Monday, August 12, 2013

The oldest boy

Roman finished 4th grade and as he described it, it was "bittersweet." in our district students switch schools to an upper elementary for 5/6 grade, and while he is excited to move on, he really doesn't do well with transitions & changes. He likes Social Studies, art, gym, & computer lab. Math & Language Arts is where he struggles. We had some interventions in place and his teacher continued to grant us extra time if needed for work.  His class traveled to Lansing to tour the state Supreme Court & the Capitol building, which he liked very much. It's great to see him understanding parts of our government and how the state/country works.

This summer I've allowed him to be lazy. He has 3 friends in the neighborhood (all younger than him) that he plays with - they are all into Minecraft, a computer game. 2 of the 3 really like Legos too. His bestest friend who moved away, Nick, we try to see a couple times a month. He attended a laser tag birthday party followed by cake & movies, but chose not to spend the night - thank goodness! There were 10 boys who stayed up all night, I hear. I am so glad that for a variety of reasons, Ro decided against that.

Regarding his challenges, we've gained some ground in some areas and are plowing ahead in new ones. We are still on the waiting list for the UofM sensory group for his encopresis - seriously, who knew that so many kids need help in this area?  We actually once talked Roman out of a bipolar high, which I am pretty proud of. (I do believe his choice of not spending the night at the birthday party was also because he didn't want to emotionally "go there.")  While we've noticed a growing defiance, especially late afternoon/evenings, he is generally more pleasant, even-keeled, & helpful during the day.

We finally, after a couple years of putting it off, took Ro for an evaluation at a sensory clinic. While it's a good 45 min. drive away, it's also the best-recommended place for kids with issues like Roman's. Both his therapist and us have thought for awhile that Roman could use some help in the sensory area, but we couldn't really put a big word or diagnosis to his challenges. To explain it easiest to you, gentle readers, you could say it's an overall "uncoordinated" appearance. Officially the Occupational Therapist called it dyspraxia. Things we see often in Ro:
-problems using utensils (knife) and dressing (shirts backwards)
-eats in sloppy manner
-difficulty with multi-step directions
-strong desire for routines
-awkward pencil grasp
-poor handwriting
-dislikes or refuses to participate in sports or on playground

Other areas include:
-dislike nail cutting
-reacts defensively to tastes of food
-grasps objects too tight or uses too much force
-chews on or sucks non-food items
-craves movement; likes to spin self around
-fatigues easily
-slumps while sitting

Many people we talk to about this say "well, a lot of kids do that" or "boys tend to do that." This is a much more severe level - and it isn't a phase. These are things we've seen since birth.  It also explains a lot of his frustration with karate, swimming, tying shoes (poorly coordinated muscle control), why he still can't tell his left from his right, and why he likes archery - he can just stand and shoot.  So we're working on making real-world goals for him with the therapist, and will start OT 2x a week once school starts. He's not thrilled with starting a new therapy, but archery doesn't start again until January and we should be finishing up by then.

Meanwhile, he plays a lot of video games, we force him outside to ride his bike, and we reward him with lots of playtime with his friends (and going to the movies!). Speaking of which, we are on our way out to see "Planes"...