Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Child Psychologist visit at our house

I spoke quite a bit with a child psychologist today. He interviewed me for about 45 minutes about what Andy can and cannot do. He asked me about the head banging behaviors, and face scratching that Andy does. He asked me about any health issues.

Andy loves swinging
The psychologist wanted to know what the physical therapist is doing with Andy, which for now is taking steps. He wanted to know what the occupational therapist is doing with Andy, which for now is hand-over-hand feeding and putting objects into containers. The psychologist suggested that we need to take a few steps back.

He says that Andy is operating at a 0-3 month level. However, I'd like to interject that he claps his hands and drinks water out of a straw cup, so there are some things he does that are in the nine month range. Nonetheless, Andy is still very infant-like. The psychologist suggested that because Andy is at such a low-level of infancy stage that we need to treat him more like a baby for now. He feels that he is nowhere near ready to feed himself or even put objects into containers, so that is why he isn't doing it. He'd like me to try to feed his sensory needs right now, which he feels will help with his meltdowns and frustrations.

He says I can do this by singing more to Andy in rhythmic ways. He says I should rock him more, swing him, and bounce him on my knee. He says I should swaddle him, and just try to get eye contact and smiling out of him. He says anything we would do to calm a 3-month old baby, and try to make a 3-month old baby happy. Shushing, and cuddling, and going for walks to calm him, and entertain him. This is what Andy needs right now, lots of sensory input. He also talked about compression and kind of laying him down to work his legs back and forth.

The psychologist felt that right now the most important thing to get out of Andy is eye contact and "shared attention" with each other. He says that if Andy can't pay attention, then learning will be extremely hindered. Suggestions for now are, bounce Andy on my knee and let him enjoy it,  then stop. When Andy looks at me and keeps eye contact, I can then count to three while still looking at him, and then start again. Whenever I stop, the hope is that Andy will look at me and use eye gaze to ask for more. Then I'm looking back at him and saying "okay, you want more? One... two.. three!", and we start bouncing again.

I did this just this evening and Andy loved it. He laughed so much with just me bouncing him on my knee. He really looked at me too when I stopped. It was like he was saying, "hey, let's continue this". He loved it so much, it made me feel bad that I hadn't been doing this before. All the motion is something that Andy doesn't usually get, because he can only drag himself around on the floor a small amount. This is supposed to feed his senses and help him to focus and cut down on the negative behaviors.

It makes sense to just try and get us sharing happy and fun moments together, instead of him just playing off on his own and not interacting with anyone. This is going to help build our bond, and give us moments of interaction. I am looking forward to playing out his suggestions. It was so helpful having him over to understand more of what Andy's needs and desires are, and how we can meet them.

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