Thursday, June 7, 2012

End of the Year Madness

The past few weeks I've had so many of my clients' parents approach me with concern over the fact that  their child has recently been regressing.  A ton of the children I work with have sensory needs and so I repeat the same lines over and over again.

"I know it's scary and the worst feeling when your child regresses.  However, we see this all the time at the end of the school year (and also before big holidays).  All routine is being thrown out the window.  Your child craves and NEEDS routine to feel safe and secure and to be able to learn.  He (or she) is already ready to jump into fight or flight mode at any second because they can't filter out and make sense of all of the stimuli in their life.  Now, on top of that,  we're taking all routine away from them as field trips are planned, extra assemblies are given, and curriculum slows down.    I know it sucks (that's my professional language) but it'll get better again soon."

I'm so damn smart when it comes to other people's kids.

However, the past week Corbin has been driving me up the wall.  He's unable to play family games because the second he thinks he won't win he has a complete screaming fit and then hides and won't talk to anyone for half an hour.  He is just pushing the limits with everything and flipping out at the drop of a hat.

What Corbin has been looking like lately.
And I just keep freaking out, thinking that he is turning into a brat!

All of a sudden, as I was waiting Corbin out after a meltdown that had him hiding under a pile of blankets in the livingroom, it just hit me.  My child is regressing.  It's the end-of-the-school-year regression.  Be firm, be consistent, and he'll come out of it.  It's not the end of the world.

Sometimes I forget Corbin has the needs he does because I'm so ultra-focused on Brian, whose needs are so much more evident.  Yet Corbin has had sensory-processing difficulties his entire life as well as anxiety (and unintegrated reflexes and facial agnosia and speech delays and phonological awareness difficulties and auditory processing deficits and on and on).  Any child that would come into my practice with those same needs would be having regressions right now and I would expect it.

It's so hard to wear the occupational therapy hat at the same time as the Mama hat.

However, I'll go to bed happily tonight knowing that my child is not a brat and that given some love, patience, and consistency he'll soon return to his charming, know-it-all, silly, loving self.