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Sensory issues embrase or discourage (coppertop ?)

(36 Posts)
louismama Tue 19-Apr-05 15:15:12

Hope you dont mind me asking given recent thread and us still awaiting dx, ds1 has sensory problems head shaking especially when looking at lights, toe walking, spinning the majority of these I try to distract him from doing as are dangerous he inevitably falls and bangs himself several times on head on marble floor any suggestions on the matter would be great thanks.

Also coppertop youve mentioned two word sentences when talking to your ds2 i dont mean to sound an idiot but how does that work? Do you ONLY use two words sentences with him, i ask as some times i think ds has no understanding then others i notice if i use two words and they require an action for reply i.e. close door, or arms up he responds.

MotherEve Thu 21-Apr-05 10:46:52

I recently went to a talk on communication regarding children and adults with ASD - the two word sentences were brought up then.

Basically it was explained that some of these problems were caused by slow processing speed and poor short term memory - ie If you say to little Johnnie - "Please close the door" by the time he's processed 'Please' and then 'close' he's missed the bit about the door and forgotten what you said - then he gets confused about what 'Please close' means.

"Close door" sounds very bosy to us but it's lifeline to children and adults with ASD as they can do exactly what has been said.

The other thing that was said at the talk was to try to limit the number of things in each sentence. ie "Close the door, take your shoes off and sit down." would be better as "Close door" [ACTION] "shoes off" [ACTION] "sit down" [ACTION]

Hope this is of some help

louismama Thu 21-Apr-05 14:00:40

Thanks for that mothereve.

MotherEve Thu 21-Apr-05 14:08:34

No probs

coppertop Thu 21-Apr-05 14:36:30

Sorry I missed this thread earlier, LM.

I agree with MotherEve about the 2-word sentences. Ds2 doesn't seem to understand longer sentences and will latch on to words that he knows, eg to him "Go and get in your pushchair" means about the same to him as "Do a limbo dance under your pushchair." He will latch on to the word "pushchair" and understand that.

I use 2-word sentences wherever possible. If you are talking to your ds it also helps if you say his name at the beginning of the sentence rather than the end so that he knows you want his attention, eg "John go walk?" rather than "Go walk,John?" Otherwise by the time he has realised you're referring to him the sentence has already finished.

Visual clues can also be a great help. "Paul coat" (ie "Put your coat on, Paul") will be easier to understand if you are actually holding the coat in your hand as you say the words. Wherever possible try to give your ds visual clues of what you're talking about. Try to imagine/remember how it is when you're in a country where you don't speak the language. If someone just talks quickly to you then you will have no idea what they are on about. If they use 2 or 3 words you have a fighting chance of picking out a word you understand. If they use just 2 or 3 words and hold up an object then you've got a very good chance of working out what they are trying to say.

With the sensory stuff I would try to make it as safe as possible. If, for example, you know he always falls over and bangs his head when he is spinning, put cushions or beanbags on one particular area of the floor and encourage him to spin there instead. If he is doing a lot of jumping up and down on the spot, get him a mini-trampoline to bounce on. Someone recommended a good book on another thread, called "The Out of Synch Child". It's meant to be very good with ideas of things to try.

We've also been doing a lot of sensory stuff with our 2 boys over the last couple of years so if there are particular areas I can help with I'd love to try.

TheRealMrsF Thu 21-Apr-05 17:32:25

that '2 word ' thing....well.......... still do it with leigh (8yrs)...and Alex (5).....!!

louismama Thu 21-Apr-05 18:45:53

CT thanks for your post I thought youd abadonned me forever given the recent 300 close thread can i ask please do you mind if i put your name next to a thread i start if i think you may have a suggestion (my ds can sound very similar to your ds2 at times i.e has also recently started sitting down and putting head on floor if we go somewhere he finds overwhelming) I promise not to bombard you daily and wont do it if not relevant to you i.e gf/cf diet etc.

coppertop Thu 21-Apr-05 18:56:33

LM - You're more than welcome to put my name in thread titles etc. Your ds reminds me of my ds2 a lot and they're also a fairly similar age. If I haven't replied within a day or two then just keep bumping the thread up and hopefully I'll see it then. I'm definitely not avoiding/ignoring you.

MrsF - Do you have those embarrassing moments too when you forget to change back to everyday language and speak to other adults in 2 word sentences? It's a bit like when I'm watching the news and find myself saying "helicopter" or "digger" to ds1 and ds2 (their big interests) - and then realise that they're actually both in bed.

louismama Thu 21-Apr-05 19:22:06

No ideas with the lights then?

louismama Thu 21-Apr-05 19:30:22

Ct if you get time ever would you mind telling me a little more about ds2 assessment process and things youve tired/been advised to do with him etc. im really very interested. thanks lm

TheRealMrsF Thu 21-Apr-05 20:41:15

yes CT...i famously announced 'Tractor' when taking 2 work collegues to some work function!!!

SERIOUS now.......... thinking right back to Tom at say age 2/3 ....and 'obviously' [in hindsight!] i was unaware of Asperger's etc....but must have 'instinctivly' known he needed language 'explained' and broken down into 'clear fragments' whenever i named something new...I would link it to a label he already new- and reinforce for eg. "Thomas that is a Sparrow-Bird....look at the Sparrow....It is a bird....a duck is a bird etc"
or "look at that Black is black.,..... your shoes are black"

Now i have learnt how in ASD it's common to for eg. expect all cats to be black...or all birds being called sparrows...if that is something they have learnt....and that if they saw a white cat they would not see it as a cat....

is that right????

so i assume that at some point Thomas must have had problems 'genralising' from one thing to another....and that i 'found the way' to clarify the confusion.

coppertop Thu 21-Apr-05 21:23:05

MrsF - It's strange how sometimes you do things instinctively without even realising that it's what the pros recommend that you do, isn't it? Our portage worker has lent me some great books about young children and ASD and I was surprised to see just how many of the tips were things that we already did.

LM - I've found that when ds2 gets overwhelmed the thing that works best seems to be to make him feel enclosed by something. We have a small table with a cloth draped over it that acts as a kind of den that he can retreat to. We also have a big cardboard box that he can crawl into to escape. If he's having a meltdown the best way to calm him down is to squeeze him with cushions. We have some big cushions on the floor and sandwich him between them. Coering his face at the same time as pushing on his body works best of all. It sounds odd but it really does work. You can also try wrapping him in a big duvet and pushing down too (obviously not pushing hard enough to cause an injury).
If you're out and about with him and he's getting overwhelmed you could try things like: covering him up with something (maybe with a baby blanket?), retreating to somewhere that's quieter and more enclosed.

Ds2 hates wearing clothes so we've been trying to de-sensitise him a bit. The OT suggests rubbing baby lotion on to his hands and body with firm pressure once a day. You can also try rubbing him down after baths with a slightly rougher towel.

Buy tops for him that have hoods on them. Having the hood up (or a woolly hat on if it's cold enough) helps to block out some of the noise. Ds1 always has his coat hood up to block the sunlight out too.

Does your ds try to avoid the light or does he seek it out? If he seeks it out you could try him with a lava lamp. I know others on the SN board have recommended these too. They can also be quite calming and relaxing. I think someone (MrsF?) also uses disco ball light thingies. Sorry, can't remember what they're called.

I can let you know what kinds of things we're doing to help with his speech and language if that helps too? You can also tie that in with helping to encourage play skills too.

I'm now paranoid that I'm going to end up accidentally losing this post before I've posted it so I'll post it now.

Is there anything in particular you want to know about the assessment stuff? If you prefer you can use the Contact Another Talker option at the top of the screen and do it via e-mail?

louismama Fri 22-Apr-05 00:01:50

My first invite to CAT now i feel like a proper mn'r Would love to but as still have to broach subject with ds (obviously hes aware of ds's strange behaviours and are awaiting assesmnt) id sooner he not come home and open the wrong email iykwim. Wish me luck have to do it tmrrw as he sabotaged cf diet last w/end unknowingly to quite disastrous consequences ds up crying writhing around evry 30mins from 4am till 9 when he passed out exhausted for 2 hours thenspent rest of day giggling to himself. im not sure about possitive affects of exclusion diets yet but the negative ones of adding them back in are THAT obvious (really all true)

Sorry bout that ANY speach/lang. img. play tips would be great i already talk all the time but just seems to go over his head hence the 2 word enquiry. I sing nursery rhymes about body parts and row a boat for turn taking(not interested in ball just wants to carry it) If im really lucky if i sing the P.pat theme tune he holds eye contact for quite a bit of it(Save that for when im having a particuarly bad day getting his attention cheers me up)
I notice though that things that we do to get his attention do get worn out and feel i have to jump through more hoops as the weeks go by; i.e. you would have thought ds & dh were dolphins few weeks back as only way dh could get ds to acknowledge him was to make quiet clicking sounds. It wont work now though. Ds will sometimes copy sounds blow rasberry, popping etc. but not words. Are your ds's ok with dad? L was so bonded with dad when a baby now its twice as hard for dh as me.
Sensory wise looking up at sing posts or trees is another thing he seems to like but it also knocks him off balance a bit, and slapping my arms or pinching, scratching them pretending to squeeze spots actions that drives me MAD (it does get sore after a bit) He only does it to me and occasionally my mom. Loves it now the hot weathers here and theres more of mommy to attack.
Assessment all i know is that we will be seen by lots of different people at cdc. I know ive read bits on here too but just cant remember head full of gf/cf info still. Sorry so long.

mizmiz Fri 22-Apr-05 00:12:03

coppertop, your calming techniques are fascinating. Have you ever read anything by an adult with high functioing autism called Temple Grandin? She is a world authority and designer of cattle grid systems which stems back to her having learned as a child on her family farm to calm herself by placing herself in the cattle press.
Louismama, your name is not familiar to me. I am an salt, and what you are doing seems on track.
If you look in the archives, I have given past advice that may be useful.
Off to bed now, but if you want some more tips/advice, I will try to help. Post me a message with my name on it.
There is a very good series of books called Basic Language Skills, Basic Listening Skills, Basic Visual Skills and so on, which are jampacked full of great ideas for when one's enthusiasm and imagination flag. Sold by Winslow Press..I think.
I think they are excellent.

coppertop Fri 22-Apr-05 12:18:29

Hellooo Mizmiz! I think I read a TG book way back when I suspected/knew that ds1 was on the spectrum. At the time I think it went a bit over my head but I've heard bits about her since. Ds2 loves the squeezing sensation. He and ds1 like to climb on top of the cushion while the other one is underneath it. I think it's one of their favourite things atm.

No problem, LM. I know that my dh took a lot of convincing when I first had concerns about ds1. He used to complain when I got autism books out of the library or if I'd looked on websites about autism. We also had arguments when I'd try to tell the HV that I thought there was a problem and dh told her he thought ds1 was fine!! Let's just say that I was NOT happy!

The assessment procedure seems to vary from place to place. The first person we saw was the Paed. With ds1 the Paed got some toys out and put them on the floor for him to play with while she asked us lots of questions. If you haven't done it already it's a good idea to make lots of notes about any problems you had in pregnancy, what the birth was like, how ds developed, when he met the major milestones and any concerns you have about him. While she was talking to us the Paed was also watching to see what ds1 was doing. I think he was making lines of train-tracks but didn't touch the actual trains. He also did a lot of throwing. He didn't really pay much attention to me or dh. Ds2 saw a different Paed. Ds2 spent a lot of the appointment crawling under the chairs and flicking a power-socket switch on and off. Ds1's Paed asked us what we thought the problem was so I told her that I thought ds1 was autistic. She said that she agreed with me but that he would still need a full assesment. With ds2 we had obviously been through it before so the Paed said he agreed with me but again that a full assessment was needed.

The Physio looked at ds2's gross motor skills. She had slides set up to see if he could climb. She also looked at his balance and how he made his way around the room. Physically ds2 is a little ahead for his age so the Physio said that she wouldn't need to see him again.

Oops. Ds2 is howling. Back soon!

coppertop Fri 22-Apr-05 12:28:33

The OT was looking at fine motor skills and sensory areas. She gave him puzzles to do to see how he manipulated the pieces, which hand he used and whether he used his hands appropriately. She gave him paper and a pencil to see if he was able to grip the pencil (though obviously not expecting a proper grip). She gave him shape-sorters to see how he turned his wrists to get the pieces in and also a couple of games where he needed to turn a key. She had a small sensory area set up but ds2 only stayed there for about 30 seconds before losing interest.

She filled in a questionnaire about sensory stuff, eg whether he liked being upside down, what kinds of food would he eat, how was he with clothes, whether he liked to smell/touch/lick things etc. This gave her an overall picture of what his problem areas were. Ds2 hates bright lights, loud noises and wearing clothes. He also will eat only a very limited number of foods as he will only tolerate certain textures.

The SALT looked at whether he could understand language, how/if he tried to communicate and whether he tried to use language himself. She also looked at his pretend play to see what he could do with toys etc.

The Psych looked at his problem-solving skills with jigsaws and shape-sorters.

Ds2 is off again! Back later!

coppertop Fri 22-Apr-05 13:30:03

Back again!

The Psych was also interested in his behaviour, how he interacted with other people/children and his eye-contact.

At the end of the assessment we had a big meeting where everyone reported on their findings and decided what was the best thing to do next. Ds2 is due to have a development plan drawn up to decide which areas to work on. He has also just been offered a place with a group using the sensory room to help with his sensory problems.

Mizmiz will have more info about the SALT things but the activities that we have done so far are:

- Matching games. A good way to do this is to take photos of objects around the house, eg a cup, a spoon, a teddy etc. Set out 2 of the photos and the 2 objects that the photo is of. Show ds how to put the correct object on the correct photo and name the object as you do it. Ds2 took a looong time to get the hang of this one but it has really helped to develop his language as we can now use ordinary picture-cards to teach him nouns.

Using a teddy and a plastic teaset you can help teach pretend play as well as language, eg put the cup to teddy's mouth and say "teddy drink" then to ds's mouth and say "<ds> drink>, them "mummy drink" and so on. Once he starts to get the hang of this (although he probably won't say the words himself yet) you can extend this to other things, eg using a spoon for "teddy eating", pointing to teddy's bodyparts "teddy eyes". Ds2 didn't seem interested at all IMO but when we next saw the SALT and she said "teddy drink?" ds2 picked up the cup and put it to the bear's mouth.

Ds2 usually hits out if he's trying to get a reaction. Someone looking angry/annoyed and saying "Ow!" or "Stop that!" can seem interesting and funny all at once. With ds2 we've had to either ignore it if possible (not always easy when it hurts!) and not even look at him or say in a very neutral voice "No". Ds2 loses interest when he doesn't get the reaction he wanted.

Ds2 has a thing about trees too. I used this to help him with his pointing skills and shared interest. Lots of "Look! Tree!" while pointing up close to it if physically possible. Gradually you can increase the distance between your finger and the tree. Ds2 also likes trees because they usually mean shade from the light. Other children may find trees upsetting though so this may not necessarily be the same for your ds.

At the moment I'm trying to find some small sunglasses for ds2 to help block out some of the light for him. He's got an old plastic pair that he likes to wear in the house but I'm not sure how much longer they will last.

louismama Fri 22-Apr-05 14:05:05

Hi ct thanks for ALL of that i appreciate your time, ds is doing matching games at global stim. so that good reassures me its worth while(sometimes wonder as its done in spanish) She also recommended smell flower, feed teddy etc. will have to give it more time although totally get what you mean about not interested. Its strange itsnt it that our boys are so alike but so different. I think ds pinches etc. as an avoidance tactic when cuddling before bed or half way through dinner. I tell him love a mom mom and get him to stroke instead works for a minute. Late late one night lay one the bed with him TRYING to get him to go down id had enough of the slaps etc. and shouted No L. love a mom mom and he proceed to slap very gently for a bit. He doesnt like a firm tone doesnt do things to get reaction that im aware of. All this really helps as if can just make sure i stay aware of it in RL im sure it will become 2nd nature and endless therapy wont feel like a chore(does that sound really bad sorry) Have just come back from NT mother and toddler litte boy born day before louis saying "Look mommy digger truck", makes me feel we are missing out sometimes, NT mom just ignored him and carried on chatting!!!!!!!Does your ds have any words? Ds has such a wide range of babble sounds I cant help but think he will talk (alternative too difficult to contemplate yet and staying possitive important at mo.)Good luck with the sunglasses hunt.(good job ds itsnt bothered by light life could be very difficult out here.)_

Mizmiz will search archives and if any questions come to me in a brainstorm will post. Once we get a few words will others follow does that sound thick I mean once that something has clicked into place does it get easier?

coppertop Fri 22-Apr-05 16:30:57

I know what you mean about the endless therapy. Ds2 has had a lot of appointments lately, and then of course in between appointments you have to do all the activities to reinforce it all. It feels as though whereas everyone else can just play with their toddler I always have to do something for a particular purpose eg turn-taking, language-building etc.

Ds2 now has quite a few words (about 100) although he won't necessarily use them. He's slowly adding to his vocabulary. At his first appointment with the Paed last November he had about 5 or 6 words. At his assessment in Feb he had about 15-20. He doesn't say any verbs yet as we have only recently started to teach him those and he doesn't yet join words together but he's making good progress. Not all of those words are ones that other people would necessarily understand but a lot of them are fairly clear. He tends to pick up accents too. At the moment he speaks with either a German, a Chinese or an Italian accent. Ds1 used to have a Scottish accent for a while.

Ds2 didn't have the same overnight language explosion that a lot of NT children seem to have but it definitely got easier for him once he'd picked up a few words. It has also relieved a little of his frustration.

Other children at the toddler group we go to seem almost like another species to me. Even the younger babies seem to be trying to get their mother's attention or trying to let them know that something's wrong. Their pretend play looks amazing to me. While ds2 is filling the dolls house with toy cars the others are making up their own little stories with the dolls and the dolls furniture.

Ds2 hates the light touch of clothes on his skin but loves firm hugs. Ds1 feels hardly anything at all so firm hugs are the only way he can properly feel anything. They are all so different, aren't they?

louismama Fri 22-Apr-05 18:20:18

Speak to you soon im kinda burnt out now, dreading speaking to dh I really hope i can keep my marriage through this but if we have to come back to u.k. for ds's sake i really dont know. Will let you know how it goes.

coppertop Fri 22-Apr-05 18:43:05

Good luck, LM. xx

louismama Fri 22-Apr-05 20:54:21

OH HELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Dh has had accident on is ok but it kind of counts out my deep and meaningful (BIKE WRECKED TOO) hes waiting for police now.

ALSO mom and dad spoke to H.V. to chase up referal to cdc she said wed had it and cancelled i only thought wed cancelled a salt assessment (it came for 10 days after i got back to spain from march visit) has it ever been heard of for a referral to come through within 2 WEEKS. Dad said H.V. was quite arsy with him, as id promised her faithfully wed make all appointments(shes in akward situation due to us being in spain has to be a bit hush hush, bollocks to it ive paid my n.i. my son was born there)


coppertop Fri 22-Apr-05 21:01:08

Oh no! Poor dh. You really aren't having much luck at all.

I've never heard of getting a CDC appointment within 2 weeks either! Will you be able to re-schedule once dh is feeling better?

TheRealMrsF Fri 22-Apr-05 21:02:56

Best wishes and fingers crossed that you have a better day tommorow.

That's disgusting what the HV said......was she gonna contact u...or just forget about it???!!! GRrrrrrrrr! I get so mad - these professionals don't realise what they are doing to us when they deny us the right to be listened to.

TheRealMrsF Fri 22-Apr-05 21:03:12


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