Sunday, August 14, 2011

Life and stuff

I didn't post about OT this week because life got in the way.  My mother is in the hospital with pneumonia.  She'll be discharged tomorrow, so she's doing much better.  But for the first time in a while, I found myself focusing much more on another human than my child. 

The child in question handles mild changes in routine pretty well.  I have purposely established things regarding him to run in a similar manner but not the exact same routine every day.  Like most kids with SPD, Frank thrives on routine.  As D explained to me, when you have a routine, you know what sensory "assaults" are coming your way each day.  You know when and how to "gird your loins", so to speak.  When that routine changes, and especially without advance notice, it's disturbing, because you don't know what's coming your way.

Frank used to be much worse.  During his evening routine, for example, first he had to have a bath, then get dressed, then get a story or two (from Daddy, not me), then brush teeth, then bed, and we had to always say the exact same things as we said good night to him.  If you varied this routine even slightly, he freaked out.  As D explained it, back in the day when I feared a diagnosis of SPD meant he had autism, "Generally speaking, autistic kids don't freak out at changes in routine bcause of their autism.  They freak out because they have SPD, too."

The Vacation We Do Not Speak Of, from two years ago?  He was miserable because he wasn't in his bed at night and naptime, and wasn't at his chair in his kitchen for meals, and these chicken nuggets didn't look like his at home, and when were we going home?

After discussing that in detail with D, and with my husband, we started changing things up.  I started doing different routines at bedtime every night.  I started having him sit in different chairs at the kitchen table to eat, and, once he outgrew his milk allergy, We started bringing him to McDonalds and Wendys, and stopped bringing a baggie of chicken nuggets from home everywhere we went- if it was a place like a diner, where I knew they'd serve chicken nuggets or chicken fingers, we started ordering those for him. 

This went over with the boy, as my mother would say, like a fart in church.  The first dozen or so times we tried to get him to eat Other Chicken, he had a hissy fit and refused to eat it.  Frustrating, to be sure, but, really, I had expected no less from him. 

He also disliked changes in bedtime routine.  "NO!  Brush teeth comes after story, not before!!"  Such small things, but oh so important to him. 

Anyway, in such small steps are changes made.  Frank is pretty flexible about most changes in routine now.  He knows by now that I and my husband have got his back, no matter what.  We've even left him with a few babysitters a few times, babysitters who were Not Grandma, and he had a splendid time with someone new to play with. 

Anyway, back to my original topic, when Mom called to say she was going to the hospital Tuesday night, while I waited for my husband to get home from work, I got Frank his dinner and got things organzied for the evening.  I told him Mimi was sick and I was going to see her in the hospital as soon as Daddy got home.  Even though I'm the one who handles most of his evening routine usually, because my husband works until after 7pm, this didn't seem to faze him at all.  And the times I've left for a few hours, or taken him, to visit my mother didn't seem to faze him, either. 

He's much calmer about changes now than he was two years ago, or even one year ago.  I am hoping this continues when we go to Disney!


  1. You give me hope for the future. Thank you. Its good to know that my son will grow out of his routines and eating habits. Glad your mom is getting better.

  2. It takes a lot of patience and a lot of repeats of variations of, "A small change in routine will not kill you, no matter how loudly you scream about it." LOL