Today was a tough day for our son with SPD. He receives OT that our homeschool program pays for, but it’s not a weekly session. Rather, it’s in 10-day therapy intensives that kind of “shock his system” and help to retrain him. He receives these 10-day sessions once per school quarter, and once during the 6-week Extended School Year program.
His first intensive was in May, and we had some ups & downs – for which the therapists had prepared us. Emotions were a little messy at times. He was withdrawn a few times, and at other times he was seeking out much more sensory input than he normally does. As we began this particular therapy intensive, we were prepared for more of the same, but hopefully to a lesser extent as he’d already had one of these intensives.
During his first week of this therapy intensive, we also had vacation bible school at our church. We had the mornings to get things done around the house, then grab a quick (and early) lunch, head out to therapy in the early afternoon, then drive home. My younger 2 kids (including our 7-yr old special needs son) got a nap a little later than usual. We’d get up from naps, grab a quick bite to eat and head out to church for vacation bible school. We did not get home until about 9:30 each night (sometimes a little later). My kids did not really sleep in that week, like I thought they might. So – regular wake up times, later nap times, later bed times, vacation bible school, later bed times. They seemed to be managing really well, though, and I was hopeful that some of the emotions and stress we’d seen during the first intensive, in May, might bypass us this round.
Last week, his therapist reported, “This is a totally different kid…so much different than the boy who was in here 2 months ago! All sensory defensiveness is gone; he met an IEP goal.” My husband & I were thrilled – we see progress almost daily in speech, social skills, and sensory issues. Of course he was progressing well!
Today, the same therapist reported, “Major regression – at least back to the same level as before beginning his intensive 2 months ago.” She went on to tell me that she was not able to get anything done with him today, due to his non-compliance. He would speak, but it was off-topic, and while it was intelligible, it made no sense in regards to whatever they were talking about.
He went from his OT session into a speech session. I informed his speech therapist of the very poor hour he’d just had. About 50 minutes into his 60-minute speech session, he came running out to the waiting room. I asked if he was finished, because this was very unusual for him. He told me that he was given free time. I was sure that was a possibility, but that most likely it was free time to be spent in the therapy room, which ended up being the case. I had to carry him back to the therapy room as he would not go willingly. He started throwing things at the speech therapist, who informed me that most of his session was fine – this was completely opposite of how he’d behaved for most of the hour.
He would not put his shoes on. He would not comply and gather his things to go home. He would not answer my questions because I said “No talking for 5 minutes”. When I told him it was okay to answer my questions, he would talk about things that had nothing to do with my question.
WHAT HAPPENED TO MY SON?!?!?!
After some panic on my part (does he need a CT scan? is something really wrong inside that he’s making no sense?), I made a few phone calls. The first was to my mom because moms are supposed to have the answers to everything. The second was to a trusted friend who understands our issues with our son because she has seen a lot of the same issues with a different child.
We all agreed – most likely, my son is just overly tired, despite seeming to handle his first week of therapy and vbs quite well. He’s probably exhausted all his usual options for getting out of something he doesn’t want to do. Because of his exhaustion, he’s probably got a lot of sensory defensiveness today, and that came out with the therapist who is not his favorite. Several times while we were talking today, he would say, “Never mind.” That’s my clue that whatever he’s trying to tell me is too complicated for him to explain – for one reason or another. Whatever he was trying to talk about, as uncohesive as it seemed, must have been connected in some manner, but it was too much for him to work the connection out in his mind, and then explain the connection to me.
He’s a good kid – he’s a great kid! My husband & I are blessed with 3 wonderful kids – my heart is full! I’m exhausted, though, after spending the day worrying over my guy’s issues and trying to determine if this necessitates medical intervention, or just more rest. Most of the time, he just needs more rest, but these were behaviors we haven’t seen. This made no sense today other than to hope that he just needs more rest. Even so, it’s really hard to get a child with sensory issues to get more rest. Their minds are racing with all the “what-if” and “how” and “why” and “when” and “where” questions that plague them. Their bodies have to keep up with their mind for them to achieve the balance that we feel when all is well. We cannot just say, “Calm your mind and you’ll be okay,” because they won’t. Their mind will continue to the point of exhausting their physical body, possibly to the point of becoming sick.
For now, we seem to have a handle on this. Tomorrow’s a new day, and I’m hopeful that we’ve reached a possible solution with him that will allow him to participate in his therapy and turn this corner to get back on track!