The Texture Of Things

What I Wish I Knew

September 18th, 2006

I wish I knew if S. or the others in her office have begun to get close to a diagnosis for the tot. S. has taken video of one of our sessions and, naturally, a ton of notes about the tot’s early and sudden arrival (a story for another day), about her severe anemia (another story), about her early eating problems (geez, I have a lot of writing to do), family history, and so on. But she won’t be able to present the tot’s case to her colleagues until the October meeting, so I’m hanging in a limbo of sorts.

Two weeks ago, S. asked me if I had read Carol Stock Kranowitz’s The Out-of-Sync Child, and I told her I hadn’t yet but wanted to. She brought me a lender copy and its sidekick, The Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun, last Tuesday. They are both written to parents and teachers, detailing Sensory Integration Dysfunction, its symptoms, the importance of seeking therapy, therapies, etc. Over the last two days, I plowed through the first one. I read too fast, though I’ll try to write a post about what in it fits us and what doesn’t in the coming days. The second one I haven’t gotten to yet.

At the time of our conversation, I thought S. was sharing these books because there have lots of great sensory building activities. I got the impression that she had read these books just recently and thought they were an educational read, akin to me choosing to read a text about teaching poetry: I teach college composition, but it might be interesting to see how a different genre can be taught. Related, but not our area.

Then my mother said something to me last night that struck a chord, a loud, reverberating chord. Maybe S. gave us these books to prepare me to hear a diagnosis of Sensory Integration Dysfunction. I was a bit startled. Why hadn’t that occurred to me? Of course. And then I was relieved, honestly. That diagnosis is one I’ve anticipated and I have readied myself to hear it. Last night I finished the book with the flavor of this diagnosis in my head, and I went to bed thinking that in the other room I had a child on the threshold of a diagnosis, one we are effectively already treating with texture play and anxiety coping exercises.

Oh, what a full night of sleep will do! We all slept soundly last night, by coincidence alone, I’m sure. And then we woke up, Husband Guy went to work, the tot got up and fought me about breakfast, I made my exasperated plea to the caffeine gods that if I could have my coffee injected directly into my brain, I could totally deal with a whiny toddler or at least not care. In other words, all was right with the world.

Until S. called. She asked me about the book, and I went on and on and on about the things in the book I could see in myself and in the tot, especially the tot. I told her how the tot has recently begun carrying puff balls (soft little crafting pom poms that she likes to play with) in her hand and using her balled up fists or the backs of her hands to touch or manipulate things, “much like they described in the book,” I said.

And right about here is where S. backed up. “You saw that in the book?” She sounded like she was pretty sure I just confused a Stephen Colbert light saber fight for one that actually happened in a Star Wars movie. I related more from the section of the book that I believed it came from and as it was spilling from my mouth, I realized that probably my first impression of S.’s interest in sharing the book was right. S. isn’t laying groundwork to prepare me for an SI Dysfunction diagnosis. She later confirmed, in so many words, her reticence to diagnose it or anything, and that’s when I really wished I could get the coffee to my brain faster.

So for one night, one lovely night, I thought I finally knew what I’ve wanted to know for about a year: why won’t this kid feed herself? Why is she so fussy about wet things, spilled things, messy things?

It was a nice night. I’ll miss it.

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