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Friday, December 30, 2011

Shaving cream for sensory processing disorder

We got a rare opportunity to go to Raya's OT appointment without Kaida today. Sometimes I wonder if Kaida is getting in the way of Raya's therapy because she is right there playing with Raya & Miss Elizabeth the whole time, but then on days like today when she's not there with us, I can see how it can be beneficial to have Kaida there.
Elizabeth started out with doing Raya's "rubs and squishes", which is part of the sensory protocol. It involves doing long rubbing strokes down the arms & legs and then doing joint compressions to help increase body awareness. There's more to it than that, but that's the gist of it. :)
Then she got out the platform swing, and this was one thing that is much better done when Kaida is there. Usually when the platform swing is out, the girls race to see who can get on it first and they spend 15 minutes just swinging. Today, I was really surprised by how reserved and cautious Raya was when the swing came out. She sat down carefully on the edge of the swing with her feet hanging down so her toes would touch the floor, but wasn't really interested in having the swing move much. When Elizabeth got out some toys for her to sit on the swing & play with, Raya just wanted to stand on the floor and use the swing as a table for the toys. I guess Kaida brings out the daredevil in her. :)

After minimal success with the swing, Elizabeth set up a little obstacle course for Raya with the big mat. She had a box of animal blocks that Raya was very interested in and put the blocks at one end of the mat and the box at the other end. She had a big bolster under one part of the mat so that Raya would have to grab a block, climb over the "mountain," crawl to the end of the mat, get down, and then put the block in the correct shaped hole in the box. She seemed to enjoy it and this was one time where it was better not to have Kaida there. Kaida likes to do things like this FOR Raya instead of letting her do it herself.

After she was done with the blocks, we decided to get messy and brought out the shaving cream. A lot of kids with sensory processing disorder (and in Raya's case, feeding issues) don't like getting their hands messy. Raya is kind of hit and miss with getting messy. She's ok with certain textures of messy food and sand doesn't bother her, but light fluffy textures don't give strong sensory input and she's never quite sure how to handle them. Shaving cream at OT has never been Raya's favorite thing, but there was no crying this time so that's good. :)

I decided to just take her jeans off and let her play with the shaving cream in her diaper, which turned out to be a good decision since the first step she took in the shaving cream landed her flat on her rear right in the middle of it. :) Once she stood up, she backed herself all the way to the edge of the mat trying to get as far away from the shaving cream as she could.
Elizabeth kept reaching a hand out to her trying to coax her into it but she just looked at her as if to say, "Are you crazy, lady? I'm not TOUCHING that stuff!"
Eventually she did walk around a little bit and she used her finger to draw in it a little. Then she got fixated on trying to get it off of her feet and totally ignored Elizabeth and me. :)
She was patient with the whole experience and seemed to be "present" with it. Most of the time if a therapist is doing something with her that she doesn't like, she kind of tunes out and does whatever she has to in order to ignore what's happening. This time she obviously didn't like what we were doing, but she still responded to us most of the time and just took a more reserved and quiet approach to it.
In calorie intake news, She dropped down to 73 calories yesterday, which is kind of a bummer. Today she shouldn't have any trouble beating that because she's already had 60. It just depends on how much sour cream she wants to eat. If she follows the same pattern next week, then maybe we'll increase the dose of periactin and see if it helps her stay more consistent through the week.
And speaking of increasing the dose, Raya still seems to be doing very well with her increased dose of Neurontin. I mentioned before that I'd been thinking of taking her off of it since she'd been on the same dose for almost a year, but I'm so glad that we tried increasing the dose first to see if it helped. She is so much more content and seems to just be more comfortable overall, which carries over into mood & behavior. The biggest and best change I've seen though is that she's much more willing to give hugs and let me hold her. I don't think I have to explain why that makes me happy. :)

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