Thursday, August 12, 2010
Recently I seem to be going through another phase of processing my life as a mother of a Special Needs child. (On a side note: even saying, I am the mother of a Special Needs child feels like a step in the right direction.) It seems as though I wrap my head around some aspect of this theme, and I feel like I've reached stable ground, when something new comes crashing over me and knocks me down again. And then it takes a few days for me to scramble for footing.
I do all kinds of things to find that footing. I do lots of crying. I pour my heart out to various friends and relations that don't seem to mind. I say terrible things that are true, but that you really shouldn't say. Or maybe you really should say them, now that I think about it. I forget to fold the laundry and I let the dust build up around me a little and I make the easiest dinners ever.
Sometimes I want to burrow into a project. I want to find something to make and have a place to pour a little neurotic energy into.
Sometimes I think that if I can just make this one thing it will help. It will help me by making it, and it will help Andrew to have it. And so last week, after school one day, we all piled into the car and drove over the big, expensive bridge to Staten Island to go to a fabric store. Andrew and I picked out some fabrics, I picked up a pattern, and left with a project.
A few months ago Andrew started wearing a weighted vest in school. When they began to talk to me about incorporating the vest into his school day I assumed he would wear the vest while he worked in his seat. I thought it would be a little extra something to help him focus on tracing his ABC's. But on the contrary, he doesn't need any support at all when he's working at his seat. He seems to really sit and focus on his paper and pencil tasks. His real struggle: playtime.
Andrew has a hyposensitive proprioceptive sense (I wrote more about this here). Basically, it means that sometimes it's hard for him to feel where his body is in space and it makes him crave sensory input. He'll run around in the classroom or tackle Isaac or crash into the couch cushions to get the input he needs to feel settled again. During unstructured times of his day, like playtime, his body starts to crave order, and he races around to find it. The vest gives him enough pressure and weight to help him feel his body and then he doesn't need to run around looking for sensory input. The sensory input is strapped right to him.
I've been talking to his Occupational Therapist about using a weighted vest at home. Some days he comes home from school and settles right into something. He builds or plays or draws and is able to really engage. Other days he roams the house unable to find something to do. And when he can't settle, he'll often turn to Isaac for a good match of wrestling that will go too far and someone will end up crying. I thought a weighted vest would help for those days.
And so, I made one.
The pattern was for a fisherman's vest with pockets on the front. I added some pockets in the lining on the back too, so that there will a good distribution of weight. I'm actually haven't yet decided on what to use to give it that weight. But, when I figure out the perfect something, it will go in the pockets. ;)
So, I'm not sure yet if it will help Andrew or not, but it's helped me already. And there is definitely something to say for that.