It’s almost 2 months since Elijah’s visit to the ENT specialist (read here). He has been interacting with us a lot more and picking up new vocabulary; though his pronounced words aren’t clear.
After much reading about toe-walking and late talking, I thought I’d post some of the resources we’ve used and references I’ve found most helpful. I hope it’ll be of use to someone reading this.
Sensory Processing: Proprioceptive and Vestibular
This article by YourKidsTable has helped me understand some of Elijah’s behaviour. E.g. his like for squeezing into tight spaces, his frequent toe-walking, and his endless energy drive.
These indicators seem to point to his need of proprioceptive and vestibular input. Prior to this, I have completely no idea what these sensory processing meant. These articles (proprioceptive and vestibular) by Lemon Lime Adventures helped me understand what they meant without all the medical mambo-jambo.
Proprioceptive = body position; how our joints and muscles coordinate with the brain to help movement.
Vestibular = movement and balance; and is centred in the inner ear (spatial awareness).
What we do:
To provide proprioceptive input, we give them heavy work activities to do. You read it right..heavy work.
According to Sensory Processing Disorder.com:
Proprioceptive input is the performance of tasks that involves heavy resistance and input to the muscles and joints, and is essential in helping our bodies assimilate and process both movement (vestibular) and touch (tactile) information.
Elijah is a proprioceptive input seeker, so things like carrying groceries, baby diaper bag, stacking or moving chairs, moving vacuum cleaner, mopping the floor, climbing, jumping and crawling through tunnels help him calm down.
Additionally, he’s a vestibular input seeker (a.k.a. “ants in your pants” kid) so activities such as sitting in a rocking chair, playing a slide or suspension bridge, spinning, and hanging upside down are helpful.
As for toe-walking, I read that these activities help children:
- walking up hill;
- climb up slide;
- jumping; and
- walking in flippers/boots.
We’ve worked on similar activities over several weeks, and it did improve Elijah’s toe-walking situation.
Our usual activities would be: climb up slide (which I wouldn’t normally allow), walk up hill or ramps, jump along with the music, walk in empty tissue boxes. I try to keep the activities short and fun so it doesn’t seem like a therapy session.
I engage Elijah using gestures and sounds while conversing with him. He adores animals, trucks and vehicles. Eric Carle’s books have been his all-time favourite.
While reading to him, I’d sign the animal while saying its name or mimic the sound of the animal after saying its name. E.g. I’d say “baa baa” after saying the word, “sheep”.
Now, when he refers to sheep, he’ll say “baa baa”. He’s not able to say the word, “sheep” but it’s surely a step of improvement.
A lot of self-talk and describing what Elijah’s doing too. Basically, I try to narrate what he is doing and remember to pause to let him respond. Sometimes, he just points. Other times, he’ll sign the word or actually say the word.
We are making progress. On Aug 9, he started calling me “Mama”. And I mean, really looking at me and acknowledging me. My husband and I couldn’t believe our ears!
Thank you for all your prayer support and encouragement! Please continue to pray for Elijah as we are scheduled for a developmental assessment with a specialist sometime in September.