So today was the big day. A had her evaluation with an occupational therapist. It went really well, but not as I expected.
I was ready to schedule at least 3 months of OT, get some answers, feel validated and have a "diagnosis" (SPD is still not a diagnosis, but they're working on getting it recognized as such).
As it was I got answers...and that was "all." The OT (Kathy) was great. I feel like she did her job well, even though the outcome wasn't what I initially wanted.Basically A does have some sensory sensitivities. Kathy showed me how to do the Wilbarger skin brushing technique with A. I will take 3 minutes or so (perhaps longer since Bug decided he wants me to do it with him too!) to use a special brush and brush the skin on A's arms, hands, back, legs and feet. I will follow that by doing joint compressions on her wrists, elbows, shoulders, ankles, knees and hips. Essentially this will help desensitize her skin and her over responsivity.
We should notice that A's tolerance for tags, shoes, socks and having her hair combed will be much greater. Yay!
Another thing that has been driving me and my husband crazy is A's inability to keep her chair still at the dinner table. She tips it on its side legs constantly and is up and down and all over the place in it. Kathy pointed out that when someone who is sensitive to where her body is in space isn't able to put her feet flat on a firm surface while sitting, it's really very unsettling for her.
The solution: a step/foot stool to rest her feet on! So simple and yet so wonderful!
Kathy even addressed A's picking tendencies. Of course it makes sense that they're sensory related!
The places A picks at are the nape of her neck and her upper arms. Those are places that are frequently tickled (which is a negative sensation to A) by little hairs, shirt sleeves, or even collars. Hopefully the Wilbarger brushing will help that too.
We've already come a long way on our own, and I am very confident in saying that A would definitely qualify for therapy if we hadn't parented her the way we have. However, since we've covered so much ground over the past few years, Kathy was pretty sure that A more than likely won't qualify.
At first I was crushed! There are enough people in my life right now who are wonderful people, but who just don't see the SPD. They either don't see the meltdowns or they think firmer parenting on my end would help. I have found myself feeling a bit isolated lately because I know SPD is right! I feel the need to make everyone see it so they can be on my side.
I started thinking about getting a second opinion.
Then reality started to set it.
First of all this evaluation wasn't a ton of fun for A. Sure she got to play and loved that, but there was also work involved. There were questions to be answered and things to trace, draw and cut. Why would I want to make her go through that again?
Then there's the fact that no matter where we go, the tests will all be the same and will be scored the same way.
Then I started questioning my true motive. Why did I desperately want my child to be in therapy?
Apart from the fact that I truly thought she'd benefit from it, I was hopeful that once I had a doctor and an occupational therapist supporting me those who were doubtful would see that it's not all in my head. I would feel validated.
Unfortunately the tests didn't show what I've gone through over the past 5 years with A. If she actually tested and qualified for OT, though, it would prove that what I've endured and slogged through was real. It would show that it wasn't bad parenting or a difficult kid or a mommy who couldn't handle stress, after all.
How selfish is that?!
So I changed my point of view. I am a mommy. My job is doing what's best for my family and right now that means doing what's best for A. Is pushing for another evaluation (especially one that would probably end up the same way) going to benefit her? No. It's not fair to A.
When I listen to reason I can see that I did get validation--Kathy acknowledged that there are sensory issues and gave me some strategies to deal with them. She gave me her personal cell phone number and e-mail address so I can talk to her when/if something else crops up.
If there are people who don't buy into it, they wouldn't have "bought" it even if A needed OT and had a diagnosis.
And, A got the right amount of help she needed. We'll do the skin brushing and joint compressions. We'll get her a step stool. I'll keep reading and learning. We'll make special adjustments when needed.
We're in a good place. I won't mess with that (and yes, I will definitely be keeping this post handy to remind myself of my non-meddling clause I just established).