At first I thought I hadn’t heard him right. It was nearly 11:00 at night. My brain was on overload anyways from all the activities of the week, the challenges, the headaches I had been battling every morning.
Hubs explained it again.
D was on the swing like usual, on his tummy, dragging his feet. Hubs asked him if he wanted to sit on his bottom and try swinging sitting up.
Then he did it.
D sat on the swing then began swinging, even allowing Hubs to push him several times. Without touching his feet to the ground. On a regular swing, no handle bars, no special seat. A real, genuine swing. And he seemed to enjoy it!
My first thought was: I can’t believe I wasn’t there for that!!
My second thought was: Whoa – that’s a little freaky.
Let me back up a bit.
Back in May of this year, we started down a path of trying to determine what makes D “tick”, as some of his behaviors over the years have been described to us as “autistic-like” or “unusual” by those far more experienced with child development than Hubs and I.
Once we began to understand that sensory processing disorder / sensory integration challenges seemed to “fit” his behaviors best at this stage, we tried to get therapies covered under insurance. That is still in process and will be, most likely, for at least another year.
One of the therapies suggested by D’s pediatrician in Colfax was something she called biodynamic non-manipulative osteopathic cranial therapy. I have a friend who’s child has had this form of therapy well over 10 different times in the last 2 years or so and my friend swears by it in terms of how it has “adjusted” her child’s behaviors and temperament.
I was a little, um, skeptical about the whole thing as it all seemed a bit “abstract” to me. Kind of like acupuncture – all you see are little sticks in someone’s skin and supposedly there’s a lot going on beneath the surface. To me that’s the best way to describe osteopathic therapy. It’s not massage. It’s not manipulation like chiropractic.
It’s touch. Supposedly touch that is affecting the nervous system. Inside the body.
Like I said…abstract. Difficult to wrap my brain around kind-of-thing.
While all of these thoughts were continually swirling around my head over the summer, I knew that eventually I would be willing to give it a go, to test the theory that D has “blocked pathways” in his brain that are possibly keeping his development at a “stunted” level.
That first test was this past Wednesday.
Thankfully the doctor met D in the same office in Colfax that we saw his sensory pediatrician at, so the environment was familiar to him and one that he enjoys being in. Lots of open-ended toys to let the imagination take off!
The doctor and I chatted for a bit about his latest assessments through the school district, what my reasons were for wanting him to have cranial therapy, and then she tried to describe what it is she does and how it affects the body.
It was a “different” experience, but one that I’m glad we decided to try out. While D didn’t like the therapy session, I learned more about him and how his body functions, which is valuable information for Hubs and I!
The doctor said it would take 3 to 4 days before any “changes” could be seen, if there were any to be seen after the first session. She couldn’t define what that would look like, of course, so Hubs and I just took it at face value and hoped for the best, knowing that 2 or 3 more sessions could result in bigger changes for him.
D “swinging” at 1 years old
On Friday, D voluntarily took to that swing at the park, just 2 days after his cranial therapy session. D has rarely enjoyed a swing. We have a few pictures of him with a smile on his face as a grandparent was pushing him on a swing as a very young toddler, but most of the time there was fear, anger, anxiety, tensing up, and avoidance altogether of swings unless he could be on his stomach.
I have no idea if the swinging on Wednesday was an anomaly or if the therapy actually did get him “in touch” with his nervous system even just a little bit to actually enjoy sitting in a swing with his feet off the ground.
Only time will tell.
For now, I can’t wait to see what happens at the park at our next visit and I continue to be hopeful that D will grow and blossom into the fullness of who God made him to be.