We have been trying to increase Eli’s sensory diet in a practical way. It simply isn’t practical to go to the mall every day. So I’ve been trying to figure out ways to give him what he needs while staying inside of our usual routine.
Both his OT and his ST came on Monday. It was a short session and really didn’t yield much of anything new. Eli did sign more when he wanted more puzzle pieces and he showed them the sneeze game. He had them both sneezing shapes from the shape sorter off of their heads. G worked with him while A asked me questions. They’re trying to get a good feel for where he is and what his needs are so they can really tailor things to suit his needs.
One thing I’ve been doing for more sensory input is going outside more. We take a walk at least once a day. He is usually in his wagon and at some point I take him out and let him run through grass at the field or walk holding my hand up and down our street. I will take him outside and hold him and he likes to watch the neighborhood kids play. He loves to run in the field with the dogs and chase after them.
Another thing I’ve been doing for increased sensory input is very physical games. I encouraged Eli to run at me and then I catch him. When I catch him I give him a squeeze and a kiss and let him go so he can do it all over again. Sometimes this turns into the squeeze game where I squeeze him and make exaggerated sounds and then he squeezes me back grunting and turning red. It’s too cute.
We play the flying game. I lay on my back on the floor and put him on my legs and bounce him up and down counting and on three I flip him over and dangle him in the air. He LOVES this and will push me to the floor and climb on my legs to get me to fly him.
I’ve been changing up how he plays, at the suggestion of his OT. She says that he seems very set in his routines of playing and that he always does the same things and we should try to help him vary it. So instead of just stacking blocks up, we’ve been stacking them to the sides and putting figures on top and making trains and pushing them. When we play at the train table together I make obstacles on the track for him to push through. We play a lot of catch and we play a lot of sneeze game.
When I’m not playing with him, he is so very content to just play by himself. He is always more content doing his own thing and is often bothered when I try to play with him. But usually once we get started he’s happy to have me. He loves to take a cr or train and just drive it everywhere on every surface, just walking around driving it on things. He spends a lot of time with his puzzles and shape sorter too.
Since increasing Eli’s sensory input I have definitely noticed some changes. He is happier over all. He is eating better and more things. He will consistently eat cheese, strawberries, mac and cheese and apples now!
He is asking to go to bed when he is tired and will happily go to bed. He still requests to nurse to sleep and we snuggle and he goes right to sleep. Some days he lets Daddy snuggle him to sleep too. Mostly though he will ask to go to bed adn he will ask to nurse. He asks to go to bed by saying “nigh-nigh” and he asks to nurse by dragging me into his bedroom and tossing himself into bed and laying down ready to nurse and sometimes he says “mama” while doing it.
We have been working on adding the signs for help and done to his vocabulary. He hasn’t signed help, but he says “help!” anytime he climbs up on anything. I’m thinking he associates help with climbing up because he first started to say help when he was climbing up on playground equipment. So we are working on using “help” in other contexts. A couple of nights ago at dinner he threw his hands up in the air and said “duh! duh!” and I figured out he is signing and saying done! He’s done that consistently for the past couple of days now. It’s always when he is done eating or drinking. So again we are going to be working on using it in other contexts.
He has been really big on his up/down game. He says “up” and everyone in the room has to raise their hands and say up. He will keep saying up until EVERYONE has their hands up and then he ever so cutely says “down” and flicks his hands downward. He also loves to make a sound and have the big kids echo is back to him.
Today has been a shoe day, yesterday was too. He’s been out of sorts today but I can’t really figure out why or what’s going on. Just an off day I guess?
Overall his sleep has been better. He finally cut all of the teeth he was working on, which I think has helped. But I also se that the extra sensory input is helping him out in the sleep department as well. He goes down and most nights stays down until 3 or 4 when Daddy can usually go in and soothe him and then about 5 or 6 he cries for me and wants to nurse. He nurses and we snuggle and he is usually back to sleep until 8 or so. It works for now and is so much better than when he was getting up every 20 minutes! Naps have been better too.
I worry that I might be desensitizing him to touch and making him calloused in a way with all of this physical sensory input. But he is hardly spinning at all, bounces more for fun and less out of compulsion and is banging his head less. He still loves to touch everything with his forehead. I have noticed that he walks on his toes almost all of the time now though. I’m not sure what that is about?