If your child is constantly getting in trouble or has regular out-of-blue outbursts it may be something more serious than just a child acting out.
Nancy Naeve Brown has more on a 2nd grader from Ipswich whose sensory reflexes didn't develop as they should have and how an Avera St. Luke's Occupational Therapist has helped change his and his parent's life.
7 year old Zach Geditz (ga-deetz) from Ipswich has been working with Occupational Therapist Jenn Gustafson at Avera St. Luke's in Aberdeen for about months to integrate reflexes we are all born with but are supposed to disappear by the time we're one. Zach's didn't and that's led to a lot of concentration and motor skill development issues.
"I just couldn't concentrate because everybody was doing other things I was concentrating on them and not my homework," Zach said.
"When kids are hang on to these reflexes I tell parents it takes up valuable real estate in the brainstem. It delays impulse control and long term concentration," OT Jenn Gustafson said.
His mom Rhonda says he's had outbursts and behavioral issues since the terrible two's, but it became terribly evident to her he needed help once he started school.
"He's always been a really strong student in math, but reading comprehension and his ability to stay focused in class was bad. His teacher noticed he was hiding a lot of work. I didn't want him to be shoved under the rug. I went to a child psychiatrist, pediatrician and then I found Jenn, "Rhonda said.
"They fight to maintain control moving their eyes from chalk board to their paper and back and all of that competes with their reflexes and if we can get those reflexes out of the way, so to speak, it opens a whole new door and clears the way for a whole new learning,"Jenn said.
Besides physical exercises that work hand/eye coordination and different motor skills, Zach also uses this interactive metronome. Avera St. Luke's was the first in the state to implement the computer based program that helps the part of the brain that controls rhythm, timing and focus.
"He wears a trigger on his hand or foot and he tries to match with the metronome sounds. It helps to refocus attention and helps to increase duration of attention and concentration spans. It also helps a divided attention in that he has to attend to the sound as well as the other 5 sounds that hell him how closely he is to matching the original sound, "Jenn said.
"In school his reading grades have gone up. Everything, math grades and now he is a straight A student. A year ago I honestly couldn't say that. It's really turned around emotionally, everything he's grown so much in the last 6 months. It's made a huge difference in the house too," Zach's mom said.
A night and day difference without the use of prescription drugs day in and day out.
Zach is down to working with this occupational therapist twice a month now and does therapy daily at home. Avera St. Luke's does offer free screenings if you think your child suffers from Sensory Integration Issues to schedule an appointment cal 605-622-5556.