Some of you already know what's going on with Kyle and his eating, but for those of you who don't, it basically comes down to this. He is dealing with sensory integration issues and as a result, cannot handle most textures in his mouth or with his hands without getting extremely upset. If we get any food other than what he eats near or into his mouth, he claws at his tongue and cries. And after I cut his finger nails, he will not touch anything with his fingers for at least an hour after I'm done~he'll "palm" things, even his favorite toys. Anyway, that's it in a nutshell so we decided to talk to his pediatrician about what was going on and he recommended an evaluation with the Early Steps program.
Kyle's evaluation was this past Thursday, and they did this whole "test" with him and asked me and Rob questions and were basically observing him. They would ask Kyle to show them certain objects, do certain things, and answer simple questions. One of the things they noticed was his inability to attend to tasks without getting up and being distracted. I asked the person who was asking me questions what a normal distractibility level for a 2 year old was, and she said that while Kyle was certainly not the only one who was that easily distracted, she also said that a lot of 2 year olds could follow through with what they were asked to do.
To make a long story short, he qualifies for occupational therapy, which is no surprise to me. Seeing as I used to be a teacher, I recognized the symptoms and I'm just glad we're going to do something to help him. We will start OT in the next 2 weeks and he will go to two 30-minute sessions a week. I will keep you posted.
Kyle's first OT session was this morning (June 30) and it was basically a question and answer session with the therapist. I filled out a questionnaire and she is going to score it and see what it tells us but I got a good feeling after I talked with her. She observed him playing and noticed the way he was sitting and believe it or not, that ties in with what's going on with him! She called it "W-sitting" which basically means Kyle was sitting with his legs in the shape of a "W" and she told me that we have to get him to sit with his legs out in front of him or have him sit Indian style. Basically when you're "W-sitting" you don't use your core muscles (your trunk) to move around and she stressed how important it is to use the center of your body to reach things. So that's the first thing we need to work on. But for now, Kyle is set to go to therapy every Tuesday morning and we will set up the second session weekly because of my and DH's schedules. More updates to come!
Well, Kyle's OT sessions are going OK but they could probably be better. He is still very easily distracted and has a hard time paying attention to the therapist. At his age, he should be able to attend to certain activities until he has completed them but at this time, he is having trouble with it. We have set up a second session so now he goes Mondays and Tuesdays every week. But there is good news-for the first time since he started eating "real" food, this weekend was a huge milestone. He ate french fries on Saturday for the first time, and bananas last night for the first time! While it may be too early to say it's because of the OT, I would attribute it to that because he normally wouldn't look twice at foods like that! So I can only hope things will continue to move up from here! And in regards to the "W-sitting", whenever I see him doing that, I tell him "sit on your butt" and he complies and moves into that position so he is listening in that respect. And we've also started the "brushing technique" which entails taking a brush similiar to a nail buffing brush and applying pressure with it to his arms, legs, hands, feet, and back so he can get used to that particular sensation. It tickles him but he tolerates it. The more help we continue to get from the therapist, the better.
Things are looking up for my little guy! He has been doing much better at his therapy sessions in regards to attending to tasks and building a rapport with his therapist. He used to get upset when it was time to go to OT but now he looks forward to it. We tell him we're going to see "MIss Terri" and he gets all excited! The first thing we do when we get to the therapy room is take off his shoes so he gets used to the sensation of walking in just his socks and he's improved in that respect too. He used to get extremely upset when we took his shoes off but now he's OK with it. He let Terri put headphones on his ears and he loved listening to the music. I was surprised because I thought for sure he'd tear them off because they'd bother him but he liked them. He is slowly but surely either trying new foods or eating them~he ate 2 Cheez Its yesterday! And when we went out to dinner last Sunday he actually made gestures toward the bread that we had so we broke it into pieces and gave it to him. He would take each little piece and put it to his mouth and kind of nibble at it, then he'd put it down. But progress, sweet progress because ordinarily, he'd shove that kind of food away from himself and get all upset if it was even near him. He is also eating donuts now! I know, what kid doesn't like donuts, but before his therapy started, he wouldn't have anything to do with them. So I am definitely pleased with how everything is starting to fall into place since his therapy started. We have a long way to go but Kyle's on his way!
Well, Kyle's therapy continues to go well. He talks about Miss Terri all the time now and can't wait to see her each week. He used to resist certain activities with her but is starting to comply and his attention to a task is getting better too. He'll start something like a puzzle and not stop until the puzzle is put back together and he used to not be able to maintain his focus on one activity without getting up and wandering around. And the list of foods he's eating is getting longer! He's now eating peanuts, bread, waffles, strawberries, and grapes-just to name a few! And he is also less resistant to trying new foods; before he would just push something unfamiliar away and say "no!". Now he is actually showing interest in those different foods and is willing to try them. So I continue to be very pleased with his improvement and I'm so excited for him and all he's doing. We're going to have an evaluation soon with Terri and the Early Steps team to see how Kyle's doing as a whole since the OT started and then we'll re-vamp the goals once we go over which goals we had originally set and which ones Kyle has mastered thus far.
Kyle has come so far since he started therapy in June! So far in fact that he's met all the goals we set for him back when he first started! I am so proud of him and how well he's done. The two main goals we wanted him to master were the eating "normal" foods without having issues with the texture and attending to a task all the way through to its completion. He's done that and more with Terri and she has decided to discharge him! And it's good timing too~Terri is moving to Houston the week of Thanksgiving so next week will be Kyle's last therapy appts. I am so happy he's done so well because I was really nervous about him transitioning with a new therapist and getting used to that person after he's developed such a rapor with Terri. He is going to miss her terribly, that's for sure. It's amazing to see the changes over time because when he first started out with her, he wanted nothing to do with her and was resistant to the therapy. We've come so far that each week he says "see Terri?" and can't wait to get there to see her. Both hubby and I agree with Terri's decision to discharge him and we are going to let the Early Steps team know and they are going to close Kyle's case. Early Steps has been great through the whole process as well and they said if he regresses or if we see any indication that he's reverting back to his "old ways" they'd open the case back up no problem. So I am thrilled that all involved in this process have done so much for my little guy and I am proud of Kyle and all he's accomplished through his OT.
It's hard to believe it's been a year since Kyle was in OT! I am just thankful for all it did for him. I am getting the ball rolling on having another screening done on him, this time through the school district since he is over the age of 3 now and the Early Steps program is only up to age 3. I just want to cover all the bases and see what the school district finds, if anything, after screening him. I have some concerns lately with certain things Kyle's been doing and how he's reacting to certain things/situations so I felt it would be beneficial to see what could be done, if anything. He has been exhibiting certain reactions to foods he has been eating since his OT and he refuses to try anything new or food that we're eating; he is also showing other reactions to things that didn't really bother him before. So I just want to play it safe and if he qualifies for services again, then that's what we'll do. :) And in the end, if he doesn't qualify, I will walk away from the evaluation knowing I am doing everything that I can to help my little guy.
Well, Kyle's screening was this past Wednesday and he did wonderfully! He scored above average for his age on all parts of it and I was pleasantly surprised. Because of his scores and what the diagnostician observed, he does not qualify for any services. But I am glad that I set up the screening because I can rest assured that he is doing well and won't need to go through any testing before he starts school. And I am happy I went ahead and had the screening done now, when he's younger because once he starts kindergarten, the chances of him getting screened are unfortunately slim to none. The ESE department in our county is bombarded with requests for testing and screening and there'd be little to no chance of him being screened because the children who need it more than him (and rightfully so) are evaluated first. I am so proud of how far he's come and couldn't be happier.