OT suggestion....not so sure I like it... — The Bump
Special Needs

OT suggestion....not so sure I like it...

WWYD?

I love our OT, I'm just not sure I really like this idea. The reason is 95% because of the stigma and probably only 5% because I don't think it'll help. I'm leaning towards telling myself 'get over it'. 

To recap, DS will be 4 in July, so he's on the latter end of 3.

My recent question to our OT was WHY OH WHY does it feel like I drag him wherever we go when I am holding his hand? I can't quite allow him to be a good listener and not hold my hand even in a very 'safe' situation. I've always been a little overprotective in that area, but recently when we parked right up next to the curb and I did allow him to get out and 'go straight up to the sidewalk and stop' he BOLTED. I'm talking SCARY BOLTED right up the sidewalk towards the road. I had to run faster than I knew I could to catch him. I stopped him about 4-5 feet short of the ROAD!! Of course, he had a reason, he wanted to see the address.... but there was no stopping him until I caught up with him. SCARY!!!! So, I have to hold his hand. 

But, it is just about the most annoying thing I do each day.

DD holds my other hand and she promptly steps up onto sidewalks, bounces along at my pace, and pretty much keeps up. DS pulls, drags, and has to be told over and over multiple times to keep up or walk a little faster...

The OT says he does this because of his low tone. He is trying to support himself and gives in to using ALL the help I am willing to offer. Her first suggestion was to have him hold one finger. That does help some. Then she spoke to a PT friend of hers and they suggest using the leash that attaches to the wrist so he is doing all the work himself.

I think the point is that he is giving in to my help and not supporting his own body when I am holding his hand. The leash (is there a better word?) would help him learn to navigate all the twists, turns, curbs, different surfaces with his own strength instead of relying on me for support.

I get the theory.... but I am ONE OF THOSE MOM'S that just doesn't want to be caught dead with her kid on a leash....... ugh. I mean no harm to anyone who does use them... Im just having a hard time with this suggestion. It's just not a visual that strikes me as real 'typical' and I'm not all that interested in stirring up additional sideways glances.

Is the long term effects of this idea going to outweigh the downside of me putting my almost 4 yr old boy on a leash (yes, I keep calling it that, sorry)? 

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Re: OT suggestion....not so sure I like it...

  • Could you try a backpack one so it's less "leash-like"?
  • Wow, very interesting insight, Auntie... when recounting your son's hypotonia issues, you describe DD to a tee... and she currently exhibits many of the behaviors that Breezy's does when hand-holding. I def. think hypotonia plays into it a bit, because I can literally feel Sylvie "hanging" off my hand at times. (then again, it could be boredom.) :)  I've been playing around with a leash as well... and I won't lie; I was pretty uncomfortable using it, namely because of others' opinions. Oddly enough, I never pass judgement on parents who use(d) it, but I didn't think I'd want it for my kids. But like Auntie said, I'm also working really hard to accept that Sylvie needs to be parented differently than I'd like sometimes. And if that means lassoing her up, then so be it. :)

    p.s. I have eased into the whole leash thing- using it for walks in the neighborhood when it's not as "necessary" and people know us and our situation... or I use it when DH is around- he'd be happy to walk right up to anyone who gives us the stink eye and give them an earful  (thankfully, that's never happened!), but having the "support" there helps me. circumstances, and

    A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost. ~Marion C. Garrett
    image7_0002 A ~ 2.7.06 S ~ 9.2.07
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  • On the "leash" thing, I have a bit of a different attitude toward it.  They are super, super common in the UK.  My theory is that it is because the sidewalks are so narrow, so it is a safety concern.  I know you don't like the look of it and they are less popular here, but trust me when I say people are going to judge you a lot more if he gets hit by a car (I mean that gently no holier than thou). I do think it should be a temporary measure, not the solution.  The objective is for him to walk properly, not to wear a harness at 9.

    I had a similar hand thing - Tucker used to pull.  I'm not sure if he liked the sensation or if it was an impatience thing and at the time I didn't know enough to consider it.  He has good tone and doesn't do the chair melting thing (DS#2 does some of that).  He really likes to walk so I used to use it to my advantage.  If he pulled, we would stop and I would give a warning.  If he did it again he goes in the Ergo or stroller. After a couple of times, it usually only took a reminder at the start of the walk - if you pull you don't get to walk.

    I also play this game when we are walking and he's poking along or we're running late.  I say slower (we walk slower) or faster (we almost run).  When we're going slow its super exaggerated like a mime and when we go fast we're almost running.  I obviously weigh heavily toward faster.  It only works for short distances, but it helps.  I do hold hands when we do it and I can usually get him to stop the game by saying, "whew you're TOO fast.  Mommy can't keep up."

    I'm guessing the sidewalk thing happened when you were getting DD out?  DS is pretty good about standing on the sidewalk now, but if there isn't one  around or its crowded I frequently unbuckle his seat belt and have him walk over to DS#2's side and I get them both out on the same side.  I do the reverse when I put them back in.  I'm a freak about parking lots though.   

  • Several thoughts. 

    #1. I am SO glad I posted this here. I go somewhere else, talk to the teacher, the OT, hubby, Psychologist, a friend, etc... and I get no where NEAR this level of understanding. I see and understand each and every point you are all making and then I don't get met with the same understanding on the professional end. WHY IS THAT? It's really frustrating.  How is it that we all 'get' this has multiple levels? I know it's my job to weed through and find the right POA for my boy, but a little help is nice. I am thankful to you ladies!

    #2. (re:my scenario) I purposefully allowed him to walk up to the curb on his own. I had my eye dead on him & the entrance to the building was WAY away from the road. In my mind, the perfect place to 'try him out' and see what he was capable of. I was also getting DD out, but I always hold his hand while I get her out, or get her out first b/c I can trust her better. They get out on the same side of the car for this very reason. I walked them both to the door with my hands empty and ready to jump and let her in the door first, as he followed...... until...... there was no number on the door. And that is when he bolted. 

    There's also a very 'safe' sidewalk at the Pedi's office, so I've been allowing him the independance of going to the curb on his own there too. Just small steps to allowing him the ability to let go a tiny bit and see what he is capable of and not just assume he CAN'T do it.

    He's not a 'flight risk'. Like you said, he's immature in his understanding of the fact there are dangers (etc..) and his special interest captivates him into not paying any attention at all.  

    **Point well taken on the safety issue** 

    #3. Yes, I need thicker skin. I know that, I'm just not there yet, I'm learning.

    #4. I'm not sold that it has much to do with his unwillingness to do whatever it is we're going to do that involves holding hands. He loves church almost more than anything else, he does it then. He loves Target, he does it there. He loves going to a restaurant HE chose, he does it there. He does it going into the OT's office, he loves it there. He'll even do it if I tell him we're going to go buy new treasures for his treasure box at Trader Joes...... or going to a park. All are things he really seems to enjoy.

    Then, there's non-preferred (walmart grocery line waiting) and he pulls for a very different reason then. That is worse, but also unacceptable discipline wise - so he get's put in the cart. 

    I really do think that there is a hypotonia issue to it, though I agree it's not all that. DISTRACTION is huge. Namely: Church = license plates, Target/Restaurant/OT = other store front #'s, etc..

    #5. His abilities don't often trick me into thinking he isn't impaired in other areas. More likely I have the hardest time having others join me in this thinking. A lot of these types of 'common sense' issues that he just doesn't get seem to ME like big issues that will arise in school. However, his teacher and his SLP at school seem to not really understand the underlying issues. I know they can't just leap into the future and stop behaviors that he isn't displaying now, but at the same time, come-on.... you HAVE to know the pattern, right? That's my new goal. Help them see it.

    #6. Bugmommy, I forgot I used to play RedLight/GreenLight for that same reason... like you are saying about going slower/faster. It does catch his attention and he's paying more attention to the walking and less to the distractions. Thanks for the reminder! 

    Anyway, this turned into a very long response. Thanks for all the effort you put into responding in a real and helpful way, ALL of you!!

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  • image Glendi:

      I've been playing around with a leash as well... and I won't lie; I was pretty uncomfortable using it, namely because of others' opinions. Oddly enough, I never pass judgement on parents who use(d) it, but I didn't think I'd want it for my kids. But like Auntie said, I'm also working really hard to accept that Sylvie needs to be parented differently than I'd like sometimes. And if that means lassoing her up, then so be it. :)

    Thanks for this. I feel the same way. I'm not one to judge someone else using it, but I hear VERY STRONG opinions from others. This is one of those thick skin issues. Maybe my justification is that I don't want to let on (for my son's sake) that there is something going on when otherwise it's not visually noticeable. But that doesn't really matter so much at 3.5, now does it?   I know what Auntie's about to say too....... its probably my rose colored glasses that make me think it's not already visually noticeable too. I have no idea what people think when he's got his song cranked way up and is writing in the air, but I'm pretty sure they're not saying,. "Wow, look at that cute kid, that's adorable".

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  • image -auntie-:
    image bugmommy:

    On the "leash" thing, I have a bit of a different attitude toward it.  They are super, super common in the UK.  My theory is that it is because the sidewalks are so narrow, so it is a safety concern.  I know you don't like the look of it and they are less popular here, but trust me when I say people are going to judge you a lot more if he gets hit by a car (I mean that gently no holier than thou). I do think it should be a temporary measure, not the solution.  The objective is for him to walk properly, not to wear a harness at 9.

     

    I've noticed this difference in attitude as well. In the UK, using a harness if you have more than one child, is akin to using a car seat. it's just good mothering.

     

    This is why we had them.  When I had 2 year old twins and a newborn it made sense to have harnesses.  I took at safety above what other's think about me.  Now we still use them with Chris and sometimes Jon and Matthew and they are almost 5!  We took the boys to the shore last summer and they had harnesses, more so Matthew when he ran off in the middle of the boardwalk. 

  • So, if we're talking safety OVER the whole low tone issue, isn't holding hands safer? If he felt the need to slip out of the strap/velcro/however they work, would I know as fast as I would know if I just had my hand on his?

    I understand the twins part and this working much better in a scenario when you don't have as many limbs as you need! And I also get it for kids who fight holding hands. 

    He doesn't pull away from holding my hand, he's just dragging along at a snail pace, scuffing feet and the whole works. And between him and DD - adding that extra step of the strap doesn't really do me any good over just holding hands and carrying my bag on my shoulder.

    "Therapy" wise, I think I'm leaning towards maybe talking this up with him instead of the strappys. I guess we'll see. Tokens have been a big hit. I can see doing something similar to what bugmommy was explaining & involving the tokens for following directions.

    Thanks for all the insight. 

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