This week we took a step closer to what is lovingly referred to as the “sweet spot” in this parenting adventure. Allow me to explain…
The “sweet spot” is when parents feel that their children are at that stage of life where mommy and daddy are not needed as much.
They’ve mastered the independence of dressing themselves – mommy isn’t needed to say “arms up” as we pull off shirts, or “peek a boo” as we are putting them on.
Using the bathroom doesn’t require as much assistance (thank goodness).
Washing is done in showers, compared to tubbies with toys.
Reading and writing is more second nature, and they’ve become mini fish in the pool, over sinking rocks.
While Clara and Gabe are well into their independence phases of life, you still require a fair amount of assistance in just about all these things. BUT we have seen some notable progress! Or baby steps at least.
Recently you’ve learned to put your socks on all by yourself! Yay! This requires A LOT of patience (on everyone’s part) and a decent amount of time, but hey, you’re doing it and this has been super challenging to you for some time now.
Putting on socks requires a ton of fine motor skills. Most kids (but not all) with Autism tend to struggle with motor skills in general, especially fine motor skills.
I’ve learned over time there’s a lot that goes into this (what I thought was a relatively straightforward) process. The need for arch development, opposition of the thumb (or the location of the thumb opposite to the fingers so the hand can grasp objects), hand strength, bilateral coordination, and wrist extension are all crucial to successfully completing this task. Yes, all this just to put on socks!
As if putting socks on didn’t sound challenging enough it’s not done there…
Pulling socks off requires a pinch grip, strength in the hands, and once again that bilateral coordination.
The only thought I currently give to kids putting on socks is:
Step 1: Get your socks
Step 2: Put them on quickly because mom has already asked you 3x’s to get them on and she’s walking out the door! (It’s true, the kiddos in this family tend to move in sloth mode whenever it’s time to go somewhere. Gotta love flip flops.)
I can honestly tell you I never thought I’d need to know the term bilateral coordination, let alone its definition. You see Addie, we use bilateral coordination everyday… holding the paper when you’re writing, steadying the bowl when mixing batter, and well… putting on my socks! It’s the ability to use both sides of the body in an organized and controlled manner. When I was in school holding a piece of paper in one hand and cutting it using scissors in the other, I don’t recall a teacher ever saying“use your bilateral coordination”… but that is what we were doing!
Bilateral coordination is in relation with our proprioceptive senses – or our bodies ability to sense where it is in relation to our environment. Anytime you are using your muscles and joints…climbing, running, jumping your proprioceptive system is giving you a big thumbs up!
When our proprioception is functioning effectively, our bodies automatically adjust to simple tasks like sitting in a chair, or walking down stairs. It also allows us to manipulate objects using fine motor movements like using a spoon or fork to eat or tying your shoes.
With your sensory processing disorder (SPD) you’re constantly sensory seeking to provide your under responsive proprioceptive system the input you need to feel well balanced and regulated.
You see Addie, we are super proud of your progress because if you don’t have a good sense of where your body and body parts’ are in space, you will have a fair amount of difficulty coordinating both sides of your body to complete bilateral tasks. When for example… putting on socks!
We may not be in the “sweet spot” of parenting just yet, but we’re seeing some pretty great progress of you taking steps toward it!
Keep working hard baby girl! You’re doing great!