I called Adam’s OT yesterday and had a wonderful chat to her. She said I am welcome to bring him back any time for some work. But first, she said, she wanted to ask me some questions about this puzzle thing.
Do I think it is a perception thing – he can’t see where the pieces go? I said no. It is a frustration thing – he can’t fit the puzzle pieces together properly (they wont ‘click’ in easily) and so he gets cross and frustrated.
She said it could be from his sensory profile, not a tactile thing but a proprioception thing (remember, that was/is his biggest sensory ‘thing’). He doesn’t know how hard to press to put the puzzle pieces into place etc.
(Aside note: This incident has made me remember back that I had very poor fine motor control at school. The only way I could write (to control the pencil) was to press really hard. My hands and arms used to get so tired from pressing so hard. I always got into trouble about how crappy my handwriting was. Exams were a total nightmare because of all the writing. I still get very tired from writing. Thank goodness for keyboards!!)
Anyway, it was such a great discussion because she is so clued on the sensory stuff PLUS she knows Adam so well. The stuff she said makes so much sense.
Firstly, puzzles are no great indicator. But the stiff hands, splayed fingers are concerning. As is his frustration levels. She said we need to do lots of fine motor stuff, but nothing that has a success / failure point like beading, puzzles or threading. The reason being is that if he ‘fails’ at it, he is going to get frustrated and not want to do it anymore.
Instead, we should be giving him free play stuff. Stuff that he will enjoy doing that doesn’t have an element of ‘failure’ built in. In other words, you only achieve success when you fit that puzzle piece in, or you thread that bead. Instead, we should do things like make lots of cookie dough and make our own shapes. Roll big balls of dough and little balls. Make little cars, snowmen, anything he wants. Lots of rolling and pinching and things like that, but let him make whatever he wants. We then decorate them, bake the shapes and eat them!! Or we get Crazy Clay and make shapes and little balls etc and bake them into toys. We can paint them afterwards. Lots of playdough shapes. Or we take bubble bath and ‘paint’ with our fingers on the side of the bath. But everything is free play. What a divine idea. Makes SO much sense for a child like Adam, or any child like him who gets very intense and worked up about ‘failure’.
I am SO please I called her (thanks to you darling ‘holes). I love that she knows Adam so well. We will go back next month for an evaluation and perhaps some sessions, but I am pleased that I spoke to her. Very pleased and very relieved.
As for Kate: I put a nappy on her the last two nights. She likes that kind of thing because she loves to pretend to be a baby. It would take a lot to make THAT child feel like a failure. Confidence is sky high. Naturally, she has been dry both nights. Hmmmm. Will still take her for bladder infection test though.
These kids! They drive us crazy :-)