Friday, April 29, 2011


Today begins my series on therapies available to the SPD child. There are many therapies, both professional therapies and those easily done at home and through activities and sports. If your child has been diagnosed SPD, likely he or she has physical issues with coordination. If there are issues with gravitational security, there may be high anxiety along with the physical issues. Sometimes, there are speech issues due to the lack of ability the child has to "feel" their tongue and mouth to make and form words. Likely you have been referred to several specialists.

Every child is different, and sometimes exploring a wide variety of therapies, you hit on several that work.

Occupational therapy is a way to help your child read better, write in a correct manner (not gripping the pencil so hard it breaks, making handwriting legible, etc.) fine motor skills, planning, processing and better functioning in school situations. They work with training the eyes and the body to work in tandem. The occupational therapist will use many different methods of helping your child think and reason better, along with writing, reading and processing skills.

Physical therapy addresses the muscle laxity and coordination problems of the body. This might consist of swinging on a low swing near the ground on their belly, jumping in ball pits, riding bikes, hanging from bars, balancing on low balance beams and learning and following directions through an obstacle course. Many physical fears are addressed, particularly the gravitational fear.

Speech therapy is for both expressive (talking) and receptive (listening) language. There is also work done to better process language, follow story plots, etc.

The good thing about these therapies is that they work. They are time consuming and you may feel as though you are constantly spinning your wheels, but given time and patience, your child will be better capable of compensating for the SPD, with more confidence and less anxiety. The earlier you get therapy, the better for your child, but at any age, SPD children can benefit from therapy.

Call your insurance agency to see what is covered in your plan. Also call the school system and ask them to evaluate your child for therapies that he or she might qualify for. The public school system provides therapy to children over 3 that are in need, even if that child is in private education. Early childhood Intervention provides therapy for children under the age of 3. Many times you can also receive services with a public funded rehabilitation center, as they offer partial "scholarships" for therapies.

I believe therapy truly saved my son. He went from being a very fearful, uncoordinated, not confident child, to a pretty good defensive flag foot ball player. Will he likely be a professional athlete? No. But he enjoys biking, skateboarding, scooters, running, basketball and talking with all ages of people. He can navigate a playground and a kickball diamond with out fear. Perhaps not the most coordinated child on the playground, but he is no longer afraid.

In order to give your child the best chance to do well in life, therapy is important, accessible and necessary.

Next week I will talk about some unconventional therapies we have done in addition to the traditional.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I am dashing off a quick is a busy week. First though, I have to brag about my son..he PASSED the TAKS test. (reading) He is about to be in 6th grade, and Texas standardized testing requires each 5th grader pass both math and reading tests to be promoted to 6th grade.

So one big hurtle down..whew. He did not pass the math, but will retake and only missed a couple of questions. so I am confident and grateful.

Grati-Tuesday is a great day!

Another thing I wanted to share with you parent to parent. So much of Ryan's early childhood required me to be on call most of the time. If you have an SPD child you know what I mean. Much of the time is spent calming or doing therapy or cooking special meals or just managing outbursts before they start. Very little time is reserved for those drudge things in life like housekeeping or laundry. In our case, it just went on hold.

I am so so grateful that I could spend the time I needed with my son. And I am grateful now to encourage other moms and dads that are feeling guilty for not being domesticated enough. If you don't have time to put the laundry away or mop your floor, I'm going to give you permission today to put it off.

Be grateful that your child needs you now, and that you have time to give. If that time is in expense of laundry in drawers, so what? Clothes still work and socks still go on feet when worn out of a large laundry basket. Get several baskets and stop worrying..

The laundry and house will be there when you are 80 years old and bored. Then it will be clean and everything in its place. Today is grati-Tuesday. I hope you are filled this week with gratitude every day.

And filling up on Easter chocolate is ok as well.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


This week starts my first Grati-Tuesday post. Sometimes I forget to appreciate the little things, so to remind myself to be grateful, Tuesday seems perfect.

Today I woke up and went upstairs to wake up my son. There are about 11 stuffed animals on his bed. He considers them "friends." They were arranged neatly around his head. It made me think about his caring and compassionate nature. He is naturally intuitive and loves people. And he cares about his friends just as much as his animals.

Perhaps your child is not so caring or compassionate, but has boundless energy. Maybe he or she is super demonstrative in their love. Perhaps they love to cook with you, or beating you at video games. Maybe it is a love of animals or an ability to do math or skateboarding. Whatever gifts your child has been given, take this Grati-Tuesday to be grateful and express that gratitude to your child.

Often SPD kids feel like losers in life. And their parents often wonder why they were not blessed with a normal child. But really, normal is so passe'. Different and special is so, so much better.

Know that your child is your child for a reason.
They are yours not because they needed you, but because you needed them.