I have a 10-yr-old son with global delays. He has trouble with finding his spot in space and seems to be uncomfortable when seated. I was told this is dyspraxia. Are dyspraxia seats helpful? If so I have never seen one and I tried to google it but could not find anything. Is there a site that sells them?
Also, I have a 4-yr-old daughter with high functioning autism. She is verbal and is currently on a VB program. She gets VERY anxious at times for no apparent reason. When I take her out for some fun outings, she would be very happy to leave the house but half way through she'd throw a tantrum and would not stop crying for the rest of the evening! How can I get to the root cause of the problem and what would be the best way to handle it? I generally ignore her crying and take her back home but even though I've tried this a number of times It really does not seem like its working! Is it wise to look into medications that help ease those anxiaties? What would the pros and cons to this be? Many thanks:)
Interesting. That could be. When I sit in a cluster of seats I feel like my personal space is invaded if the seats are touching each other. If I can when I sit down I'll shove the other seats away from mine enough to give myself some breathing room.
When I'm eating I can't stand a crowded table, so I'll shove everything away to make sure I have a clear space ahead and around each arm. I also have issues sitting near people when eating, possibly for the same reason. I think it's primarly visual. If I perceive things visually too close, then I sort of feel it like as if the visual objects are poking, jabbing or bopping up against me. It's not as if I feel it to the full physical effect, but just something doesn't feel right. I have issues with those tiny 2 seat tables you see in fast food places unless I can be the only person sitting at that table. The booths are better. I wonder if my mom feels that way too? She always seems to pick a booth whenever she can rather than a table.
Interesting observation though I'm not totally sure about the connection to dyspraxia and finding a seat/feeling comfortable seated. That I'll have to look up.
I'm not sure of the dyspraxia, but my suggestion for your daughter is to prepare a schedule beforehand of where you're going. . .maybe clipart from word. . .if you have time prepare her with pictures beforehand. I don't know exactly where your fun outings are, but let's just imagine you're going to McDonald's where they have a fun center. . .your schedule might look like this
1. We're going to leave the house and go in the car to McDonald's
2. We're going to order a (insert favorite food here) and then sit down to eat at a table.
3. Next, we're going to go to the playground and play for 20 minutes. We'll take off shoes first. We'll see big tubes to crawl in, balls to play in and (etc.).
4. Then we will be done playing. We will put on our shoes. It will be time to get in the car and go (next place/home, etc).
Refer to the schedule any time you see her getting nervous.
You can also practice anxiety relieving strategies. You can cue her to take a deep breath when you notice she's getting anxious.
I'd also recommend seeing if you can find a community-based playgroup for kiddos with disabilities/autism. (I'm a graduate student in speech pathology and am running such a playgroup right now). This book by Ann Quill has a lot of information on strategies that may help both your kiddos. Good luck!
Every person makes sense of their surroundings and acts accordingly by processing incoming sensory information. That will be coming via the senses of sight, sound, touch, smell, taste, balance and proprioception. Proprioception is the sense that tells the body parts where they are and is also responsible for internal body sensations such as hunger/thirst/needing the loo etc. Problems with interpretating and processing this information can range from hyper (over sensitive) to hypo (under sensitive) or can fluctuate between the two day by day and throughout the day. So you can get different reactions to the same sensory input. Eg. a child may hear an sound and may react by covering their ears at a noise, or behave appropriately, or appear deaf. This doesn't mean they are making it up. It means that they received and processed the information differently. This 'difference' in how they experience things can make them very anxious about new and even familiar situations because they don't know 'how' they will feel. For example, if when you tasted water it tasted either sickly sweet, really bitter, or okay, that might make you try to avoid drinking water because you don't know if it will be a pleasant or horrible experience. That is the situation alot of people with autism are in.
So, I presume, that if the sense of proprioception is not working correctly and not processing the information or is not receiving enough information or the correct information, then your muscles will not know what to do and therefore your co-ordination will be affected. This again can range from mild to severe.
The seats I think you are talking about can be supplied through an Occupational Therapist. They also have other equipment, such as a weighted jacket that can help children 'feel' where they are.
Regarding your daughter's difficulties going out. The scedule is a very good idea. But as she is verbal, is it possible after the event (not during the anxiety attack), that you ask her what bothered her. It might have been an unpredictable sound, or smell, or any other sensory information. Or it just might be the accumulation of all that sensory information that may be coming in too loud, or incorrectly and she may just be getting overwhelmed by it.
Things I have tried that worked with my son were: I had him assessed for Irlen Syndrome, which he has. This can be helped simply by wearing tinted Irlen lenses. Alot of children/adults with autism and dyslexia use these glasses. He always wears a coat with his hood up, or a hoodie. He also has a pair of ear defenders (the type sold at the DIY store) which he wears and when he has become accustomed to the surrounding noise he takes them off. Something to hold and fiddle with. It could be a small cuddly toy or some play putty. But try to get her to tell you what has bothered her and also explain to her that although it bothered her it does not bother you or the other children. This is to start introducing the idea to her that she is reacting to what she is experiencing. Other children don't experience what she does. This helps with her self esteem because she may think she is being naughty or stupid.
Things that typicall upset my son are smells, especially if it is an animal farm. If it is in a playcentre it can be unexpected sudden noises like a child squeeling, or if he climbs up high he cannot get himself down again. Sometimes he has told me he has to go home because something is bothering him and he cannot identify what it is. So I presume it is just the amount of combined sensory information is getting too much for him.
A good book you could read about sensory issues is by Olga Bogdashina called Sensory and Perceptual Differences in Autism and Aspergers. There is also a caregivers questionnaire at the back of the book which you can complete to get a sensory profile of your child. That is very useful in seeing which of their senses if most affected as each child is different. For example your son is particularly affected in his sense of proprioception and you may find that your daughter is affected in her auditory or visual senses. Both children will need adaptions to their environment (especially at school), but they will need different types of adaptions.
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