Sunday, February 12, 2006

Working with an aspergers child

Last year was a difficult year for Toby. His occupational therapist says that 7 is an age when boys are frequently “picked up” as having sensory issues. The regime we established of regular brushing/bone bumping and deep pressure all helped considerably. I think seeing a psychologist was also beneficial as it helped me to step back from situations and be more focused in my observations + I think it helped Toby by equipping him with tools he could choose to use in certain difficult situations.
Over the summer hols. we were less rigid in our routines and yet “meltdowns” were few.
One practical difference was Toby having a room of his own. To be able to have a space he owns as his (even if shared with 4yo brother) + can choose how it is ordered has almost literally made him stand taller! Also beneficial has been giving him a chore that is just his to do: feeding + watering the silky bantams + the new black hens + collecting their eggs.
Physically too he has made great strides. He self corrects his posture in piano and violin playing more and more and his handwriting is developing into a more confident style.
Still the difficulties that come with being this “personality” shade will not disappear. Last week issues were demonstrated to remind me of this:
1. a very fidgety T. during piano lesson; cause: tag on top irritating him. Solution: remove all tags from clothing!
2.a wriggly T during violin practice; cause: sand or grit between toes. Solution: take a break in practice and clean toes!!
3. a large “meltdown” during a playtime with other families. Cause: uncertain, possibly others not keeping to the rules as he perceives them. Solution: at the time big brother Caleb successfully used re-direction and several other wonderful friends of Toby were also happy to be involved in this. I have since spoken to T, and suggested that we take a bag with us(to include his favourite book he is reading, special soft-toy that Dad brought back from Alice, a snack he likes, maybe the Draw-write now books or some other alternative). If he feels he needs a quiet time he is to go and get the bag(or maybe Caleb and I to get it for him)+ take it to a quiet place until he feels able to join in again. I reminded him that at least one other member of our regular group often feels the need to be by herself and that this is an acceptable and reasonable alternative to a “meltdown”.
I am grateful to God for giving us Toby. Each person is made wonderfully and Toby is no exception. I would not want him to change or be anyway less than the Toby God has made him. Our role as parents is to equip him to be just that!

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