Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tactile Issues

One of Kinnick's goals for this year is to "scribble" on a brailler. Since Kinnick is blind, she will read braille. Instead of writing, she will type on a brailler. This year she is just getting to know her brailler. She'll just type random letters and feel the braille that prints on the paper. So far, so good. She has accepted the brailler. I don't think it will take long to meet this goal. I'm pleasantly surprised. Kinnick has severe tactile issues, so the fact that she accepted the brailler so quickly is great!

Our new OT, SLP, and VI therapists have been working really hard to help Kinnick overcome some of her tactile issues. The tactile issues interfere with just about everything Kinnick does from eating to exploring new things.

Kinnick will gag and throw up if we try to introduce any new foods, smells, textures or tastes. So, we're trying another approach. The spoons in the picture above provide a texture without changing the texture of her food. It doesn't alter the taste or smell, either. The hope is that we can "desensitize" her mouth with the new textures. Hopefully, we can build on this later by adding textured foods. We haven't been able to get Kinnick off pureed foods due to her gagging and puking when trying to feed her textured foods. So far, she is accepting the new spoons. She gags after the first bite or two, but finishes her meal with the spoons.

Kinnick's new VI teacher did some student teaching at a Deaf/Blind school in Colorado. Tactile issues are very common in the Blind and Deaf/Blind world. At this school she learned a proven approach that introduces textures starting at the feet. Then, slowly working your way to the mouth. For some reason, our feet are much more accepting of new textures then our hands or mouths. Once the feet have accepted the texture, it doesn't seem to be as big of deal for the hands to accept the texture, and then once the hands have accepted the texture, it's not as big of a deal for the mouth to accept the texture. The video above shows Kinnick exploring a ball that she would never have touched before.

I'm really excited to see where all of the new approaches take us in the tactile world.


Jodi said...

That's amazing. I'm excited to hear about all that they will learn.

Sherri said...

WOW! Wow wow! I can NOT believe she is doing SO well! How exciting! I am enjoying "watching" her become more confident with these different textures. She is a VERY smart lil girl and is on her way to great things. We used to have both of those spoons too. Actually Gannon continued to use the smaller one til he was 4(we started them at 15 mo.) We also had those vibrating animal things that he would eventually touch...then put up to his lips...then he would bite down on it. That desensatizing stuff really works wonders :) You know Gannon still of course has major sensory issues and we use his "chewy" or the Grabber XT daily. For whatever reason he still needs that input. I need to come over and give you some books I have to see if you like any of them. Talk to you soon :)

Monkey and Bean said...

One would think with all of the OT's we have seen that someone would have mentioned starting with the feet to me. But no! Thanks for sharing that! I am excited to try it out with my daughter.