Learning to Live with Sensory Processing Disorder Successfully

I’ve spent thousands of dollars on Occupational therapy for my son who has had Sensory Processing Disorder and ADHD. I believe in Occupational Therapy and who knows where we’d be if we didn’t have the OT. But I’ve found how to integrate it into our life, and save us some money.

My son loved OT and I know the many benefits that he received from it. But it didn’t come without a struggle. Each session was $60 per half hour, or $120 an hour. I loved seeing him thrash around in the mats, swinging on the swings or spinning, running and jumping. I knew that he was getting mental benefits as well as physical and we continued the work at home by doing jumping on the trampoline, wheel barrels and crab crawls. But the money I was spending without being reimbursed started to cut into other things I wanted to do for my son. For instance, I wanted to get him allergy testing, but that $1300 for the test was something I’d have to save for, so we cut out OT.

I’ve made hundreds of little changes in our lifestyle over the past year and a half since I became somewhat educated about my child’s needs. It truly has been a series of trying something and seeing if it worked, and trying another to see if that worked. Some days, it seems we have moved forward several steps, but then we can take several steps backwards in one day, or one giant, dramatic episode.

Here are a few things I’ve learned about my son. I need complete structure in the house and with his routine. He gets up at a certain time, eats, bathes and does story time every day and every night. We have to plan far in advance to do something out of the ordinary, and the whole house has to be set up to accommodate that. That means, if we have cub scouts or basketball practice, then the house has to be clean before he gets home and I will focus 100% of my time on him before he goes. If we have a play date, the date wraps up at exactly 5PM so I can get home and get dinner on the table by 6:15 and have him in the tub by 7PM. His bedtime is strictly 8:30 and there is no negotiating.

I’ve learned that I have to spend more time with him in the afternoon. I get all of my work and chores done during the day around my work, so when he gets home, I play with him and part of that play is his OT. He jumps on the trampoline, we box, wrestle, go hunting for treasures in the yard or go for a walk. The afternoon routine always consists of homework and exercise.

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