Tagged "anxiety"


Your Child's Anxiety

Posted by Casey Roy on

Anxiety.

I know that Elizabeth has it in direct relation to her Sensory Processing Disorder and Dyspraxia.

When she is overloaded or afraid of something, her anxiety kicks in.

And when it kicks in other things occur.

I am very experienced in this kind of anxiety for Elizabeth.

I am also aware that new things or experiences can create anxiety for her as well.

We have learned that talking about the “new” thing and helping her learn what it will be like, what to expect and if possible, watching a video of it all work to help lessen the anxiety. READ MORE

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Elizabeth: Speech Goals

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

Goals.

My wish list.

Two things that I have carried with me since Elizabeth was born. Actually, more like since the minute she was diagnosed.

Goals and my wish list.

I have carried these things around like two best friends. I checked in with them often, planned things around them, and happily checked things off of them when Elizabeth did something new.

They have never left me in all these years, and I feel, if I am being truthful, that they will probably always be with me for Elizabeth. But they have changed shape, that is for sure:

  • - I just hope she can say the last part of her words.
  • - I want her to get the chance and try to go into this class room.
  • - I hope she will talk to some kids on recess.
  • - I want to work with her on her writing.
  • - I want her to learn to text her friends.
  • - She needs to learn to sign her name in cursive.

Yes! It has changed, but the one thing on the list that continues to be there after each flip of the calendar year is her speech goals.

Speech is this inherent part of Elizabeth needs. Her dyspraxia is quite severe and as such we have fought long and hard for any and all gains in the speech realm. 

But with dyspraxia, those goals took extra work because those with dyspraxia form habits very quickly. Be they good habits, like saying a word correctly, or bad habits, like misarticulations. Well, these bad habits are SERIOUSLY hard to break.  It is like once they are formed, they become so strong!  So we learned to learn things correctly the first time. Perhaps we learned this a little late in the game but we learned it nonetheless.

Speech Goal #1

So back to the goals and wish list… right now in Elizabeth’s speech life, we are working on social speech. The kind of thing that requires, among other things:

  • - Thinking about what someone said.

  • - Answering on topic.

  • - Staying on topic.

  • - Allowing everyone a turn.

The dyspraxic mind typically has trouble with organization of thoughts and information, so these goals are kind of tough for Elizabeth when she is stressed or too much is going on in her life. Someone will ask her a question about X and she will answer about Y. I know why it is happening but the poor store clerk does not. So we talk to her a lot about focusing and staying on topic.

Speech Goal #2

Another fan favorite on the goals is for her to OPEN her mouth when she talks. For her, any anxiety shows itself in her talking as if her teeth are glued together. Try it now. It is very hard to be understood this way, and that is for those of us who do NOT have dyspraxia, so imagine how hard communication is for her. So she hears plenty of “Open your mouth, Elizabeth, breath and talk.”

Yes, I am sure she is having a ball with me on those days.

Speech Goal #3

Directly related to the above goal is the new addition of singing lessons for Elizabeth.  She loves, loves, loves music and loves to sing, so we contacted a wonderful lady to work with Elizabeth. It is not just singing, it includes:

  • - Muscle work for her jaw and mouth.

  • - Deep breathing exercises.

  • - Focusing.

  • - Projecting her voice.

  • - Even reading, as they read and sing current songs.

Here is something to know, for those of you with older children: it is so important in my opinion to keep things age appropriate. Something that boosts their self-esteem is huge!

Elizabeth loves this and there is follow-up work for us at home! So win-win!

It is odd to think about it but we don’t GO to speech therapy in a pure sense anymore, we work on goals each and every day. (If you ask Elizabeth, she would say every minute.) But we do not have regular speech classes. We check in with Mary often, readjust a goal or two but we do most of our work in social settings now. Because that is where we find the need.

And that brings me up to the last update for Elizabeth.   

Speech Goal #4

Find the need. Once you understand your child, their disorders or needs, then you can start to find ways to help them. And as their needs change, so does the therapy. In our case, these needs lead us out into the world now. Into the world to talk, to engage in proper conversation, to communicate thoughts and needs. Actually, it is a pretty big undertaking now but this is where we find ourselves.

Speaking of which, I can hear Elizabeth loudly complaining that her brother took the T.V. and it was not his turn. So, I will go now to referee an argument, an argument that likely would not have happened had we not done all we did. We will keep working and encouraging because she is worth it all.

-Michele Gianetti 

Michele writes for TalkTools Blog every month about her experience caring for Elizabeth, her daughter with Sensory Processing Disorder and Dyspraxia. Follow her story since the beginning here.

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4 Tips to Live with Sensory Processing Disorder

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

“Okay Michele, we have a room on the 5th floor, so we can all get into the elevator now.  Our room is ready.” My husband John says these words. They are heard by our children who fly to the elevator, all excited to start our vacation.

What I hear is ELEVATOR!!!! 5TH FLOOR!!!!

What I feel is ANXIETY!!!!!

So I immediately try to find a way out of going on a packed elevator. Maybe I can walk the steps up … No, not a good idea, especially with suitcases.  Maybe I can sort of sit with the extra suitcases and then walk up once they are all out of the lobby … but soon there are no excuses and I find myself IN the elevator and truly feeling the anxiety and saying nothing to anyone.

TalkTools - SPD

Let’s face it: we all have that certain something that creates anxiety, that makes us wish we were somewhere else. But what about those who have that type of anxiety all the time? The ones who have that anxiety over a good portion of the day for reasons that to us may seem small but to them are huge.

Our daughter Elizabeth, as many know, has Sensory Processing Disorder or SPD.  So she feels this anxiety. Not everyday. Not all the time. But the anxiety is there in waiting and can show itself at any moment.

But how do we deal with it?

How do we make gains in life with it?

How do we create a life with and for Elizabeth?  Here is what I learned.

If you read the last line in my scenario above, you see the words “and saying nothing to anyone.”  Initially, this is how I chose to deal with some of the challenges of Elizabeth’s sensory issues.

  • I covered up for her.

  • I took her out of places quickly.

  • I avoided places with her.

But what I did NOT do was talk about her disorder.  I did not tell those around her why she was crying or having a meltdown.  I could have turned to those who cared about us, but instead I turned away from them to hide, and that is not a good thing.  It is very lonely, isolating and sad.

TalkTools - SPD

1. The first thing I would suggest is to TALK.  To those around you, friends, family.  Let them know what is going on and they will be able to help you and support you.  It feels so much better to reach out than being alone.

Something I know now and did not know then, was just how the SPD would affect Elizabeth.  It affects every child differently, so knowing what makes your child anxious/afraid or knowing what stimuli your child needs to remain calm is vital to life with your child.  With this information you can mentally analyze a situation for potential anxiety triggers, things that might cause a meltdown such a sounds, lights or even smells. Or plan sensory breaks to offer your child the stimulus they need at that moment.  Or just having a back-up plan for when things just do not go as planned.  Knowing how your child works will help others learn as well.

2. The second thing I would recommend is READ:

  • Articles on SPD

  • Personal stories from other families

  • Books on sensory issues

  • Even Facebook groups for families of children with SPD.

Being armed with knowledge helps more than you can know.

We are all made differently. We all have different likes and dislikes, talents and skills, but something that we all share is the desire to be accepted.  Be it by those in your peer group, those at a workplace, those in your family or just by society in general.  Being a child with SPD can set you apart from most people.  Being a family member of a child with SPD can also be a challenge. But you can help this.

3. I know from personal experience that Elizabeth was the only child I saw last Sunday who froze at the door to Office Depot.  She cannot enter that store without sweating and almost shaking as it is too bright and too vast for her SPD.

Were we set apart from others? Yes. But the thing is, we already knew that she probably would not enter (we still try) so we had a Plan B.  In other words we accept this part of Elizabeth as being just that … part of Elizabeth.  So we were ready and able to help her. The SPD is one part of the puzzle that makes up a pretty amazing girl.  Do we like it?  No, not really.  But do we accept it and her?  Absolutely!  And I know that having her know this makes all the difference.  She knows we will love her and support her no matter what.  Kind of nice, huh?

So I offer out ACCEPT as the third piece of advice.

Accept your child for who they are because they have so many more parts and pieces to them other than being affected by SPD.

Trust me, we are 18+ years in on our journey, so the advice I am giving is road tested.  It does not mean it is easy, as it is not.  But I will say it is worth it.

4. And lastly … LOVE

Love them for the strength they show each day, through feelings and emotions that could fell the strongest of people.  And tell them about this love.  Reassure them when they stumble and praise the heck out of them when they succeed.  Hug them when they allow and don’t when they can’t handle it.  But let them know, as we have each day of Elizabeth’s life, that they are a gift. And that your love will never change.

I wish you all peace in the month of April.

-Michele Gianetti

Michele writes for TalkTools Blog every month about her experience caring for Elizabeth, her daughter with Sensory Processing Disorder and Dyspraxia. Follow her story since the beginning here.

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