Thursday, January 18, 2007

Still winter...

I simply can't believe how long the ice on the trees has, literally, hung around. It's been 3 full days & still it's there. The sun's been out today & makes it sparkle. We have been very lucky that there's been no strong wind & very light snow, minimising the potential inconvenience (power lines coming down) to roads that are still icy in places.

Brendan has been enjoying the little bit of snow so much. Tuesday after school he came home &, after a mug of cocoa for snack, played outside for about an hour, came in for 45 minutes, then was out again practically until dusk. He played completely on his own (the kids next door are really busy with sports & such) & seemed to have a great time. Yesterday he even had a playmate, since dad was off work, so they went sledding on the big hill right around the corner from our house. They weren't out for long- Brendan's snow pants were at school- but they said the hill was fast, so they got a lot of runs in :) Brendan was particularly giggly afterward, particularly when he stripped his wet clothes off in the back hall (all but his boxers) & went streaking upstairs for dry ones. He's usually far too modest to do something like that, so I was surprised that he didn't just hang out in the bathroom by the back door & wait for Charlie to get him clothes.

Charlie had the chance to chat with Brendan's consultant teacher, Cherie, when he picked him up yesterday & they were comparing notes on his ability to cope with difficult situations (inspired, I suspect, by Wedneday being gym day- something that Brendan is not fond of). The consensus is that he's doing much better in the face of adversity than earlier in the fall. Cherie says that nowadays, she'll see him tic, ask him what's up, he'll tell her, & then they modify the situation. No big deal. His teacher is really pleased by how much time he's spending in the classroom, due in large part to the daily schedule that Cherie generates for him, that helps him to anticipate & prepare himself for daily activities. The incemtives we put in place when the schedule was first instated have fallen pretty much by the wayside. He doesn't ask for them anymore, & just earning the checkmarks (that represent his having stayed in class for a particular segment of the day) seem to be enough. At home we can tell things are better, partly because he's in a better mood when I pick him up, partly because he's willing to tell us about his day, & partly because he's willing to rehearse his class play lines with us (which would usually consitute homework...). It really is good to look back occasionally to see that progress has been made :)

This morning after door duty at school I wandered up to say goodbye to Brendan & found him having an OT session. His OT, Ann, had a puzzle out & was chatting with him while he worked on putting it together. She's been trying to encourage him to write more of his very imaginative stories, & I jumped on the bandwagon, telling her about my wonderful christmas present from Brendan (the first installment in a hopefully on-going story, which dad typed for him as he dictated). She's trying to get him to start using his alpha smart keyboard again, which has become the victim of OCD thoughts & is presently taboo (in other words, he can't touch it). They have been coping with this at school by a combination of having someone scribe his work for him & having him write some fo the briefer stuff himself. On top of this, his on-again off-again aversion to his left hand is back in full swing (not a co-incidence, I think) so he's refusing to use it (& occasionally talks about cutting it off -arrgh). I reminded him of what happened last time he stopped using his left hand (it became so weak he couldn't carry a glass of water in it without dropping it) so we had to limit what he could do by himself in the kitchen, since things were dropping all over the place. This blow to his independance was encouragement enough to get him using it again last time, so I'm thinking it may be time to try it again. Understanding that this problem with his hand is likely due to real sensory issues that are being made more difficult by the OCD has made it easier to wrap our heads around his sometimes bizarre behaviour around "Q1" (quadruped 1", which is how he refers to it). Mostly, we kept things pretty light while talking about his hand today in OT. Occasionally Ann would ask for both hands & kind of shake them gently into life. If the snow hangs around long enough that might help, too, since it's hard to make a snowball one-handed. :)


At 2:24 PM, Anonymous mumkeepingsane said...

It's so great to hear that your son is dealing so well in his school environment.

We have arm issues too. Patrick had a bracial plexus injury at birth and took 2 years of physio. He's doing well right now but, as you said, if he doesn't use it for a while he gets rusty.

At 5:29 PM, Blogger mcewen said...

Don't talk to me about hands [or OCD for that matter] we both know far more than is good for us I suspect.
Best wishes

At 10:02 PM, Blogger Lisa/Jedi said...

I must agree, mcewen :)

mumkeepingsane, Brendan's main issue with hand disuse is that he's hypotonic, so his muscles are generally weaker & he loses strength faster. Happily, he spent most of this afternoon outside again & we're due for more snow over the next few days... so he'll be using both hands a great deal! :)


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