The Past Bunch of Days

Eli had OT on Monday.  They played a bit, he wasn’t too interested in her toys this time, he was much more interested in his own toys.  He did however start saying “up, up, up” while stacking his blocks.  And he’s made a game of kicking them down these days too.  His OT didn’t have much different to say this week.  It’s a lot of the same stuff.

There’s been a lot of compulsive jumping, spinning, and chanting the past few days.  It’s like he *has* to do it.  I try to distract him but it doesn’t always work.  He’s been so cute lately with the alphabet … when I say a letter he makes a sound.  Until today it seemed kind of all over the place and like he wasn’t making any letter sounds, but things changed today … more on that later in the post!

Sleep has been a huge issue.  Sleep?  What is sleep?  You’ll notice it’s after 4am and I’m typing a post!  Eli just doesn’t sleep well.  It can take hours to get him down to sleep and then often he wakes up 20 minutes later.  It’s been a real mess lately.  D and I are zombies.  Some days Eli doesn’t seem any worse for not sleeping though.  Other days, like today, he’s a giant tired mess!  Or I thought it was because he was tired, but his ST today may be on to something!

Eli had speech therapy today (make that yesterday, but it’s still today to me since I haven’t actually gone to sleep yet!) and it was mostly talking about Eli while she observed him.  This was this ST first real visit with us so she was getting a feel for things.  She is also his therapy coordinator so she talks the business end of all of this stuff too.

He was mostly a hot mess for his ST today.  He was over tired and just not feeling being social today.  He played for a bit at first when she got here.  He played with his blocks… stacking them and then touching each stack with his forehead.  He ran around bouncing off of things too.  He drew for a bit.  He was kind of all over the place really.  He ended up needing a nap in the middle of ST but when I put him down he only stayed down for 20 minutes.  We were trying to do a sensory question thingy with the ST but we didn’t get to finish.

After observing Eli and talking with us for a bit, A (the ST) started to talk about some sensory stuff.  She said that sometimes a child needs more sensory input than other kids and when they don’t just get it they seek it out.  So that would be why he will jump for a very long time, or spin, or bang his head and other such stuff.  She says he may need more sensory input than he’s getting to feel okay and so he doesn’t know any other way but to display these behaviors.  She also explained that time he could be learning or doing other normal activities is taken up by the time he spends spinning or jumping or chanting.

So we decided to test her theory.  He was pretty much non stop crying after she left and we figured it would do everyone good to get out of the house for a bit.  We decided to do a lot of sensory stuff to see if giving him way more sensory input helped things any.

We first went to the mall where we sat in the food court and had some lunch and did a lot of people watching.  He very happily ate lunch while looking at everyone and everything around him.  After that we walked around a bit, he was in his stroller, but he wasn’t complaining, just people watching.  He ate chicken nuggets for lunch and after we got him a fruit smoothie and he slurped that up while we walked.

Before leaving we took Eli out of his stroller and let him walk around Macy’s.  He didn’t grab at anything and he wasn’t wild, so I figured I would just let him go and follow him and see what happened.  First he walked around the racks, in circles over and over again.  Then he found full length mirrors and has a blast looking at himself and saying “he-woah” (hello) to himself.  He kept laughing at himself.  He’s been randomly laughing a lot lately, but this was definitely him laughing at himself.  He would fall down on the floor and watch himself and say down and he would jump up and watch himself and say up.  This is when he started to get pretty lively and very happy.  He walked around Macy’s for a good half hour and I just followed him.  He at one point banged his head into every single stack of clothing he could find .. and being in Macy’s that was a lot!  Towards the end of the half hour it was obvious he had had enough and to avoid a melt down I picked him up and we went up and then down the escalators and then we went to the van.

From the mall we went to the playground.  He had a blast running through the grass, relocating the wood chips, climbing up stairs, going down slides, walking (ever so carefully, it was adorable!) across the drawbridge and just over all having fun.  He was very happy.  He had trouble climbing up a few times and each time we would ask him, “do you need help?” and sign help.  Eventually he walked over to where he had trouble and would yell “hell!” until we rescued him and helped him up.  It was so sweet to hear him talk and use a word on purpose and with meaning!

After the playground we came home for a few minutes and then we took the dogs for a walk and went to a nearby fenced in field and let Eli run around with the dogs.  He loves the dogs and spent quite a bit of time chasing them and yelling “dee! dee!” after them.

Then we came home and I made dinner.  As dinner was cooking I sliced up some apples and gave some to Dave and handed a piece to Eli.  I didn’t think he would eat it, but I always try anyway .. well he ate it!  And loved it!  And asked (signed “more”) for more!  Then he started stealing Dave’s pieces from his plate.  I am beyond excited that he happily tried a new food and one I’ve never put before him before!

After a rather healthy sized dinner Eli had a bath and then we sat on the sofa and read book before bed.  When he picked the book he wanted, (Buzz Buzz Busy Bees) he brought it to me saying “butt, butt” (buzz, buzz I suspect and if you’re keeping track he says die-die-die to people as they leave while shoo’ing them out the door, he yells “hell!” and now says butt, butt) and we sat together and read the book.

After that book we did our abc game.  I start by saying a and it was that he was just making sounds .. but when I said “a” .. he plain as day said, “bee!” and then a lot of the letters he would repeat after me and they sounded so close!  Some letters he just made a sound for and other letters he anticipated.  When I said “h” he said “i” and he perfectly said “p” too!  I was impressed and so happy and excited!

I don’t know if all of the day’s sensory input helped him to be more content and able to focus and talk and eat .. or if it was just a coincidence?  I am more than willing to put this theory to the test though and really pay close attention to what he’s had for sensory input each day compared to his behaviors for the day.

I want to provide him with all the sensory input he needs.  I would love for the spinning to stop so he doesn’t bump his head and I would love for him to jump because it’s fun not because he feels the urge or need to … but how on earth do I provide him with all the sensory input he seems to need every single day?  That’s a lot to do every day, all day.  I don’t know how to meet his needs in a more realistic way.  I also don’t want to over stimulate him either.  I guess this is where his EI team is going to start to come in really handy!

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