You already know my take on preschool, but part of why I'm so PO'ed about this most recent bout of illness is that she can't go, and so goes straight from pitiful lump to bored cooped-up kiddo. I'm downright quaking in my boots at the fact that her last day before break is the 10th -- she's not going today (better, marginally, but still in bad shape), and I'm very, very fixated on getting her well enough to go on Friday before the wasteland of three weeks without.
Some cooped-up-kid remedies (and that's what we call this mood):
- Blow up some balloons, play soccer, toss 'em, whap 'em back and forth, etc. If you have a room without too delicate of delicates, balloons usually are harmless enough
- Mall play area (they all seem to have one these days, for some reason marginally less germ-factory-ish than Children's Museum -- totally know what you mean about that.)
- Getting waterproof (mom, anyway), and going out to slosh in the rain and mud (if health isn't an issue anyway).
- Play indoor chase (depends on layout of house somewhat)
- Dance party (you've talked about doing this one, I think.) Helps if he has a favorite CD/ video. Put it on (I prefer videos so I can see what's going on -- Wiggles are OK for this, though I've finally gotten sick of them) and dance up a storm.
This is what sozlet has (NO, it's not a picture of her)
Imaginarium Nursery Trampoline
(Out of stock right now :-/)
I bought the Jump-o-lene when she was 2 or so, liked the safety walls, but it sprung a leak really quickly:
The reviews for the trampoline I got (which I'm REALLY happy with) indicated that a regular grown-up trampoline like this might be a better idea, but they're much more expensive, and also lack safety features like the padded handle bar:
(After reading the reviews for that one thinking of getting one for myself! Mother-and-daughter bouncing. Hmm.)
Last, about the hug therapy, it's not so much hug like snuggle but hug like swaddle.
When Grandin was eighteen years old she was inspired by a cattle squeeze chute to develop her own pressure relief for autistic people called the "hug machine." She actually got in the cattle chute to help her visually and physically observe how she could better configure this chute for both animals and humans. She said within five seconds of being in the squeeze she felt a wave of relaxation and thirty minutes later when she got out of it she had felt all her anxieties disappear and felt a calmness she had never experienced before. After years of adjustments, Grandin had finally successfully completed the "hug box" to how she anticipated it being. This box created a deep pressure stimulation evenly across the lateral parts of the body and was able to increase or decrease the amounts of pressure the individual desired (Edelson, 1996). Grandin's hug box is now widely used as a therapy method to help an autistic child's sensory problems. Research has been done on her squeeze machine and significant results have been shown that children who use it for at least five minutes a day were significantly calmer and could produce better motor responses than those children who did not use the squeeze machine (Grandin, Thinking In Pictures).
I have read articles in which holding therapy is spoken of in the same breath as Temple Grandin's squeeze machine. To me this seems baffling. The whole point of the squeeze machine is that it allows a person with autism to explore touch and deep pressure in a way which is completely under their control. Grandin writes:
Being able to control the devise is very important. I had to be able to stop the stimulation when it became too intense. When people hugged me, I stiffened and pulled away to avoid the all-engulfing tidal wave of stimulation . . . Lately there has been a lot of publicity about holding therapy, where an autistic child is forcibly held and hugged until he stops resisting. If this had been done to me, I would have found it highly aversive and stressful.