Friday, February 19, 2010


We suspected Presley had autism. We had her tested twice, both with “too early to tell” results. When we did our second round of Autism testing, Doctor Oswald (the doctor that tested Presley the second time around) had recommended we get Presley into a play group, school, pre-school or other social environment. The importance of socialization was stressed in most of our clinical testing’s. I’ve come to realize the importance of socialization, recently.

Presley started to use to potty at school! I was thrilled! I mean, to anyone else, potty training is stressful, but the kid usually gets the hang of it. For parents of children with Sensory processing disorder, potty training is a huge deal. First the kid can be over sensitive to objects (a cold potty seat in the morning, anyone?) or be scared of the sound of the flushing or even not like having that “empty” feeling of not having they’re bum covered. It’s a huge deal, most mothers of children with SPD usually say they’re child was potty trained at ages 5-7. So, at Presley’s school, she sees another little girl in her class go to the potty and Pres grabs the teacher by the hand and used the potty! She followed the leader; saw what she was doing and bam! Potty master Presley! I’m of course, proud of her. I’m a little jealous that I didn’t get to witness it, but, nonetheless, very proud of her. That brings me to the importance of socialization for children with SPD.

Most people know the importance of socialization. Socialization teaches us appropriate behaviors, what’s the “normal” thing to do in a situation and appropriate customs. Not only that, but socialization teaches us fundamental behavior, language, self help skills, the list goes on and on.

Presley, being in school, is doing great things for her. Her language is improving, as is her play skills. The child development institute says, “During the period of social growth [in school] there will be minor triumphs, but the road will undoubtedly be rutted with an occasional major disaster. Parents should not be disheartened. Children tend to have spurts of physical, intellectual, and social growth laced with periods of holding their own or even periods of regression.” There have been small periods of regression (we got a bunch of snow here in VA, Presley missed about a week of school) but overall the growth has been phenomenal.
Being around other children is greatly important for children in general. Learning key play skills, as well as social norm’s by observing children is key. According to the Child Development Institute, “Children with learning disabilities may have difficulty processing information from the social environment or have difficulty with self-expression.”

For Presley, being in school has helped her a great deal. From the potty, to appropriately playing with toys, learning verbal skills from the other students, and being away from mommy and playing with the teachers/other kids, she’s learned from socialization.

The Child Development Institute. (2009, February, 19). Helping Your Child with Socialization. Retrieved from:

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Feeding disorders

When Presley was about two we had an evaluation with the “feeding clinic” here in Richmond at the Richmond Children’s Hospital. We ended up not perusing the feeding clinic for various reasons, but recently have decided to give it a go again.

I fed Presley a meal yesterday of mashed green-beans, small toddler spaghettis and mashed bananas. She tongue mashed some of her food, while swallowing other’s whole. Her OT was here yesterday and “mentioned” she eats at a 9 month old level, because she hasn’t picked up the older skill of moving her tongue around to her teeth.

The feeding clinic here goes the behavior rout when it comes to therapy. They tend to use ABA (applied behavioral analysis) when feeding. They work on a reward system. You take a bite, you get a toy. Studies show that feeding disorders are usually prevalent with neurologic disorders as well as behavioral issues.

With that being said, Presley’s issue consists mostly of texture based foods. She prefers soft foods and will not eat anything hard. Hard foods would be considered, crackers, cheese, anything crunchy. In applying behavioral therapy to texture issues, “the procedure consists of presenting light and rocking motion and increasing the texture over time.”

One of the most important things in feeding therapy is parent training. In the intensive program at the feeding clinic, the parent/child goes five days a week for eight hours a day for six consecutive weeks and eats four times. The parent watches on video for the first couple of weeks, while the occupational therapist feeds the child, then the last couple of weeks the parent is “taught” and feeds the child in the clinic setting, so that therapist can observe and correct.
Most studies show that feeding therapy at clinical locations is favorable.

Shore, B. P. C. (1997). Pediatric feeding disorders. The Kennedy Krieger institute. Retrieved February 3, 2010 from,