I know, I know. I'm jumping all over the place with these Firefly Friday posts! These are the hardest ones for me to write,though, because the feelings in them are still so new and so raw, and so hard for me to process myself, sometimes.
I even question myself writing them, too. I wonder what Firefly would say if she knew I exposed her so openly to everyone. I wonder what she would think about me if she read some of the things I think and feel. I wonder what our friends and family think--not many of our friends have actually seen this part of our struggles. I wonder if the words "overexaggerating" and "it's not really all that bad" and "but she's such an angel when I see her" ever come to mind.
So today I thought I would NOT talk about hardships, strong emotions, and struggles. Ha. I wanted to go back to my original idea of being a resource and support to other struggling families (instead of just a weepy basket case, lol). Here, in no particular order, are the top ten tools we have in our "toolbox" to use in dealing with SPD (Part One--because it's late and I still have to make banana bread for a party tomorrow night and pack for a soccer tournament tomorrow morning and take a bath because I'm sweaty).
1. Gum. This is actually number one on purpose. We use it all the time. All the time. Not just one piece, mind you. At least two or three at a time. She chews it when she needs to be able to sit still and concentrate. She chews it when she is stressed out by something. She chews it when she has too much energy and can't find an outlet for it. She chews it when it's not acceptable to chew on her hands or her shirt. We buy in bulk. Every week.
2. Seamless Socks. Actually, Crocs should truly be first here, because that is Firefly's footwear of choice. Every day, in every setting. Snow on the ground? No problem. Going to the soccer field to watch a game and run around? Kicking the ball in Crocs is truly a gift. However, there are some places where Crocs won't work. A park with mulch. The bowling alley. In these situations, seamless socks have become our lifesaver. But they have to be TRULY seamless. Ours are. I order them online from SmartKnit Kids and Therawear. Yep, they're expensive. But then again, sometimes they are priceless.
3. Earplugs. This is a relatively new one for us. I don't think I ever really realized how much sounds affected Firefly. Then one day we went to lunch with a group of friends, and we ended up at a sports bar to watch college football. We walked in and Firefly noticeably jumped. We all sat down and she just kept getting more and more anxious, irritable, (yes, I'll admit, obnoxious), clingy and whiny. Finally, we asked her what was going on. (Novel idea). "It's SO loud in here". Simple answer. Why hadn't we thought of that? Daddy came to the rescue by running to the next door drugstore and picking up the plugs. Instant fix, and we actually got to watch some of the game! Now we don't go anywhere without them, just in case.
4. Surgical Brush. No, not for whatever evil thing you might be thinking! To follow her brushing protocol from her Occupational Therapist. I'm pretty sure the thinking behind it has to do with desensitizing the skin to touch. We are supposed to do it three times a day. Supposed to. We follow it up with joint compressions to help the body organize the input it receives from the brushing (there, I sounded technical, didn't I?) We could do better with this, which is one of my confessions. We do the best we can, right?
5. OT Cards. These, we love. There are a number of different activities printed on them, quick activities, and some that are longer. They each tackle a different sensation, such as: "push against a wall as hard as you can", "chew on something crunchy", "follow a flashlight shining on the wall", and "squeeze sponges". We used to use these at specific times every day, before we started schoolwork or chores. Now we use them when we need them. (I've become slightly more reactive than proactive lately--that's a fancy way of saying lazy). Just today I asked her to pick out one she thought she needed because I could tell she was "revving up". She decided to jump on the trampoline for fifteen minutes. GREAT choice.
These are a few of the things that we use on an everyday basis to help us through our day. What kinds of things are in your toolboxes?