Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sensory Update: OT Break

Totally zoned out on self stimulation
with a vibrating toy.
We're almost through with Daniel's assimilation break from OT. We've had five weeks away (this morning is our first appointment back) and Daniel is definitely showing some changes. Primarily, his vocabulary (both spoken words and signs) has increased dramatically in the past month. He now seems very interested in the words others say, and often tries to copy words as he hears them. This is quite different than before our most recent OT intensive, and it's been really fun to witness this type of rapid developmental advance.

Daniel's elimination/toileting habits have also changed a lot over this break. While we were still going to OT, Daniel was consistently telling us that he needed a diaper change by signing diaper or saying peepee. (This may have been due to hyperawareness of his bodily functions or sensitivity to the sensation of it.) During the first three weeks of the break, he completely stopped telling us when he needed to have a new diaper. Even worse, he would get very upset when one of us would suggest that we'd like to change his diaper (to the point of having a meltdown over every diaper change, and running away screaming at the first mention of a diaper). I suspect that this phase was due to him developing a new sense of bodily autonomy and control over that part of his life. In the past couple of weeks, he's been again allowing us to change his diaper more frequently, and—get this—he's been peeing on the potty. He doesn't do it all the time, but we offer the potty at regular times throughout the day, and he's getting pretty good at sitting down on it and letting the pee flow. He'll even walk around the bathroom diaperless for a while, then sit down, say peepee while pointing down, and then go pee in the potty. This is a huge shift from when we first started potty learning, when he was so uncomfortable being on the potty that he would actually hold his pee while sitting there.

Most importantly (though we still have a long way to go in this area) Daniel seems to be doing better overall with self regulation and letting us know what exactly he needs to help him feel better. We've got a solid daily routine which Daniel understands and (usually) follows. (Jaymz and Uncle Matthew are also getting very accustomed to the routine, and we all help keep things on track throughout the day.) While I still wish we could vary from our routine more easily and with fewer poor outcomes, I'm really grateful that this kind of structure has limited the number of meltdowns we have in any given day.

One of his new things that helps him to feel calmer is wearing socks on his hands. He also loves to wear mittens and put small bottles or other things like that on his hands. I think the sensory input from his hands just gets to be too much for him sometimes, and having it dulled down is really regulating for him. I'm happy to do whatever works!

Playing with Lisa!
Daniel has also been playing pretend with things (he pretends to eat a piece of felt food, instead of actually putting it in his mouth, for example) for over a month now. This playing pretend is (I'm told) a quite advanced concept for him to grasp at this age. He has also learned the concept of "mine" and just this morning he learned to say "D" to refer to himself!

All these new developments are very fun and most of all, I'm glad that Daniel is learning how to help himself feel more calm and regulated. I'm excited to get back to OT with Lisa today. I've really missed her and I'm looking forward to playing together in the gym again!


  1. Watching our littles develop and learn is such a joy, it is fascinating. I'm so glad you've gotten the help you guys need and things have improved.

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