Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Sensory Integration and Splinter Skills

This has been a summer of heartbreaks and this is what has left my heart empty of blogging. Alas, I seem to have a way of saying that at some point every year. Just when I think things are going swimmingly, something happens which proves we still have this or that to work on. This year after I wrote about the wonderfulness of Sensory Integration Therapy and Vision Therapy, we learned that we have more skills to work on. What is going on?
When my kids were diagnosed with Sensory Integration Disorder, they were quite young. My son was 9 months old and my daughter was 3. We worked with a wonderful occupational therapist. She'd give me piles of reading material about research and therapy. When we met weekly for my kids' therapy sessions, I'd ask tons of questions. One week I asked her what the prognosis was for my kids. Would they ever go to college? Would there be hope of college? What was going to happen? What could I expect when they were in their 20's and even older?
She said that kids with Sensory Integration Disorder develop splinter skills. This is where kids can have high intelligence with enormous strengths in some areas but deep weaknesses in others. Hence, splinter skills. The skills are split between strong and weak.
So..... we kept doing lots of sensory integrative activities that employ the vestibular, proprioceptor and texture. Anything we did in the beginning brought great results, but then the brain seemed to get bored with that, so I had to keep changing up the activities. With change, we saw more results.  Variety is, after all, the spice of life.
When I started homeschooling I did my best to incorporate hands-on learning as well as the vestibular, proprioceptor, and texture. I tried to gear our field trips and summer vacations and other family activities around vestibular, proprioceptor, and texture.
Then when they started college we learned that they needed vision therapy, so we kicked in all sorts of exercises for that, which amazingly seemed to build on the activities we did for sensory integration. There was quite an interesting correlation between the two so with our new found discoveries we worked new facets of the brain. We also learned that beyond working specifically with the eyes, we also needed to work with spatial reasoning. Although that seems to be one of my son's strengths, it is one of my daughter's weaknesses. It is  amazing how similar yet different they are. They are polar opposites in strengths and weaknesses.  
And so now...even though my kids have mastered so much, even though they no longer have quite the degree or number of sensory issues as they once did, every once in a while we feel as though the rug has been pulled out from under us and again we have to regroup.
I've been praying, researching, digging in my brain, reviewing all the facets I've learned, trying to target weak areas to bring more strengths to the table. Now that my kids are older with more responsibilities, it is harder to find time to work with them.
The world is not conducive to the type of work we need to do. Much of the focus on technology that surrounds us day by day works against what my kids' need.
I won't be going into detail, in order to protect my kids' privacy. However I might share some of our activities under the guise of mere activities, knowing that in the big scheme of things, my entire approach to life revolves around sensory integration activity anyway since I have become an ardent believer and supporter. My new ideas would never have come without these newer needs, but they still fit the sensory diet that we seek.
 Yet for all the woes, I need to rejoice in all the wonderfulness that has occurred in each of their lives. So wonderful, that they have risen like cream to the very top of amazingness. For every wall each one seems to have hit, doors have opened for them in other avenues. Splinter skills. Enormous weaks...and at this point of their lives, hidden weaknesses that become imperative to address.
This post has taken a month to write. It wasn't important to me to publish it. For me personally, starting this in my drafts began a journey of healing and I was content to leave it there. However, if it gives another mother on the journey strength, then I am obligated to share.
At the end of the day, I guess that life with Sensory Integration Disorder is a journey that is to be taken one day at a time. 

1 comment:

  1. So even though you are done homeschooling, you aren't done homeschooling. I know that someday your kids will appreciate all the work you have done, with a Momma's heart, to help them become the best they can be. May the LORD bless you, and them, for your continued efforts. And may He grant you a peace that He will provide what you cannot.