“I love AJ…”

This has been an all-around great week. Parker had a dentist appointment on Tuesday, and tolerated a cleaning and bite-wing x-rays with minimal fuss. He received a great report from the dentist: no cavities! A lot of kids on the spectrum, or even with just sensory processing disorder (SPD) are intolerant of the routine brushing and flossing necessary for good oral health. While a lot of kids Parker’s age are beginning to brush their own teeth with minimal supervision, we still brush Parker’s teeth and floss them for him. He’s offered the opportunity to do it first himself, but he defers to us, mostly because I think it’s difficult for him to subject himself to the discomfort. He’s very orally averse, and has a sensitive gag reflex. One way to help a child with oral sensitivities is to always brush the teeth the EXACT same way every single time. For Parker, that’s upper left, middle, right, followed  by lower left, middle, right. Knowing what to expect decreases anxiety significantly. We also use a low-foam toothpaste called Carifree, which comes in grape flavor.

Parker also had a fantastic OT session with Miss Leah on Tuesday, where she excitedly reported, “This is his best session EVER!” They played a “binary numbers” snapping game that was very motivating for Parker.

Today Parker saw Miss Teresa, and midway through their session, she stopped to tell me how well he was doing. She said, “I don’t know what you have going on with him, but keep it up!” Teresa was also excited that he was more engaged with AJ, the facility therapy dog than he’s ever been, and wanted to swing with him on the platform swing.

Swinging with AJ and Miss Teresa during the clinic portion of his PT session
Giving AJ a hug

Parker also got to ride Mikey, a white horse, who happens to be Hadley’s favorite of the herd. We were outside watching the horses file into the arena and she said, “Aw, he’s cute. Hi, Mikey!”

Parker on Mikey for the on-horse half of his PT session

And if that’s not enough for one week, Parker rocked feeding therapy today with Miss Shellie! He ate veggie straws and pretzels (two “safe foods” he’d dropped), goldfish crackers (a food he will only eat at school), and three bites of apple. He also licked carrots five times. Shellie is working closely with our developmental therapist, Miss Jen, to overcome Parker’s reluctance to initiate eating. Once he gets going,  the session moves along pretty quickly, but today, for example, it took him eight minutes to eat 5 pretzel sticks. He’s not going to have an hour to eat his lunch at school, so the goal is to get him initiating his meal in a more timely manner, in addition to adding more to his list of accepted foods.

The countdown to kindergarten is on! Weeks like this give me hope that Parker will have the tools he needs to navigate the transition with success.

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