Wednesday, March 23

Falling out of chairs and other Olympic Events

There are days when I think, she is just so normal and we are having such a great day.  Then ten minutes later she has literally fallen out of her chair as she is eating dinner and then the meltdown starts.   And of course she knocks over her drink in the process and there is a mess everywhere.  She is crying and stomping upstairs to go to her room because she is embarrased and angry.  This begins a few hours of getting her to calm back down. 

Yes, she falls out of chairs and trips over her own feet and misjudges where the table is and loses her balance.  I can not tell you how many times I've seen her fall for no apparent reason.  If falling out of a chair was an Olympic event, she would have a gold medal. 

The reason is that one of her senses, the Proprioceptive sense is... well, off.  Proprioception is defined as; The ability to sense stimuli arising within the body. Even if you are blindfolded, you know through proprioception if your arm is above your head or hanging by your side.  Your body can sense where it is in relation to the ground.  I allows you to walk heal to toe and not fall over or lose your balance.  Kathryn can not do that.  She has Proprioceptive Dysfunction. Her OT (Occupational Therapist) was excited to tell me she actually walked heal to toe for 3 steps before she lost her balance the other day... we were all excited. 

We have Kathryn in a beginner gymnastics class that she attends once a week.  She has enjoyed it but it is getting harder for her now and she does not want to go.  She can not do a cart-wheel and struggles to walk the balance beam, and many other activities, but it is such good practice for her.  I know later today when I pick her up from school she is going to give me a REALLY hard time and beg me not to go to gymnastics, but we will go.  It is just the right kind of work her body needs to be doing.  No, it may not be as fun as we had originally hoped gymnastics would be when we first signed her up (pre diagnosis).  BUT it is helping and she is improving... slowly. 

Proprioceptive Dysfunction is just one of the many aspects to SPD.  I just wanted to share with you one of her many struggles.  With OT she is building strength in her muscles and teaching her brain and muscles to "talk" so that she will begin to not feel and be so clumsy.  

Again... it is just the beginning but that is where we are  Right Here...Right Now.


Christine said...

Love you. Healing has already begun, and every day brings more - no matter how slowly.

Lisa@BlessedwithGrace said...

Yeah! What Christine said!!
I am so glad you explained this. It lets me better understand the physical issues. Thanks.

Jenn said...

Parenting a special needs child has great rewards & heartbreaks. I know what it's like to forget (even for a moment) that your child is different only to have a meltdown bring you back to reality. My son has high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder. It's been a slow process but we have more good days than bad now.

I'm a big believer in incorporating sports into therapy but it does make it easier if they enjoy. Hopefully Kathryn will love gymnastics again. She'll be so proud of herself once she nails a routine! We had J in taekwondo and it really worked wonders with his confidence & gross motor skills.

Good luck! :D

Anonymous said...

There is a christian website you may want to visit she and one of her daughters has this disorder. The blog is called Raising Arrows. She is an amazing woman named Amy. Good luck and God bless

JMF said...

My daughter also has proprioceptive dysfunction (or as our OT called it, proprioceptive hyposensitivity) as one of the facets of her SPD diagnosis. I am surprised that child protective services hasn't carted her away from us due to the number of bruises she has all over her shins and knees from all of her falls! She also LOVES ballet class - she has taken several over the past couple years and is definitely one of the least coordinated girls in the class (she also has some issues with motor planning, so even if she had the proprioception stuff down, she would find it tricky to put the steps together anyway!), but she loves it.

We didn't sign her up this season because I wanted to see how she would handle the 4 hours of preschool a day, 2 hours of OT per week (along with the stuff we do at home), and other stuff, but she is still asking me to sign her up again. So I think I will, but I think I am going to clue her teacher in on the challenges she is facing. I was initially reluctant to put her diagnosis out there. What will people think?! Will they treat her differently?! Will they think I'm full of it and she's just a space cadet?! But I am beginning to realize that if I want others to "get over it," I am going to need to do the same. If her ballet teacher knows what's going on, maybe she will be a bit more patient with or compassionate towards her - and maybe it will be a learning experience for all of us.

I guess that's where I am going here - have you clued Kathryn's teacher in to what is going on? Maybe there are ways for them to make the experience more enjoyable, with just the right amount of challenge so that she feels successful and not frustrated? It may be worth a shot...

Anyways, I feel your pain. I had planned on writing a blog about the ballet stuff, so it's funny that I stumbled on your entry. I may write a parallel entry and link to yours, if that's okay! Good luck with the gymnastics - I am sure she's doing great things in there (even if she doesn't realize it)!