This was written in April. I considered re-writing it to a more timely post (where we are now,) but I figured between this and the post before it, you get a pretty good idea of where we all are right now. Summer vacation has changed things up a bit. And while, life in general seems to be calmer, I suspect we won't know if any of the things we're doing to help our girls is working until a few weeks after school starts. If there are helping, I suspect there will be a new set of issues to keep us on our toes. The silver lining, I guess, is that you, lucky reader, have tons of blog fodder just waiting to be written, so you can read it. So, um, yeah.
Short story long, we had Little tested. She has some speech issues, most of which are something that would normally be addressed until later. (IOW, she has be older to be considered "delayed" in those areas.) But the big thing they found was that Little is a single processor. (Means she can't really multi-task. Doesn't mean she won't be able to, but right now she really needs to be able to focus on one thing at a time.) She was also diagnosed with sensory defensiveness disorder. This isn't really news to us. We've said all along she has some sensory thing. It's why she wants a dozen blankets on her at night, even when it's 105 outside. It's why she used to completely lose her shit over wearing a seat-belt. It's why she isn't a fan of cold things; even ice cream. And why she feels pants and shoes, and most especially socks should always be optional, if required at all ever. The combination of her sensory defensiveness & being a single processor is a large part of why she seems to be struggling at school. She is easily distracted. If anything at all commands her attention, then everything else is ignored. There are some other issues; things that she can do, but isn't doing correctly. She has acquired incredible coping mechanisms; and manages to use other muscle groups when the ones normally used aren't up to the task. So, she is having to learn how to hold her pencil in a different way. A part of her sensory defensiveness is that her sense of touch is messed up. Some of her speech issues are because she doesn't feel her tongue the way most of us do. So she can't make the 'R' sound because she doesn't feel if her tongue is in the right place. The sense of touch thing also works the opposite way; she may not think something hurts the way you and I might. BUT, if something does get her attention; say a hangnail, she becomes almost obsessive over it. That's the single processing thing at work. If it's irritating her, she can't just ignore it like you or I. Additionally, she has trouble "resetting" herself. When you get ready to do something different, your brain switches over to a new mode to accommodate the new activity. This is especially true is you are going from something physical to something more mundane, or visa versa. Little seems to have issues with self-regulation. She needs to be "reset." How a child "resets" or "organizes" themselves for a new activity has a lot to do w/the way in which your child learns best. Different types of learners would include; visual, audio, etc... Little is dependent on her proprioceptive system for learning. She needs her muscles to "grease the wheels," so to speak, in order for her to retain and repeat things she's learned. A classroom setting, isn't the best place for kids like her. She's the type of kid, who you could shout out a list of items to while she's running & she can repeat them back to you. Give her the same list while she's sitting on the floor or at a desk & not so much. How does one fix this? I don't know if you really fix it, so much as you try to find acceptable ways to help her reset/organize in a classroom setting. We have been working with a sensory diet; lots of gum chewing. And have been utilizing "brushing." I do think they both are helping, but they aren't completely resolving her issues. We're at a place now, where she is "holding it together at school," but when she gets home, she completely loses her shit. This part has been hard. For several months, Little has attended school w/the early & late birds; thus having a 4 hour day, instead of a 3 hour one. At home, we've been working our butts off to help her; repetition, games, songs, etc... And she seems to be caught up now. Her teacher suggested that after Spring Break, she should go back to a 3 hour day. The problem is, she's not having issues at school, but she is having them at home. I suspect after a month or so, of these 3 hour days, she will start to show signs of her problems again. The mental part of this, is exhausting for her. She wants so badly to "be & do good," she focuses all of her energy on it while at school. (This is no small deal considering the kids in her class. That's a blog post in itself.) When she gets home, she's shot. She still has homework to do, so at some point, she acts out because she's overwhelmed & exhausted. Yeah, it's been a bit rough.