Sunday, August 29, 2010

Catch Up

Long time no blog... in chief it's because it's been busy. Which is a nice term for "more complicated than I have energy and wherewithall to sit and put into words by the end of the day when I finally have time"! LOL But I did actually write much of it down the other day, so I'm going to pinch some.

Earlier this year Laurent has been diagnosed with a proprioception sensory integration disorder and we've been working on this and the behavioural difficulties we'd been seeing with an occupational therapist and psychologist team. Basically proprioception has to do with the input gained from your muscles and joints. He is under responsive and as a result, rather than the information his senses provide integrating into one useful world picture, all that unorganized sensory input creates a traffic jam in his brain making it difficult to pay attention and learn while also causing him to seek out that missing sensory input. Sensory seeking behaviour for him typically comes in the form of wanting to hang off things, climb, crash, push, jump, fidget, pinch, twist, fiddle and be overly physical with objects etc. In hindsight it explains so many of the things we'd just chalked up to being individual quirks about him!

A 'side effect' of this under responsiveness is that he is also largely insensitive to pain. Consequently, where most people learn that things that hurt are to be avoided, he hardly notices tends to hurt himself fairly often. Even when he was a baby he'd face plant and just giggle or bang his head on the floor and only be annoyed by it. It takes something fairly painful for him to feel it strong enough to register as 'hurts'. It also means his idea of what feels like normal, moderated amount of strength to him when he's playing with a toy is actually rather hard and he tends to rough on his toys and always engaging in a very physical manner seeking that sensory input. Some of it is minor but upsetting to him, while some of it can be much more annoying to us who have to fix or replace things if they break.

His OT is fabulous and has provided a number of immediate and practical tools and therapies that are designed to integrate all the sensory input into the brain and enable his days to go smoother. But we were all quite concerned he doesn't seem to learn from the experiences and has difficulty incorporating what he knows into self regulation to the degree an average 4-5 year old can. While he is very bright (actually has tested quite high) and is keenly interested in a wide range of things his psychologist and I feel his brain is processing, recalling, linking and utilizing the information it encounters in a somewhat atypical manner. Put together with his intelligence, confidence that he can carry out his plans and tendancy to pick his opportunities with impressive skill daily life is full on. When we've had our appointments done in home, they've all observed you can explain something to him in very clear and age appropriate manner, with explanations of why, what to do instead, what could happen if he does it and what action will follow it. This is followed through consistently and fairly, with discussion afterwards. In the case of things he's done before, he also recalls how it felt physically and/or emotionally, how it affected others, recalls if he didn't like that and would like to avoid it again as well. Even doing "all the right things" though, it can make little difference! He demonstrates understanding of all individual bits but he doesn't seem to be able to link it up to come to the conclusion he needs to.

So now we're involved in the headache of trying to access further assessments and services for him, which are entangled with a plethora of bureaucratic red-tape and nonsense which is both stressful, confusing and emotional. In the meantime our good days are gold- he is a funny, sunny little boy who loves his sister and is better with her than many kids I've seen are with their siblings, adores dogs and cats and would desperately love to play Flyball with Hope, wants to go to 'clicker class' with me, loves to garden and especially finding worms to watch or worm holes in the soil, is completely obsessed with food/cooking and all things cheffing, art - especially painting and experimenting with different sorts of paints, clay work and adores anything which lets him run, jump, bounce, crash, flip or otherwise act like he needs to run away to the circus! Bad days... well, we won't go there! We just try to get through them and remember that as bad as they can be there are people out there who have far more to cope with with far less resources so we really are quite lucky especially in light of the number of people I know of directly and indirectly who are seriously ill or who have lost their lives or loved ones lately.

In more cheerful and less serious news Miss Hopie will start competing in Flyball before very long and have several comps around Victoria this year and into next! We're very excited and can't wait! Here's a video of our recent practice, the order of run is Sam (black/white BC), Hope, Quiche (yellow/white BC)

It's also looking like our foster kitty Emi FINALLY has a new home at long last and fingers crossed she will go to her new home on 12 Sept! After 8 months I'm so pleased to see her get her 'happily ever after' and see the faith we had that there WAS the perfect home out there for her somewhere rewarded!

I also decided to be brave and enter Hopie in our first real trials (the PT title, HIC and such being 'test levels' vs open trialing) in Started A course on sheep. I knew she could handle it but I have still got heaps to learn, so the real question was if I could handle well enough. The weather conditions meant that mud was about calf-deep and footing was very difficult to maintain for everyone involved. The result was that we made the first pass, albeit it was not a terribly impressive run given I cut short on the 4th post and I didn't do so well on the center-line gate because of it - poorly lined up! The second run went a lot better and would have been about a 80 except I bodged the Z chute the first go and it took me time to recover enough to get them through - poor Hopie! We had an absolute blast though and it gave me a lot of ideas of what I want to practice as I can't wait to enter again for next time!

We've also had our lovely (and admittedly my favorite) ewe Star become ill for reasons the vet couldn't pinpoint as the symptoms were pretty nondescript. She had a mild fever, some scours, wouldn't rise and if lifted to her legs would wobble and fall. Despite his giving us antibiotics and goodies to help bolter her she didn't make it and I'm now bottlefeeding Timtam.

Random last but not least is Cinna - she's discovered that if I've gotten up the bed is still warrrrrrmmm and makes a cozy spot! Don't know what I'd do without my bunnahs!

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