Seeing Finn this last Thursday and comparing his behavior to that at the beginning of therapy last year was like looking at two different boys. He used to be so hesitant to climb on anything not bolted down. He didn't like swinging. He wanted to feel very solid and very safe. There was a lot of coaxing and calming as we tried to get him moving and swaying and climbing. Now, he is scaling mats, jumping on and off of platform swings like it is no big deal, zooming on scooter boards, balancing on small planks of wood, and spinning and landing like a crazy loon. He still gets alarmed by sounds, but knows he can cover his ears to make it better. He doesn't bolt for the door in sheer panic. He has gained so much confidence in his abilities.
When I first mentioned Finn's SPD, I related this experience:
"I visited a woman from church. He played well enough with the three other kids there, but at some point reached a state of sensory overload and demanded that we leave. And when I say demand, I mean that he did not stop insisting that we leave. There was no way to shut. him. up. What I heard was 'Mama, mama, mama, mama' and 'I want to leave, I want to leave, I want to leave' on an endless loop. This was the week that I decided, 'Yes, he is Highly Sensitive; yes, he is an Introvert, but there must be something else going on here.'"
As chance would have it, we visited that same woman's house, with the same kids present last week. Again, a completely different experience. Finn played by himself for a bit, then started interacting with the other children. Towards the end of the visit, he was running around in circles with the other children, initiating games, and having an absolute grand time. The woman, whose house it was and who we were visiting, mentioned how comfortable and confident he seemed. Even though she has seen him in the interim, she had noticed his growth in the past year.
We have reached a number of milestones this last year. Finn no longer needs a parent to be with him at all times. I can leave him in a sunday school class or with a babysitter. He waves us goodbye and enjoys his time. He knows that we will be back, and that we will be there if he needs us to be. The first time this happened was on Mother's Day. I was with him in his Sunday School class and the class activity was to make a special Mother's Day card. "You can leave, Mom" Finn told me, "so that it can be a surprise." That was the last day I needed to be there. He shooed me out and didn't look back.
I have had so many worries and concerns for Finn, and don't get me wrong, I still do, but they have eased up a bit lately. I think he will do really well at preschool and enjoy learning new things and interacting with kids his age. I also have more confidence for the future. If new things arise? We can address them. I can get the help Finn needs to be his best self. We both have grown more confident in our abilities this year, and that is a good feeling.