Tuesday, December 11, 2007

On Sensing a Pattern in Her Sensory Issues

LMNOB has a great vocabulary. She's a great reader and she's very creative in making her own stories/songs/poems up.

The girl is smart.

And, at home, she is a talker. Between her verbose tendancies, Punkinhead's desperate atttempts to get some of the attention on HIM, and my yakity-yak Charlie Brown, we are all usually talking at the same time, attending to multi-layered conversations.

All the noise drives me bonkers.

But, I'm putting all this out there because despite her definite ability for communication, BT the OT and I have noticed something about LMNOB's communication that is fairly consistent.

While LMNOB is a great one-way communicator when it comes to things "off the top of her head," she struggles to interact in sociable, two-way communication. Especially when things are asked of her, requiring a concerted effort to provide a relevant answer to what has just been questioned. Similarly, she has always struggled to ask questions that are of an assertive nature - like, "What's your name?" and other questions that require a response. This decreased ability in "confrontational speech" is exacerbated when the other party is not familiar to LMNOB.

Complicating this pattern, is that it is somewhat inconsistant. I.e., in the classroom, when a question is raised about a concept, she participates - but I'm not sure if that is different because the question is to everyone?

Last Monday, I got a call from Ms. M, LMNOB's teacher, after school.

As the call began like this, "Uhm, hi, Heather. I just wanted to let you know that there was an incident with LMNOB at school today," my heart sank into my gut.

Apparently, some kids had gone to the teacher on playground duty and said, "LMNOB kicked us!" but since the teacher had not actually seen it, she went to go ask LMNOB for her side of the story.

Said teacher was a kindergarten teacher that LMNOB did not know. So she ran from her. Then refused to talk, when questioned. Because what LMNOB did fell into "defiant and uncooperative" behavior, the teacher wrote LMNOB a pink slip. When Ms. M took LMNOB out of the room to try and determine what had happened, LMNOB remained non-responsive.

Ms. M continued, saying how this was so unlike the people pleasing LMNOB that she knew, and that she wasn't sure if she should automatically chalk it up to her issues, as occasionally all kids have behavior.

I asked Ms. M if LMNOB just blanked out at her and seemed to be in another world.


My heart sank further. This confrontational communication is going to be the worry that nails my coffin shut.

I envision a high speed chase in LMNOB's future, which would have been totally avoidable if only she had stopped as a police officer tried to tell her her taillight was out.

Ok that's a bit melodramatic, but really...it's the same concept as the time she stood out in the cold for 30 minutes at the daycare lady's home. It's this inability to assert herself, in action or in words that has me really concerned for her growing up process.

At home, when I innocently asked to see LMNOB's homework that night, she was up front and told me that she had gotten a pink slip. Not like that time last year.

When I asked her what happened, she got embarrassed and teared up. "Mommy it was just so hard to talk - like my brain is broken!"

I told her not to worry, that she was with me and we talked. Apparently, she and her neighbor-girl friend had tried to play soccer with some boys. The boys took offense at merging the genders and told them no way and to go away. LMNOB didn't respond. She said, "I just stayed there, b/c my words weren't coming, but Mommy we could too play!" So, she reported, the boys said they were going to tell on her for something she didn't do so the teacher would take her out of the soccer game. Then they did it when she still didn't respond.

By then she was very upset and crying.

"Mommy, even if I said they were lying, the teacher wouldn't believe me b/c they lied first and I would look like a liar!"

I told her I understood why she had thought that, but that the teacher had not seen anything, and just wanted to get everybody's side before doing anything. I then asked her if she realized if she knew that by running away and not talking it made her look like she had done something?

She nodded. "And that's why no one would EVER believe me! And it's just so hard to talk when no one believes me."

I believed her. My girl may have some issues, but she's not a sociopath who can lie expertly at this age - no, her lies come with fantastic explanations and little emotion, clear indicators she's only trying to avoid punishment.

So I had her do some "scenario sentences," (I will not...when...) and then write a letter to the teacher whom she'd run run from.

And when we talked to Ms. M and showed her the papers the next morning, Ms. M said immediately, "Honey, that makes much more sense to me - because that is who you are, not some kiddo who kicks when she's mad! Wanna go take these to Ms. Other Teacher with me? And LMNOB, do you realize that by excluding you, those boys were breaking a PRIDE* rule?"


"Do you know which one?"

In a teensy voice, "Everyone belongs."

*P- Positive Attitude
R- Respect myself and others
I- Independent thinking
D- Do my best
E- Everyone Belongs


  1. I know I sound like a broken record, but she's lucky to have you.

  2. Princess...

    You do...but I'm lucky to have you, balancing out the also broken record of doubt that likes to play in my mind.

    Thank you...

    your support means a lot

  3. I stumbled upon your blog tonight, and I could have easily posted something similar. My son was first diagnosed with Sensory Integration Disorder, and then eventually Autism. From what you wrote, it sounds like you're doing a great job working with your daughter.