Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Wyatt's Best Friend.....

wyatt's best friend clayton is in birmingham, alabama tonight getting ready to have open heart surgery tomorrow (wednesday)morning.  he will turn 2 in november, and the cardiologist has been keeping a close eye on him since birth to determine when he would need surgery.  clayton has a leaky valve as well as a hole in his heart, and the cardiologist decided last month that it is time! 

we are bonded to this family through the boys' "little something extra," Down syndrome!   we "accidentally" met at jcpenney, i blogged about that here, and became fast friends!  clayton's mama april is a sweet, strong woman of God, and has been a huge encouragement to me!   his daddy, robert, also loves and serves the Lord!  they are just an awesome family!  

yay!  mcdonald's!  yummy!
as wyatt and i have spent time lately with april and clayton, i so wish that i could take away from her the fear that i see in her eyes and hear in her voice.    i know that fear.  i know those concerns.  i know what it feels like to hand your child over to a virtual stranger, a surgeon who will cut his chest open, put his heart on a bypass machine, fix his heart and then remove his heart from bypass.    i know what it feels like to wait and pray....hoping and trusting God that your child will be okay. wyatt's open heart surgery is the reason i started blogging!  many of my friends whose kids have Ds also know that feeling.....they have walked that path as well.    what a blessing it is to be on the other side of surgery....

"i don't think they will notice if we turn it on...."
and so i pray.....continuously.... for this precious boy with an infectious smile and a charismatic personality!   i pray for his mama and daddy, his grandparents, and their entire family as they wait.  and i pray for all those involved in his surgery; his surgeon, anesthesiologist and the entire surgical team, as well as his nurses who will lovingly care for him!  and i ask you to pray for them as well.   please pray that his surgery goes smoothly, that his pain is minimal, and that his recovery is uneventful as well!   thank you.....

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday.....PT Boot Camp!

normally, wyatt has physical therapy in our home, but occasionally ms joanna will ask us to come to the clinic, for new challenges.  today she had a "toddler boot camp" set up throughout the clinic for wyatt!  she had him virtually running in circles!  he was the only patient there, and he had the run of the place!  he did terrific and had a blast!  enjoy.....

Monday, September 19, 2011

Just Another Manic Monday.....

whew....my head is spinning!  what a "monday" this has been!  wyatt has wreaked havoc all over the house!  he started this morning, while i was in the bathroom trying to get ready to leave for therapy, dumping things in my bathtub....a favorite activity of his!  so i put him out of the bathroom and shut the door.   eventually i heard an unusually heavy-sounding thud reverberate through the tile floors.... he had found a beautiful, yummy smelling yankee jar candle, and dropped it on the tile floor.....i found him holding pieces of glass, surrounded by shards of glass!
thank God that he did not get cut....i truly believe wyatt's guardian angels work overtime for this little guy!  however, while i was cleaning up the glass, i put him in his room and he managed to empty his laundry basket and spread his clothes around.....


after therapy we visited g-mama for a bit, and he actually did not get into anything over there!  which is very unusual! 

once we got home, i was fixing lunch while he played a bit before naptime....and oh my goodness.....

he emptied these straw thingies...

from this basket,
and started stuffing his dirty clothes
in the basket....
happy little man....and no harm done!
which was a LOT of fun!

i must admit that with child #1 i would have had a "fit" (is that just a southern term?)....but by child #3, i just laughed and enjoyed the time that he was occupied!    too bad i didn't learn that sooner...   blessings!    

Friday, September 16, 2011

Wyatt's Sensory Therapies....Therapeutic Listening

a major component of wyatt's sensory therapy has been "THERAPEUTIC LISTENING."  "Therapeutic Listening" is defined as "an auditory intervention that uses the organized sound patterns inherent in music to impact all levels of the nervous system.  Trained therapists learn to use modulated CDs to set up programs for clients in homes, schools and clinics."  (Vital Links)  

many experts believe that the auditory system is a critical link in sensory integration (which is the ability to organize sensory input from the body and the envirnment and to incorporate it adaptively in meaningful occupations).  the vestibular and cochlear systems function similarly with "hair-like receptors moving in a fluid filled canal" as one system.  "therapeutic listening" provides direct input to this system through various musical styles, types of filtering, and level of complexity!  the music is actually "electronically altered to elicit the orienting response which sets up the body for sustained attention and active listening."  (Vital Links)

so how does this all work?  wyatt wears specially designed and "weighted" headphones to listen to cd's for varying lengths of time.  the process involves building up the time spent listening. he had worked up to 30 minutes on the first cd before switching to the second cd in the series this week.  his therapist sits with him, usually on one of their therapeutic swings, gently swinging back and forth.  this gives additional vestibular input as he listens.   this week he also crawled around and played while listening. 

and what outcomes might be anticipated from this therapy?  "Therapeutic Listening coupled with SI (sensory integration) tends to speed the emergence of:
  • attention
  • organized behavior
  • self regulation
  •  postural control
  • bilateral coordination
  •  praxis
  • fine motor control
  • oral motor/articulation
  • social skills
  • communication
  • visual motor integration"   (Vital Links)
what have we seen with wyatt?  we have seen a HUGE improvement in his ability to focus on tasks in therapy!   we have also seen improvement in his social skills (not hitting his friends as much).  his postural control is better, he is showing improvement in both gross motor and fine motor skills, and he is jabbering away with varying inflections ALL.THE.TIME now!  these are just a few of the changes we have seen! 

"Therapeutic Listening" was created and developed by occupational therapist sheila m. frick, who also founded vitals links.  her organization provides the materials used as well as training in the system to clinicians.  another component of therapeutic listening is the "astronaut training program: a sound activated vestibular-visual protocol."  although wyatt's therapists have invested in this program, they decided that he is too young for the movements that the program involves.  but if you have an older child, you might look into this program as well! 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Wyatt's Sensory Therapies....Brushing and Compressions

the first therapeutic technique that we added when we started wyatt's sensory therapies was "The Wilbarger Deep Pressure and Proprioceptive Technique (DPPT)."   this is what we simply call "brushing and compressions," and we "attempt" to do it every 2 hours...."attempt!"   no less than 1 1/2 hours apart is the protocol....

developed by particia wilbarger, who is an occupational therapist and a clinical psychologist, it is described as "a prescriptive method of providing stimulation to help the mind-brain-body self-organize."  more can be read about this therapy here.  some of the
benefits may include:
  • an improved ability to transition between various daily activities
  • an improvement in the ability to pay attention
  • a decreased fear and discomfort of being touched (tactile defensiveness)
  • an increase in the ability of the central nervous system to use information from the peripheral nervous system more effectively, resulting in enhanced movement coordination, functional communication, sensory modulation, and hence, self-regulation.
we use a special soft, plastic surgical brush (just like we used to wash wyatt before his open heart surgery!), applying very firm pressure on his arms, legs and his back.  after this we apply joint compressions to his arms and legs; holding them outright and applying light pressure in 10 count repetitions to give input to those joints!  

sometimes he likes the whole process better than others!  we also give joint compressions at times when he seems particularly anxious or upset, or when he wants to "hit" at us.   we give compressions (gently) to his spine and head, which sometimes gives him the input that he is seeking, and alleviates those behaviors!  sometimes it works, sometimes not!   

we have seen much improvement in his ability to pay attention, particularly in therapy!   his therapists have noticed this change in a big way!!  and we have seen him be much more gentle with his touch as well, which is HUGE!!!     next post i'll talk about "therapeutic listening...."

Wilbarger, P.& Wilbarger, J. (1991). Sensory Defensiveness in Childrens Aged 1-12: An Intervention Guide for Parents and Other Caretakers, Avanti Educational Programs: Santa Barbara, CA.

Wilbarger, P. (1984, September). Planning an adequate sensory diet-application of sensory processing theory during the first year of life.  Zero to Three, 7-12.

Wilbarger, J. & Wilbarger, P. (2002). Wilbarger approach to treating sensory defensiveness and clinical application of the sensory diet. Sections in alternative and complementary programs for intervention, In Bundy, A.C., Murray, E.A., & Lane, S. (Eds.). Sensory Integration: Theory and Practice, 2nd Ed. F.A. Davis, Philadelphia, PA.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Huge "Changes Ahead" For Wyatt! (Part 2)

finally caught it with the camera!
sorry to leave you all hanging there....just couldn't put any more info into that one post!  lol!   i don't even know where to begin!!!  there has been so much change in wyatt in the last month....it's crazy!    crazy good!!!!!

wyatt's sensory evaluation took place on august the 8th and just as hope haven's therapists and social worker had suggested, wyatt does NOT have full blown sensory processing disorder, but has some sensory integration issues. 

he began his sensory therapies on august 9th, just a little over a month ago; those therapies specifically include "brushing and joint compression" as well as "therapeutic listening."  i will explain those further in subsequent posts over the weekend!

look at me!

within about a week of wyatt starting his sensory therapies, he started babbling a LOT more....and even answering questions; either with an appropriate head shake of "yes" or "no"; or with a word, such as "mine!"   he has also started vocalizing new and exciting sounds as well!  

he is using his signs more; and picking up signs more quickly!  it's such a joy to see him communicating more!

intently concentrating on stacking!
within two weeks of sensory therapies, he started WALKING!!! just taking a few steps at first (to big brother forrest!).....up until last night when he walked (a bit unsteadily, but completely unassisted!) down the sidewalk....two house lengths!  now he doesn't always want to be carried...he wants to WALK!!!!

how about that pointer?   

we, as well as his other therapists. have seen HUGE improvements in his ability to FOCUS and ATTEND to a task!    he will sit down and work manipulatives, isolate his pointer finger much better, work puzzles more intently.....and so much more!   
just hanging out with my friend!

another VERY EXCITING change is that wyatt has been more gentle and kind with his friends!  almost immediately, he stopped "hitting" his friends (out of excitement), and instead pats and loves on them gently!  this is HUGE!!!!    you can see him here with his precious friend kate! 
just sharing a little love!
thanks for sharing these joyous "changes" with us!  we know that God has great things in store for wyatt, and are so blessed that He chose us to share this journey with him!    i'll further explain exactly what we're doing with wyatt in the next post......

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Huge "Changes Ahead" for Wyatt Too! (Part 1)

there has been lots of "change ahead" for wyatt as well!   my head is virtually spinning from all the changes that have taken place in the past few weeks!   practically since wyatt's IFSP...the one that left me feeling so down (you can read about that here), he has made leaps and bounds in progress!   yay, wyatt!   it's funny that his family service provider, while trying to comfort and encourage me, told me how often she sees kids really blossom in their development after their 2 year IFSP (i didn't really believe her)... but WOW has that been true for wyatt!  

back in april, during our last visit to hope haven, the Ds clinic in jacksonville, the therapists recommended that we might should explore some sensory therapies for wyatt.   they did not believe that he has sensory processing disorder, but perhaps some sensory integration issues that could be addressed with specialized therapy. we really struggled with our decision to pursue this type of therapy because that would unfortunately mean switching from a therapist who we dearly love to a stranger.  after MUCH prayer, tears, and stress, as well as exploring every option we could, we made the decision to switch.   and although we miss that therapist very much, i know that we made the right decision for wyatt, who is our primary responsibility!

so what is sensory processing?  a very elementary explanation, certainly not comprehensive, is, as
the sensory processing disorder foundation describes it: Sensory processing (sometimes called "sensory integration" or SI) is a term that refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioral responses.  this can be exhibited through any or all of the "senses;" including auditory, tactile, visual, vestibular, and oral.  and it can present either as "sensory sensitivity," "sensory avoiding" or "sensation seeking."  not necessarily the same in each area! 

wyatt's sensory evaluation indicates a "definite difference" in his auditory processing as well as a "probably difference" in his vestibular and oral sensory processing.    this is not surprising to us, as wyatt has always been very "sound sensitive," reacting to loud, unexpected sounds.   he also seems to really seek out movement; he likes bouncing, spinning, jumping, etc.  he also "mouths" stuff a lot!  

so what does all of this mean as far as the changes we have seen in wyatt?    i'll tell you next post!