Monthly Archives: October 2011

It’s a Sensory World

Using the fridge as a dry-erase board/command center.

All summer long, I took Sebastian to preschool-esque classes and private lessons at a sensory gym, sort of like Gymboree or Little Gym, I guess, but specifically designed for kids with developmental delays and/or sensory processing disorders.

I wouldn’t have thought to take him there — how are a speech delay and a sensory gym connected? But his speech therapist kept suggesting sensory activities, so I finally called and set up an appointment to talk to the director.

It all sounded good, but it was expensive and 10 miles away from our house. When I pictured Sebastian’s and my summer together, driving to and from an office park in Farmers Branch wasn’t the fantasy. Think splash parks, museums, and skipping through meadows while holding hands and laughing.

But the boy needed help — back in May, he was still struggling to put two words together and point to pictures in a book. And the cost was really pretty reasonable, compared with private occupational or speech therapy. I committed to one private session a week (she gave me a discount).

And let’s be honest — by mid-June, it was too freaking hot to skip through parks anyway. And to be double-honest, Sebastian quit napping a week or two into the summer, so the only way I could get any sort of break from the constant chimpery of an abnormally active/needy 2-year-old was to take him to classes.

So it was with some skepticism I took Sebastian to his first session. But then: After his first class, he came home counting. COUNTING! After his second, he came home saying two-word phrases.

That’s how it came to pass that Sebastian started going to the gym 5 times a week, not the one time I initially (grumpily) agreed to.

And I would like to thank the Universe for steering us there, because this summer Sebastian’s communication veritably exploded. His vocabulary is great, his articulation is better, but most of all, he can actually talk to us. (And by that I mean ask for “mo’ milk, pease,” but MY GOD, how long have we waited for confirmation that he understood anything at all that was going on around him?)

I’ve been doing some reading on sensory processing disorders since it became clear that whatever Sebastian’s problem is, it’s helped significantly by sensory therapy. “The Out-of-Sync Child” is a book that’s been mentioned and recommended many times, so I started there. At first, I didn’t recognize Sebastian at all — tags on clothes don’t bother him! In fact, nothing bothers him at all except for spending three second not being actively entertained! Then I saw him.

Our friend Wikipedia tells us: “Hyposensitivity is characterized by an unusually high tolerance for environmental stimuli. A child with hyposensitivity might appear restless and seek sensory stimulation.” Honestly, doesn’t this sound like most little boys? And I haven’t seen any connection with speech delays yet. But this is our Bazzers, down to the ground. The reason will come.

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