Saturday, December 6, 2008

Shhh, don't tell yet

Two interesting things have happened this last week.

Firstly we have started "brushing" Matt - and I am not talking about his hair and his teeth. I am talking about brushing his body. A good friend of mine, who is an Occupational Therapist, introduced me to this. The brushing provides deep pressure which can help the child with his sensory modulation. And what is this you ask? Sensory Modulation "is the ability of the nervous system to regulate, organize and prioritize incoming sensory information, inhibiting or suppressing irrelevant information; and prioritizing and helping the child focus on relevant information. Children with problems modulating sensory input may exhibit difficulties with learning, social relations, behavioural and task organisation, attention and purposeful interaction with the space around them" (Katz and Bailey, 2005)

We have noticed with Matt that he tends to shake his head alot and do other odd movements. We were wondering if this was a sensory thing and that is why we were open to trying this brushing thing.

This is what the brush looks like:

The idea is to brush his arms, legs and back at regulary intervals during the day. The first time I did this I was so surprised by how calmly Matt sat and it looked like he was loving it. In fact when I finished brushing his back he lay down again and looked up at me as though he was saying "more please". For the last 4 days I have been brushing him at least 3 or 4 times a day and each time he has enjoyed it. It has become a bonding moment for us. But the best news of all is that his falling asleep has drastically improved from the first night that I had started the brushing. I must acknowledge that we have been doing a variety of things to assist him to sleep (getting a night light, gently training him to sleep) so I can't say his improvement in sleep is 100% due to the brushing. But I am still impressed with the impact it has had on Matt.

Secondly Matt has started walking but we must pretend he hasn't. Matt is able to walk a distance of about 3 meters as long as my finger gently rests on his one shoulder (providing no physical assistance, only moral support). However the minute we get excited about his steps or praise him, he sits down and stops. It is as though our praise puts too much pressure on him to perform, maybe it even makes him scared to fail and disappoint us, so he opts to not try any more. So although we are jumping up and down on the inside, we have to make as though we are not noticing - and then he is happy to continue taking steps. On Friday he initiated the walking by himself - from me to a friend, a distance of about 5 steps. We all just sat there calmly pretending that it wasn't a big thing - although with our eyes we were all communicating great celebration. I am struck by the enormous impact the psychological side has on our physical abilities. So keep this a secret until Matt is ready for the world to know that he can actually walk.


Kelly said...

Wonderful! I think AnnaKate is the same way about walking. She still has not convinced herself that she can do it!!
Glad to here the brushing is working. Maybe we should try that.

Christine said...

My eyes watered when i read your blog. This was Nathan a few months ago and now I can barely keep up with him, he's so fast. Get your runners, your going to need them.
Way to go Matt!

Myssie said...

WAY TO GO MATT (in a whisper!!). That is great news! Pretty soon you will be chasing him!!

We did the brushing with Will too. I think that he really liked it. Not sure why I stopped doing it, hmmmm. Maybe I need to find my brush!!


Jessica mommy to Alex/ RTS said...

Yay Matt!!!!! I thin I can scream from here, and you wont hear me!!!

Im going to start brushing tomorrow!

Nichi said...

What wonderful news! Certainly the best Christmas present ever:) We'll continue praying that his confidence grows from strength to strength. I'm sorry that I've been a long distance blogger supporter, but know that I regularly blog on to see how Sunshine Matt and his wonderful parents are doing. Love you guys xxx

Sawyer said...

How great is that! I'm so glad Matt is gaining more confidence in walking. I'm sure it's hard to try and keep your excitement in. But I'm over here cheering him on!

Keep going Matt!

Michelle said...

Yeah! How exciting! I have known many kids like Matt who just don't respond to praise! =) A friend of mine has a son who would only use the potty if he did it all by himself with no praise or fuss. I guess Matt just thinks it's no big deal!

Terri H-E said...

I'm whispering only to you and Lloyd - congrats! You brought back some memories - I have this way of holding my breath and waiting until Addie reacts to something before I do. I think it stems from the exact same days as you describe. The "yikes! This is WAY too important to mom, I better quit or she's gonna go all extreme on me" days. I am glad you have occassion to hold back!!

carina said...

My lips are sealed...but it is wonderful news!