Like clockwork the meteorological calendar ticks over to Autumn and the rain comes, we have our first sight of leaves falling from the trees today. Plenty of muddy puddles to jump in for all the children, something I’ve been waiting for a while. I thought that it would just be bound by Ariella’s ability to A. stand B. jump but it turns out C. anxiety has reared its head. Yet here it is and I’m so glad Summer is over with now, pregnancy and heat are just not for me. In fact much as it may surprise you I don’t really like direct sunlight all that much, I still enjoy going on holiday but prefer to spend my time in shaded spots – preferably with a lovely cold drink and a good book. I know some of my friends were amazed when I said that since we do favour hot locations, I’d happily go somewhere snowing if I could convince anyone to come with me!
The last few weeks have been full of tears, tantrums, crying and of course children of her age do these things – I hear that a lot. They do, but before you take that thought path let me direct you down this road because I think the behavioural aspects of special needs children is really overlooked. Check out this brilliantly written article by a physiologist part one which lists the cons and part two which lists the pros. It’s odd to see so many of my thoughts written down as I’d never really considered that other people often feel this way too, the feedback reward loop is something that I’ve always found a challenge.
With SN children, however, they often require that you teach—and reteach and reteach—some of the same lessons until the children learn. What happens when the student doesn’t learn? The parent understandably feels frustrated. Parents need positive reinforcement to keep chugging along, but they don’t get the reinforcement they need if the child doesn’t learn the lessons. In this way, the parent’s experience leads to a sort of crisis of faith: Are my efforts making a difference? If not, where do I go from here? – Psychology Today
The hope is that Occupational therapy will aid with some methods and techniques to counter the anxiety and sensory aversions that Ariella seems to be showing. It was rather disappointing when our private assessment had to be cancelled by the therapist, I’m now undecided about whether to continue my search for a new therapist while we wait out the very long (so I’m told) wait list for NHS O/T or just hope that things settle down a little in the meanwhile. I am trying to find out how long the current wait is but it’s proving elusive, hopefully with this knowledge in hand I can make an informed choice for Ariella.
Since starting nursery a fear and dislike of other children has settled in, I’m not sure why this has happened and I’m not really sure what to do about it. There seems to be a proximity around her in which if a child comes near she will meltdown and hit out – I can only think that she did have a collision with another child while walking at nursery a few weeks back. It was only a matter of time, but I hope in time this might ease a little, taking her outside where inevitably there is grass, sand, rain, noises, other children is proving more and more difficult. Usually resulting in biting, hitting and screaming until removed from the situation. Challenging indeed!
We’ve not seen Ariella’s physiotherapist all Summer as there has been a change over of staff but her next appointment is next week and luckily she has been assigned a therapist who she has met before through hydrotherapy. I’m sure she will be pleased with her progress, when her therapist left her she was just starting to walk unaided a little but regressed. Now Ariella is walking well indoors, as of this week she has started to stand up from the ground rather than needing support. She is still a little wobbly and often unsure but her confidence is growing, we just need to work on this outside too! Generally speaking I feel happy to watch her toddle around and no longer feel I need to prepare her for falling like in the early days when she would fall over or lose balance. Next I’m hoping to focus on going up and down stairs, climbing – all tasks which will really help me out with another baby on the way.
Update – Today she asked for the steps and she climbed up with a little encouragement by herself! Taking her lead I offered her the chance to climb the bigger stairs from our entrance door up and she did those all by herself. I’m so pleased for her! So lovely to see all her limbs moving together and building her strength.
Ariella has a new pair of orthopaedic shoes on order, they are a size bigger than her current boots and will have supports which remove in a dashing shade of pink. The plan is to use the supports in regular shoes too and slowly wean her off the support, music to my ears. Her feet are still very bent over but apparently this doesn’t matter so much, it’s about how much balance she has and stability.
Music class is back on the weekly schedule, the break has made her clam up a little in class but Ariella adore music. She loves shaking her maracas left, right, up high and tapping. She’s come such a long way in terms of using her instruments, often copying what the class teacher is doing when it suits. We’ve had many renditions of Twinkle, twinkle and Happy Birthday (ever since her nieces birthday party a few weekends ago). Often she will be humming or singing the words while playing with her toys, doing a little dance. Here is a little clip the original is several minutes long, I wish I had captured it in landscape but never mind!