May 19, 2004

new Hidden Laughter entry

What Remains. I talk about the idea of a cure, also about some stuff we're seeing right now and what to do about it.

Posted by Tamar at May 19, 2004 09:16 PM

Hey Tamar --

Read the entry. My two cents: try the swimming first. For us, it's like magic. When he's swimming once a week or more, the sensory stuff just vanishes.

I saw it first when he was four years old, and ever since, we've had periods when he swam a lot and times when he didn't, and the difference was really really noticeable.

By the way, to learn to swim -- he really needed one-on-one private lessons -- he couldn't do it in a group, we tried and failed. Now that he's a strong swimmer, I think he'll make it in a group.

If you can deal with the $$$$, the best is to find a private teacher.


Posted by: Allison at May 19, 2004 09:24 PM

Tamar -- so much to say. First of all, what a gift you have given him (with outside help) -- to recognize what he needs, and take action to get it. From the immediate (chewing, for example) to the big picture (your efforts over the past three years). This is simply a bigger gift than any of us can imagine, when spread over a lifetime.

As for swimming, I took my oldest son to Red Cross lessons at age 4 and 5, and both times he stayed in the very beginning class simply because he wouldn't put his face in the water. At that time (hopefully they've changed) you couldn't progress until you'd done that. Out of desperation I put him in a mom/tots class, where I was in the water with him. Within ten days he was swimming like a fish. The big important idea I carried away from that -- they got kids comfortable in the water w/o the emphasis on putting their faces in. But every class, several times, we DID put our faces in together. The entire class would count 1-2-3 and with the kids in our arms, go under water, all the way, then come up. And the most important aspect of it was, I had to go under with him. None of this standing there telling him to do something I wasn't doing. Not only was it about being fair, it was about proving that it really was okay. He was in my arms, safe, and we went under together.

And yeah, when he was a senior in high school, he was captain of the swim team. (You knew that was coming, right? I almost didn't say it because it's such a cliche'!)

Anyway, whatever you choose to do, I'm sure it will turn out great.

Posted by: pooks at May 20, 2004 06:21 AM

One of the things I've enjoyed with my daughter is watching her learn how her brain works, and how to work with her own particular brain chemistry -- that when she's feeling frustrated and trapped and can't settle herself or focus, if she just goes out and runs laps around the house, the exercise will break the tape-loop inside her head and give her a fresh start. And I've had to learn that what works for me doesn't work for her; that music blocks out distractions for her, whereas it is a distraction for me. Damien is lucky to have you to work through this stuff with him now, instead of waiting until he's older and settled into bad patterns.

As for the proprioception issues -- horseback riding works wonders there, as well as giving kids a great sense of mastering something impressive. But you can't go wrong with swimming; the best rule I know for children is "if all else fails, put them in water."

I've often wondered if I would make my girl a "normal" kid if I could, and I feel almost guilty when I think that no, I wouldn't; her differences are part of who she is, and I wouldn't trade her for a "normal" child. When you get to the point of wholeness, that's really the place to be.

I love reading your writing about Damien, the love that shines through in everything you say.

Posted by: Cait at May 20, 2004 06:36 PM

Swimming has worked wonders for us, too. But, one caveat: Indoor pools can be very crowded noisy places. My son finds them difficult sometimes. He can't attend to what the teacher is saying, because of all the ambiant noise, and he gets overwhelmed by all the bodies around him.
We found a very quiet Jewish pool that's nearly empty during the day and he swims there a lot. We also use the public pool locally, but he hated it the first five times (or so) that he went. He's adjusted a lot now, but he still asks to get out of the pool as soon as his lesson is over. He's not interested in the 10 minutes of "free swim".
Anyway, just something you might want to look out for in swimming. My dd got to experience wall climbing recently, and loved it.

Posted by: darby at May 21, 2004 04:46 AM