Category Archives: Sensory

Compression vest makes the difference. 

We took Cub and Roar to our family farm for Easter. It was a wonderful weekend.

 Roar struggles with safety and impulse control on the farm. Any farm is dangerous if you aren’t aware and cautious around equipment, livestock, tools, etc. Roar is NEVER aware or cautious. NEVER. He’s up for anything. We have to watch him like a hawk! 

This trip, I brought his compression weighted vest. When we got to the farm, I put it on him and we went for a walk. He walked the whole time (.25 mile)- no running and no unexpected detours! 

Funny thing is we’ve had this vest for six years and this is the second time it’s been worn. It was Cub’s but he hated it and didnt respond to it. We ended up going with a weighted non-compression for him. This vest has been patiently waiting to be “really useful.” (Sorry for the Thomas the Tank Engine pun) 

So now we are taking it to and from school daily so everyone can experience it’s magical powers. 

What do you need?

Sometimes Cub just can’t get control of his body. His body needs so much sensory input for him to regulate. 

When Cub was 11 months old, he would head bang to regain control during a meltdown. Watching our baby slam his head on the hardwood was heartbreaking and scary. We started early intervention soon after head banging began. 

Now, six years later, Cub has had years of Therapy to address emotional regulation (prevent the meltdown using coping skills) and sensory regulation (meet the body’s need for increased input). 

That doesn’t mean he’s “cured.” It means he has the knowledge to utilize coping skills when he gets upset (with caregiver prompting- co-regulation. We aren’t to independent self-regulation just yet.)  That’s actually why I’m writing this post. We always ask Cub and Roar, “What do you need?” to prompt them to verbalize their needs and access their self regulation “tools.”

This morning Cub woke at 4:00am. He’s been crashing into all the furniture and driving me nuts! Then he said, “My body wants it.” AMAZING. 

I sat down and let it happen. He crashed into the front door, began spinning all the way to the back door and crashed into it. Then back to the front door. He did this for maybe 3 minutes. Then he stopped, sat down on the couch and said, “Lets go. It’s time for school.” WOW. Regulated and ready to go. All by himself. 

This journey with autism is a rollercoaster. I’m choose to celebrate everything. Every success has a story of blood, sweat, and tears but that just makes the success sweeter! 

Ways to say “leave me alone”

This is an effective way to say “Leave me alone” when you don’t have words to help. Cub was sitting with me on the couch and I was talking to him. He stood up, grabbed the pillow off the couch, kicked his shoes off, and crawled under his train table. So I guess we are done here?
Moments like these are amusing because in a typical child this would seem incredibly disrespectful. But for my Cub, taking action to express himself rather than internally escalating to a meltdown is a huge breakthrough!! So enjoy your break at Chateau de Train Table sweet boy.

Translating behavior

Cub’s teacher sent me this picture after suddenly being unable to find him in the classroom.

Cub is a smart guy with lots of words but approximately zero of those words are able to describe how he is feeling. He can tell you all about constellations but has no words for angry, hungry, potty, sleepy, etc. Because of this, we have to figure out how he is feeling by a change in behavior. The problem is that by the time the behavior has changed, it’s too late! Meltdown/Shutdown here we come.

It would seem based on the photo that Cub had enough fun and needed a break but maybe he was tired or sick. Translating behavior is an exhausting guessing game for everyone involved. Thank goodness the team in place to support Cub is diverse and committed. We will figure you out, yet, Little Cub!!