Email from a Parent: As we begin our new HANDLE Program

Hi Valerie,  Hi Catherine,

First of all, it was such a pleasure to meet both of you. Our first HANDLE experience was so moving and memorable. I have no doubt that we’ve found something that will help “my son” immensely. (And “my son” can’t stop talking about it – so it definitely had an impact!)

We’ve been very good about keeping up with our activities (gently, of course) since we saw you and are already seeing some very subtle things in “my son”. The expression on his face – especially when he smiles – seems a little more natural and relaxed – even our therapists have noticed this. And his body doesn’t seem so “itchy” all the time. He’s spent very little time rubbing and rolling on the floor/furniture lately, which is very encouraging for us. And he really seems to enjoy the activities – no problem at all getting him to do any of them. And I really can’t believe the improvement in his blowing abilities/strength after just a few days of the blow soccer. The only “down side” (for lack of a better way of putting it) is that he seems a lot more inside himself and exclusive the last few days – seems to want to spend a lot more time by himself in his room, hasn’t been his usual excited self when the therapists come over, etc. We’re not really looking at this as a “bad” thing – I’m sure his body must feel different to him and maybe he just needs some quiet adjustment time – but just wanted to check in and see if this is something to be expected.

Have a great weekend!

 VALERIE’S REPLY:

 And we so enjoyed meeting your family, a treat for us.  This is so amazing, what an incredible fellow you have.

 I agree that I believe this is exactly what it is about, adjusting to a whole new world.  Just as any adventure, it can be exciting, exhausting, and sometimes scary too.   Keep your eye on it, and let me know how things change.  

 Your son may want to do some of the activities spontaneously himself.  If you have the opportunity, and its not “rehearsed” but a spontaneous and relaxed opportunity, you may chat a bit while doing a couple activities and say something like “Jiggle Bridge (as you are doing it), I have noticed Seymour that your face looks more relaxed when I do this, and it makes me think that your body and your brain feels relaxed.  Sometimes when I want to feel relaxed, I do Jiggle Bridge on myself, like this (and do it on you…. Just as if it were a part of the sentence).  Your son is a clever boy, and helping him label and model self advocacy and self awareness may be helpful – just imaging it on him or on you is helpful, as he is employing mental rehearsal.  

 Just as a side note…

I am super sensitive about labeling someone else’s feelings – so I would suggest not saying “oh I see Jiggle Bridge makes you feel good”, as you lose credibility if you don’t quite hit the emotion on the nail, and really it is his work to figure out what life feels like for him, with your guidance.  However, saying…. I notice (this observation), and it makes me wonder if it (relaxes, comforts, tickles etc…???.) is a nice model to use (observation and offering one or more labels). 

I used this model often, including within my school as I tried to build self awareness and self advocacy.  For example:…. “hmmm, I see your face is red and your voice is loud…. I wonder what that could be about?…..  maybe (offer an action, like a hug, cuddling up on this seat, stomping feet…. Etc)  for a few minutes until your feel like you want to talk about it may be helpful.  Let me know what you need from me to be helpful to you, I’ll be right here.    

I’m using this example, and pointing this out, as one of my goals for your son is to open up and organize more sensory feelings, and it an ideal time to help him label and understand on a deeper level – so he can access himself more and more.  This may even be helpful for us to keep in mind in the event his “quiet time” needs some of our intervention and support.  

Advertisements
Explore posts in the same categories: Uncategorized

%d bloggers like this: