Tuesday, June 4, 2013

possible tips for other moms (especially for sensory sensitive kiddos)

Obviously Andrew has a lot of doctor's appointments.  He doesn't mind too much (he asks to go to St Vincent or various doctor's offices), but some are more difficult for him than others.  He's gotten better as his communication improves, but the tasks that really challenge his sensory systems are very hard for him.

One of the most difficult checks is his kidney/bladder ultrasounds because he has to lay flat on a bed, the gel is messy, he has to hold still, and it takes a while.  Things like blood draws are pretty easy, but things requiring him being touched (taking temps, blood pressure cuffs, ear checks, height because the bar touches his head) are rough.

I'm sharing this for any others who may struggle here, or especially for any moms with kiddos who may be a little more sensitive to things like this.

1) We got a toy doctor kit and a dentist mirror.  Letting him practice listening to his heartbeat and do his blood pressure checks over and over at home made it easier for him to do these things at the doctor because he's used to that feeling.  The nurse's reaction is always to tell him that it isn't going to hurt, but he's not upset because he's afraid of the pain...so that just makes it worse.  He doesn't like being touched and almost always is more panicked about the things that don't hurt, like I mentioned before.  The only way I've found to make these things better is to practice in a safe environment first.

2) I've had to switch a few doctors around to find doctors that are willing to give him the time and patience to ask questions and explain things.  This is especially helpful now that he's gotten older.  Holding him and pinning him down to do anything just makes his anxiety sky high at all of his appointments, and sometimes a simple explanation is enough to do wonders.  There will be times we have to do something he doesn't want to do, but my philosophy is that the doctor/nurse/dentist/hair dresser should at least try to explain what they are doing, first.  I would be panicked if I was pinned down to do anything without some explanation, too!  It seems like common sense, but I guess it isn't to everyone.

3) I'm not sure if it's just Andrew, or because of his auditory sensory issues, but he has some sort of amazing connection with  music.  During his kidney ultrasound this week, instead of having 3 nurses hold him down, we laid on the bed and I let him pick and listen to songs on my ipod.  He is so entranced in the music that he didn't care too much about having the ultrasound done and layed still and peacefully.  The appointment took 2 hours and he didn't cry.  He was also able to tell us that the reason he was upset to lay down was because he thought the bed was a moving chair (like at the dentist) - so I showed him it was just a mattress and a sheet, like his bed at home, and that the nurse couldn't move it.  We've also used music as a calming tool in other situations like this.

4) Moving/reclining chairs terrify him - I wish I'd realized that was a lot of the problem sooner.  They were able to clean his teeth at the dentist standing up.

I hope this helps some other parent/kiddo out there!


Candice June 4, 2013 at 9:24 PM  

This was very helpful, thanks! I notice my son is very relaxed by music as well. Also, explaining things to him helps a lot.

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