Tactile What? Wordy Wednesday

“Geez Wednesday again already! Has life speeded up?”
”And a jolly good morning to you too. No smarmy comments now?
“Smarmy? When will you ever learn to speak American?'
“I'm working on it. I just expect a hard time from you.”
“Hard time? That sounds vaguely rude.”
“Quash the rude antennae, I just slipped into foreign for a moment.”
“O.k. so down to business then. What do we have here? Don't say I have to guess or I may just have to smack you.”
“Perish the thought! So you don't think it's self explanatory?”
“Your Wordless Wednesday posts are never that!”
“Well he's playing with those winkum dinkum magnet thingummy do dahs.”
“Yup see those and your point is?”
“Well he's playing. Or rather he was at the time. He was about four. It was a great breakthrough.”
“You've lost me.”
“Well 'play' can be a tricky thing. Especially if your fine motor skills are poor.”
“I'm not convinced that you know what 'fine motor skills' really are?”
“I do, sort of. The ability to make your fingers do what you want them to do, or toes for that matter.”
“Geez. Do I really wanna know what your toes can do?'
“No, you probably don't but it's the principal. Control over those extraneous bits and pieces.”
“My fingers aren't extraneous.”
“Yours maybe not, but for lots of people, especially those with tactile defensiveness, fingers are difficult to control.”
“O.k. so you're saying two things really, non functioning fingers and tacile…..?”
“Just think texture, how things feel, although it can also be affected by temperature.”
“Temperature too? This is getting awfully complicated. I didn't come here for a lecture you know?”
“True. Try it this way. Say that being the experienced woman of the world that you are, you reach out to touch an ice cube and the sensation you feel is heat.”
“Er o.k. so you're saying that……he doesn't feel what we all feel?”
“In part, it's more that whatever it is that he does feel, he feels in ten times more intensely than we do, either too many nerve ending or maybe more sensitive. Haven’t you ever touched something so hot or so cold you weren’t sure exactly what you were feeling?”
“Actually I have! That would be confusing, quite scary in some ways.”
“There you go! You've hit the nail on the head again. You get so that you don't trust your fingers, you want to protect them.”
“So that's like the kids that wrap themselves up in a coat all day.”
“Could be for some of them but there could be a lot of other sensory reasons too. Don't want to jump to conclusions.”
“So his fingers are being brave touching those magnet things?'
“Yes, and they're great because they snap into position. You don't have to be able to manipulate them that accurately.”
“So all good stuff then?'
“You have high expectations?”
“Well you know, years ago I used to say that I hoped that my children would be healthy, happy and normal.”
“Pretty low expectation then. Well I kinda knew you were a pessimist.”
“True but in todays world, I thought that those goals were pretty high expectations.”
“You've changed your view?”
“A little bit.”
“How so?”
'Just one bit. 'Normal' is very overrated.”
“Oh and one last thing?”
“Why does the photo have ‘left hand helps right hand’ on it?”
“Ah well I didn’t want to complicate the matter with midlines.”
“Midlines? What on earth are midlines. I don’t have any of those.”
“You do! Everyone does. I’ll leave that for another time or you can check out “Slice and Dice” if you’re feeling brave?”
“Til next week then?”
“Cheers dearies.”

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Slice and Dice

Some autistic children have problems with co-ordination. This brief post is my idiots guide to 'mid-lines.' There are many scholarly articles available and an OT can give you a much better explanation. For the rest of us, where speed reading the relevant chapter is the only way to survive, this is my synopsis.
Take one child.

Place in a standing position under a guillotine and slice him down the middle so that you have a front slice and a back slice. The front slice doesn't talk to the back slice, there is a communication problem, most likely bad wiring.

Duct tape the child back together, return to the spot under the guillotine and turn him [it's probably a him] 90 degrees and slice again. Now you have a right side and a left side with the same faulty wiring problem.

Last time. Lie child on the ground, on something soft and slice him in half so that you have a top and a bottom. Same problem.

All these sectional pieces of child fail to communicate effectively with the other bits. Some or all of the pieces may be effected, because autism is a spectrum disorder. Is this your child, or you, come to think of it?

Test the theory.
Take the child's favourite food. Place child in front of table with the favourite food in sight. If your child is right handed, place the food on the left. If the child reaches for the food with the left hand, [remember he's right handed] this MAY mean that he doesn't want to cross his mid-line, the right / left one. This in turn MAY mean that you might want to investigate a little further.

If you are female and wear a garment for your female appendages, does it do up at the back? If you buy one's that do up at the front, maybe you have a front/back mid-line issue? Maybe you have short arms or fine motor troubles or arthritis?

If you always put your shoes on without the use of your hands, prefer slip ons and avoid shoe laces and the like, maybe you have a top/bottom midline hic-cup, or lack flexibility, or have some deplorable foot fettish that we really don't want to know about?

With a bit of luck, this mid-line business is completely irrelevant to you and yours. If on the other hand, you're starting to get a bit worried, furrowed brow, brain working overtime trawling through your child's life for 'evidence,' cease forthwith!

Firstly, you need to check it out with a professional and save valuable worrying time for other things.

Secondly, if there is an issue, like most things with autism, it isn't fatal. You may not be able to 'cure' it, perish the thought, but there are lots of things that you can do to help reduce it. Being aware of the condition means that you are in a position to help. If your child remains in a diced condition up to and including adulthood, it isn't the end of the world.

Lastly, I have one crumb of additional useless advice to offer. When you try and think of a visual or verbal prompt to assist your child, try and avoid ‘left hand helps right hand!’ uttered in a cheery tone, as I can tell you that after three and a half years of saying it, I wish I’d come up with something better.

Any offers?

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