sync with my boys’ rhythms or my own for motives only God knows for sure. One cue of my misguided manipulation is panicky, clench-toothed insistence, even when accompanied with a smile and warm woos. When I sense that creeping up in me, I sometimes stop and pray. Or just stop. Which is a good place start…or stop.

When I pay attention, I see that God graciously seems to issue ongoing assurances that it’s OK to let go. Like Isaac–of his own accord, on his own clock–moseying up to sink and taking a sip of water from a cup.

A cup of tears.

Let him be. Let it be.

Our family was visiting some old friends recently. They are people we only see about three or four times a year, usually for an afternoon (read, not enough time to be truly familiar). While the big kids went out to play and the adults congregated in the living room, Isaac scooted off behind some furniture to play with some seemingly random objects he found in the toy chest, deeply and blissfully absorbed.

Balls1After a few minutes, one of my friends looked around, and craning her neck, spotted Isaac. Her nose scrunched up in what looked like consternation. She rose purposefully, making her way to Isaac. “Isaac, how are you? Can I play?,” she asked in that artificial playful tone we sometimes use to engage kids. Not to be distracted, Isaac mewed a familiar “No!” still enraptured by his solitary play. She was insistent, and from where I sat, I could see her trying hard to make order of his special play–What I’ve come to call Isaac’s physics experiments, his careful manipulation and observation of objects, often balls, but sometimes other random-seeming items.(Since my dad was a physicist, I’ve come to believe Isaac got that gene, which I lack, incidentally.)

She continued to attempt to enlist him in one on one contact, meanwhile imposing her notion of what made sense to her with the objects provided. I felt myself growing antsy and defensive…of Isaac and myself. Did she think he was being neglected, playing all alone in a qu iet spot? Did she see his unique form of play as just another pitiful sign of his “limited” Down syndrome world? “Couldn’t she see he wanted to be alone and was happy that way?”

Gee, Isabella, you may be thinking by now, give the mind-reading a break! Well, let me tell ya, they say if you can spot it, ya got it! Isaac just recently turned five, and it probably took me half that time to lovingly accept that how he plays, when he plays, when he engages, how he engages and who he chooses to engage or not as PERFECTLY OK.

balls 2Isaac, I’ve come to realize, has much healthier boundaries and self-awareness than I’m likely ever to have. He is unfettered by the social grace indoctrination that burdened me most of my life. “Hug Aunt Franny,” who routinely intrudes on your personal space. “Play with little Johnny,” whom you don’t really like. “Talk to adults when they speak to you…” even when you feel intimidated and unsure of what to say because you’re five years old. Isaac is not unkind. Actually, he is an ambassador of love. But he feels no pressure to socialize artificially and is wiser than most, taking time to himself when he needs it, and actively seeking out playmates when he’d like.

Before you swell in uproar, I am not advocating abandoning good manners, kindness or even teaching a child with special needs how to socialize appropriately. I am not suggesting (ok, maybe kinda) that we ignore expert advice about teaching a child to play with balls, blocks, cars and kids the “right” way.  I am just inviting you to consider that maybe, just maybe, the way your special someone does it is totally OK.  That maybe our insistence that our kids–any kids–conform to our vision (about good play–or a good education, good job or good time, for that matter) is perhaps at least somewhat misguided and more about our comfort than theirs. And that maybe we could learn a different way.

Let them be. Let it be.

P.S. How about you? I’d really love to hear your insights or experience with this.

 

 

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