If you’re new to this blog in the last day or two, you might want to start with the first installment of this 3-part series of posts. I started with The Media Dilemma, then followed that with media in the home being a Work in Progress for us.
I ended the last media-related post mentioning that Hubs and I had an eye-opening, or rather brain-opening evening hearing from Kim John Payne. I have not read Simplicity Parenting…yet. However, I have spent several years around a few parents who have either read the book or others like it and who are far more “unplugged” than even we are at this stage. The children from these families do not see screens in the home, at all. No computer access, no TV access, no phones or tablets for them to play on.
None of that really had a huge impact on me because parenting is a lot of “to each his own” unless you plan to “follow” a friend’s lead on every single decision. I admired them for their tenacity in keeping up the commitment, but that was about it.
Once I became more aware of what Sensory Processing Disorder really is and how my child struggles with it at some level is when I felt I should begin to think about that type of “home life” a little more seriously. I certainly could argue that screens, most especially the television screen, should be limited to young children if for no other reason than the commercials and the content of the various shows. Most of my mom-friends were in agreement about which cartoons were off-limits, for example.
I’m sure this topic has been around since the term “media” became a part of any culture’s vocabulary. Whether you are single or married, have children or not, work outside the home or stay home, own a house or rent an abode, media and screens are a part of your life and decisions are made about them on an every day, if not an hourly, basis.
I’m also very aware that there hundreds of thousands of opinions, factually-based or otherwise, on what is deemed “healthy” or not, whether you’re talking about children under the age of 5, people of all ages, length of time screens should be viewed, noise level, screen flashes, content, level of interaction, and the list goes on and on and on.
I distinctly remember the first night we had D home from the hospital. There he was, all snug in his blanket like a little burrito, eyes wide open as he was taking everything in, and our humongous TV was on. My only “plan” I had at that stage of mommy-hood was that I was going to do everything in my power to keep him from viewing the TV screen until the age of 2, as recommended by D’s pediatrician and the AAP. No problem, I thought. I can totally do that.
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.
Many are the plans in a man’s heart,
but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.
I haven’t had to deal too much with insurance in the past. Yes, I’ve had 2 children, but overall it was a relatively simple process with some minor headaches. Anytime I would hear someone complain about what a pain insurance was, I just couldn’t empathize too much because that had not been my own experience.
When we saw a specialist in May regarding D’s sensory processing issues, it was all completely out of pocket. It was a hefty sum, but we’re thankful God provided the funds.
At the end of May I met with the local school district special needs team. Together we all decided it would be best to have D assessed for areas that the school district might be able to offer services to him while in the classroom. (Read: FREE THERAPY).
D’s assessment is August 18th, but during our meeting in May, I was encouraged to get a second opinion, especially since we were considering therapy over the summer that would be more out-of-pocket money spent, not therapy covered through insurance. Both Hubs and I thought that was a wise move, so I made the appropriate calls and we waited.
This past week was one of great anticipation mixed with a good dose of anxiety followed by a sweet reminder of God’s provision in all circumstances.
Our oldest boy, D, has always been a bit of a…um…”challenge” to us, his parents. Loads of love for the little guy – don’t get me wrong! But there have been countless days, nights and everything in between that have brought us to great levels of frustration, anxiety and fears that we simply do not know how to be effective parents in regards to discipline, and a continual, nagging feeling that something was just “off” in D.
On Tuesday we headed up to a little town called Colfax where D was observed by a pediatrician who specializes in sensory processing disorders. For approximately 5 hours she “tested” D through various games, watched him during play, watched him during times of reading and gave Hubbs and I feedback throughout the day.