This is probably the hardest post I have had to write about so far. Emotionally I would just like to skip this post and pretend that this is something that we are not dealing with. I choose to write on for a couple different reasons. One reason being that things don't go away if you ignore them and another being that I am sure that I am not the only one struggling with these emotions. There are more reasons but I am not going to take up your time by writing them all down. So here it goes...
The school where Kyle goes to recently did a couple screenings on him. One was sensory issues. I always knew that Kyle was sensitive to sound, smells, tastes, touch, bright lights etcetera, but aren't we all?? After the evaluation it was discovered that these issues were impacting him more than what I had assumed. Their suggestions were great. Ear plugs for places that were too loud for him...a weighted vest for when he was seeking deep pressure...something to chew on to help with his need for mouthing things (currently he chews his clothes, sucks on his upper arm to the point of leaving marks)...something nice smelling to carry around with him in case he smells something that he can't tolerate...sunglasses to deal with the sun (we had already been doing this at home).
Great! We had a way to help him with these issues. A way to make his world a bit more tolerable. I couldn't be happier. I went out and got all of the things he needed, except for the weighted vest. Until I can travel two hours away to get one, I came up with a temporary solution of a small weighted blanket that I made. I do not wish to order a weighted vest off the internet as I want to make sure that it is the correct size or else it would be useless. The weighted blanket really worked at home. I had a meeting with the school yesterday and brought it with me to give to the teacher. I am going to make another one for home. Everyone at the meeting loved it.
I saw Kyle as I was leaving the meeting. It was lunch time and he was in the cafeteria. This is one of the harder parts of his day. He has a harder time socially with lunch and recess. It is because there is less structure. As I was walking towards him I watched how happy he was. He was sitting with three other kids. They all were getting along and everyone seemed very happy. Kyle was smiling and have a great time! My heart sank though because he was sitting there wearing the ear plugs. It was totally noticeable to me. This was the first time I had seen him in school with the ear plugs. He seemed oblivious, it didn't bother him at all that he was wearing them. When I talked to him later about it he was totally fine with it. His peers didn't seem to mind either. My fear is that he would be picked on because of this. Thinking and weighing all of the options, if he wasn't using this 'tool' he wouldn't be functioning as successfully as he was and the main thing was that he wasn't bothered by it.
When Kyle was leaving school he came walking down the hill with everyone at dismissal time carrying his weighted blanket. He wasn't trying to hide it, putting it in his bag would have been the best option. He was twirling it around. As his mom, I am glad that he has it to use at school but I don't want it to be something that the whole world is aware that he uses. If the teacher kept it in the closet and only took it out when it was needed that would be great. It would be even better if he didn't need it.
When I met up with Kyle as he was walking down the hill I explained to him that the blanket was to stay at school. I promised him that I would make another one for him to use at home. He was okay with that.
On one hand it is a blessing that he is oblivious to the fact others may view his 'tools' as odd, but I think that he would grow better socially if he was a little more aware of social standards. I have mixed emotions on this and it is a very hard topic to write about...it all comes down to what is best for the child.