I feel like there are so many things I should be doing to help River at this most crucial time in his development, and yet I still haven't done them. It sounds like such a rubbish excuse, but it's so hard to find the time- River needs attention pretty much all the time, and when he's napping or asleep for the night there's the neverending housework, meals to cook, cake orders. I also need to put my feet up occasionally!
The things that I'm currently feeling guilty about:
- Sensory table. River has a sand & water table in the garden. I need to clean it all out, assemble indoors and fill it with dry rice & dry pasta. This is so I can hide River's toys in it & he can plunge his hands in it to retrieve the toys. After he's comfortable with that, I can replace the rice & pasta with something like wotsits, that leave a residue on your hands but aren't too messy or sticky. We can then build up to playdoh, sand & eventually paint & gloop. This is because River is tactile defensive, so he has a real aversion to different textures including any food that isn't dry. But the sand & water table is still in the garden. I need to get on & do this!
- Photo cards. I need to print photos of everyday objects- like his highchair, his favourite foods, his beaker, his shoes- & laminate them. I can then show him the corresponding photo card whenever I give him, for example, a drink. The idea is that he'll eventually learn to communicate his needs through exchanging the cards. I've found all the pictures, saved them on the laptop, bought a laminator...I just need to get on & print them!
- Books. I was lent a great book called, "The Out of Sync Child Has Fun" by our Portage worker. It has lots of games & activities for children with sensory issues. I've only read a couple of chapters. I have another book called "Playing, Laughing & Learning with Children on the Autism Spectrum." I've read less than half of it. I recently bought a book all about the Son-Rise autism programme, which has a CD-Rom with it too. I haven't opened the book or watched the CD-Rom. I also bought two e-books last week all about sensory processing issues, haven't read them. I really need to read these books!
- Websites. There are a couple of websites that friends have recommended, all about various techniques that may help ASD children. I haven't looked at them yet.
- Toy storage/organisation. River has an open toy storage unit. It has lots of different compartments, but the toys & books are all on display. It means they're easy to access, but I think it's overwhelming for River. A big jumble of shapes, colours, details. No wonder he doesn't play with any of it. The has no purposeful play. Whereas if all his toys were in tubs or something closed & out of sight, he'd be able to relax more & play with one thing at a time in the correct way. But I still haven't decided what/how. Must do this soon!
- Sensory retreat. I've been reading a lot about how children with ASD/sensory issues need a sensory retreat- somewhere they can easily go to when they need to block out the world, block out excess sensory stimulation etc. We've seen a blackout sensory tent that we like, but haven't bought it yet. River would benefit so much from one of these- he's constantly burying his head into my lap, into the corner of the sofa, trying to block everything out. But they're big, we don't have much room. We should just buy one though!
- Proprioceptive/vestibular stuff. In order to regulate River and stop him constantly running up & down & crashing into the sofa, he needs to do things like swing in a hammock chair, bounce on a toddler trampoline, have a pillow cave to jump on. These things cost money & most importantly take up a lot of room. But really, River's development is loads more important so I need to just buy them!
So that's it really. Lots of things I should have done but haven't yet. It's not that I'm not doing things- we've taught River to lead us to things he wants, we do all the things to encourage speech, we use deep pressure touch, we research daily on loads of things.
But it's never enough. Will it ever be enough? Maybe all mums in this position feel the same. Maybe I should give myself a break- or maybe I should give myself a kick up the bum and get on with all these things!!