Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Messy play

At last I have a moving date for C - in 6 weeks. Which is a huge relief. And this time I feel more prepared as I have some idea how C will react. But I also have different concerns this time as C has regressed in so many areas since his first move and after 11 months is not yet back to where he was. But I know the new home will be more suitable in the long run so hopefully C will settle quicker this time and begin to regain what he has lost.





Over the years I tried many messy tactile substances in messy play to deter C from smearing. But never found a good enough substitute! He still smears but these days it is thankfully a bit more contained. Trying to keep C’s nails clean though as he won’t let anyone cut them since he moved is very difficult. Any advice gratefully accepted!




This weekend my sister and her husband went away and I looked after my nephews J (3.5) who is Autistic and O who is just 10 months. So I put my messy play to good use. It is great for gross and fine motor skills, coordination, concentration, observation, communication and stimulation of all the senses.


J has never liked the feel grass under his feet but really enjoyed getting his feet gooey. We enjoyed pouring, scooping, grasping, transferring, catching, placing, exploring all with lots of eye contact.


And without even realizing J was soon walking on the grass! I do love being an aunt!

81 comments:

Adventure Mother said...

I hope C takes the news of the move well. Lovely photos!

Queenbuv3 said...

On the subject of nail cutting. I cut my sons after a shower when they are soft and this seems to reduce most of his anxiety. Another trip I have heard of is putting an ice pack on the nails first to numb them but I have never tried this. When my son was little I had to sneak in his room while he was sleeping to cut his nails. Eventually, I just held his fingers firmly and cut them as quickly as possible and over time he has allowed me to do it without a fight. I understand that C is a full grown man and it might be impossible to just do it while he protests.

Is there a movie or show he really likes that you could distract him with (shower or bath first to soften nails)? Hope you find something that works.

Beth said...

Being an aunt is wonderful, isn't it? And you are such a wonderful one! Nothing kids like better than mucking about. And for J to then walk on the grass?! Amazing.
I really hope C regains all that he lost with this move - yet another challenge for both of you.

Mrs. C said...

I'm wondering if every day he could get into that habit of having one nail cut (even if it doesn't need it).

The trick is, how to get into that habit? Ok, I wish I had some advice for you. :]

bobbie said...

I do hope this move goes smoothly for everyone concerned, and that he continues progress afterwards. I'll keep a good thought.

Caring for all 3 boys must have been a pretty intense experience. But a joy too.

Phil Plasma said...

Congratulations on having a date for the move. You were so keen on the place he is at currently and yet it didn't work out - hopefully the new place meets C's needs better.

starrlife said...

How about soaking them, does he like that feeling? I do hope the new home is fabulous, you and he both deserve it! Every time I read about the old one I get mad. You are a lovely auntie, full of wisdom and great ideas!

laughingwolf said...

blessings to you and the amazing things you continue to do with everyone, cas :)

CrackerLilo said...

I hope the new home works out well for C. and that you find a way to get his nails cut, too. Dang, they're long!

How wonderful that the messy play worked out for J.

Suzanne said...

Love the messy play Auntie J. My dh did not care for walking on grass as a youngster. He still has sensory issues. Guess his mom didn't offer him messy play. :P
Hope C's new place will work out.

Maggie May said...

I like Mrs C's idea of perhaps just cutting one nail a day and receiving a treat as a reward?
Glad you got J to walk on grass. I expect his Mum will be very pleased!
Hope the move goes well with C and that he makes up his regressive time, with moving forward. Hope things will be different from now on. Must be a very worrying time.

Hammie said...

That is Brillant Jen! A master in the field of extreme parenting hey?

I love a bit of messy play myself. I found that Pound shop hair gel mixed with washable acrylic paint is great finger paint too.
My Bratty used to be tactile defensive about sand and grass. She would lift her feet in the air to be carried across grass (if we were holding a hand each) and still hesitates to get going.

But she loves water so putting the watering can and a big basin out on the grass really helps her to relax, and water the grass at the same time.

No more advice on the nails. I wonder if you have ever taken C to visit horses in your many travels?

Perhaps if he saw a farrier trimming their hooves (which I find very satisfying for some reason) and got to play with the trimmings he might feel better about it?

xx

Hammie said...

oh! and sending you positive thoughts for the move. xx

kathleen said...

My kids love mucking about...until they realize that a sleeve is wet etc. Then they must change immediately...couple of nail ideas..I'm not sure what about it C doesn't like-so I don't know if these will help. Have you ever asked him to cut one of your nails?
This one is odd...one of my boys likes the sound and feel of filing..the other CAN'T STAND IT...but a little emory board-not too rough has worked for us. As always-I love your photos-they always seem to capture an extra something..:)

Casdok said...

I have tried all of the above with no success but i havent tried taking C to watch horses having their hooves trimmed. An interesting thought!
Thank you :)

rainbowmummy said...

u can be my aunt if you like, eggs aunt I mean, of course...........

deb said...

Katie screams like you're cutting her fingers and toes off when you cut her nails. I sit her in a chair, sit on her lap and another person holds her one hand while I cut the other hand. One of the staff at her house came up with popcorn on the table to distract her, this works too but it's still unpleasant task.

He does have lovely nails though.

lime said...

i'm glad to hear the end is in sight for c to be where he is now. i do pray his next transition is less traumatic than the last one. glad you had some fun auntie time too :)

Jeni said...

I never had any tactile issues with my first two children but the youngest, who is now the mother of the two little ones, both autistic, was terrified of the grass! As she grew up, she had issues too with some foods -still hates onions with a passion and doesn't like to eat chopped celery, or other crunchy-type footds like that. It wasn't until the two little grandkids came along with their tactile issues here and there that I looked back over time at their mother and saw the similarities there but with a few more quirks pertaining to sensory stuff. Right now, we're lucky in that the little guy, who hates to have his nails clipped too, is still small enough that he can be held in place with a little strong-arm to do that job. But who knows if he will outgrow that issue over time or if as an adult that may still be an issue with him. Just keep on trying and hopefully something will turn up that will be an aid for you. (Maybe us too, who knows?)

~Mama Skates~ said...

what fun - i want 2 play in all those messy things too! ;0) Jaden doesn't mind his fingernails being cut, but can't stand when i go at his toes...luckily, he will let me do it if i promise 2 b quick & he can watch something distracting on tv...i hope u figure something out with C's nails! good luck with the move - glad 2 hear things r looking promising!!!

Debs said...

I hope the move goes well for C and that he's very happy there.

Love the thought of standing in jelly, what fun everyone must have had.

Green-Eyed Momster said...

Would C let you file his nails? They sure are beautiful! Your nephew is so cute! I love messy play as long as it's outside! I hope to meet my nephews soon. They live far away....
Thanks for stopping by my friend's blog. She's a sweetie.
You're a sweetie too! Congrats on only 6 more weeks until the move. I hope that it'll go smoothly for all of you!!

Big hugs and love,
GEM

Akelamalu said...

I sincerely hope C will be happier in his new home and regain lost ground, I'm sure it will be a great relief to you.

Looks like your nephew was having a great time! :)

The Green Stone Woman said...

It must have been wonderful to play around with all those different gooey textures. You are indeed a great aunt.

Honeysuckle said...

I must admit I stopped trying to cut Buster's nails years ago as he hated it so much. The biggest problem we had was with his toenails which he'd pull at and cause to bleed. The staff where he now lives have got a special file from the chiropodist's which seems to be okay for him. Not sure whether C would cope with that either tho' - would probably take even longer.
The one a day seems a good idea - little and often. And the softening with warm water. Hope you find a solution.
Good luck with the new home. Must be scary for both of you.

Petunia said...

Hope the move goes smoothly for C and he settles into his new home well. I used to have awful trouble cutting munchkins until recently. It is much easier to hold a toddler down and do them! I found by accident that if I made this stupid squeely noise as I snipped, she loved the noise so much and found it so reinforcing she was distracted from the actual cutting. Nail cutting is fine now as long as I do that stupid noise. Cutting her fringe is still a restrain job :(

Looks like you had a fabulous weekend with your nephews :) Loving the pics and dying to try out a few of your ideas. xxx

Rebel Mother said...

Good luck to C with the move.

Cant help with the nails I'm afraid, Olly chews his to the bone!

Love the messy play - it is so much fun and little J on the grass! Fabulous! RMx

Chris H said...

It's great that you finally have a new place for 'C'... I hope the move goes well for you both.
I hate messy play, cos I'm always the one who has to clean up said MESS!

Cindi said...

These are great ideas. I may try them with my Autistic son who has sensory issues from head to toe!

I wish C the best of luck. Please keep us posted. I am going to be in the same situation that you are in in about 16 years. It does frighten me.

Kahless said...

Hope all goes well with the move. My thoughts are with you both.

Me said...

Nails...never had that problem...B chews his below the quick but what about that soaking idea? Soften them up and then try cutting them under water where the sound of the "clip clip" can't be heard and the nails are less resistant. Also, set a schedule for it...every Monday we are clipping nails at 5 pm. Good luck and let us know if you do find something that works as there are bound to be others who are either in the same dilemma or will be.

Warty Mammal said...

What wonderful feet!

For the longest time, I had to cut my son's nails when he was asleep. He has only very recently gotten to the point where he'll tolerate it when awake, and even then will pretend to be hurt.

Messy play is great. A couple of favorites around here:
- shaving cream with food coloring, so one can experiment with mixing colors,
- hospital wash basins with a bit of tempera paint positioned at either end of a long sheet of paper, so one can step in the paint and walk on the paper.

My kid likes to shuck his clothes off and smear the shaving cream and paint all over his body, as well as running his feet and hands through it.

I'm going to keep a good thought for C. If he is treated with kindness and consistency at the next place, and the staffers don't shy away from challenging duties, he may settle in a little faster.

Get Off My Lawn! said...

Looks like fun for anyone. When Juno was less than a year old, we used to put her on huge sheets of paper in the kitchen and give her paint. She ignored brushes and made wonderful images by messing and smearing around with her hands and feet. What kid wouldn't love it? Heck, I think I would love it.

secret agent woman said...

Loved the photos of the squooshy play.

Hope C's transition goes well.

Julie L. said...

Aw. I loved the pic with the little feet in the grass! Your sister is so lucky to have you as a mentor. You're a great auntie and a great mum too.

As for the nails there is always the knife throwing martial arts expert that might be able to whip off C's nails without him even knowing it. Ok, that's a bit farfetched and even a little scary--sort of like my laser idea of old... I hope someone can come up with a practical solution.

take care, jml.

Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

Glad to hear that you've found a new place for C. I will be thinking of both of you and hoping the move goes well. I wish I knew what to suggest for the fingernails. I've been lucky in that department - Nigel always bites his, so I've never had to cut them except when he was a baby! Sending love to you and C . . .

Suburbia said...

They are so lucky to have you as their aunt. I fancy putting my feet in that jelly too!

Gosh, it seems ages since you decided to move C. So sorry it has taken this long but glad things are soon to move on. Best wishes to you both. S x

Jade said...

Wow, Jello feet eh? I never thought of that but i bet its great sensory!! Brilliant!

I really hope that C's new placement is one that will put you both at ease. As for cutting the nails...Have you ever tried doing it in his sleep? Or maybe while he's stemming on something? I'll have to think on that one and ask some of my colleagues.

I hope you are doing well my friend. I think about you and C all the time, even though I don't make it to your page as much as I'd like to. You are often in my thoughts.
Big hugs to you!

Jenn said...

Tactile Stim is always great fun or at least almost always. If C will tolerate holding your hand try filing his nails. No risk of cutting him or yourself. One of the Ladies in my group home would never let us cut her nails and she was a scratcher. It took some getting usedto but eventually she would let us file her nails down. We started the process by allowing her to play with the emery boards and slowly worked into filing. Hope that helps(:

DJ Kirkby said...

I assume you've tried cutting them in his sleep and giving him the nail clippers/scizzors to do it himself when he is awake? All that messy play...yech! Except for grass on my feet, I like that. xo

Paulene Angela said...

Lots of fun happening over there. Feet on the grass, reminds me of the movie "Pretty Woman".

Finger nails, would you be able to clip C's nails for example just one per day, with a pre-bath warm up/relax? Is the objection because of tactile, pain, or even the noise?

My son dislikes his toe nails, I usually clip two per day, that's enough.

It's exciting and nerve racking about the new home.

Take care, Paulene x

Working Mum said...

I hope this move is successful for C (and you).

Would it be possible to cut his nails when he is asleep?

buffalodick said...

You must have been a busy girl! I hope the new home works out as smoothly as possible...

Casdok said...

In C's sleep dosnt work, nor after baths etc and he isnt able enough to do his own.

Pauline i think the objection is purley down to trust. But saying that he wont even let me have a go as at the home they have focus on it so much he is resisting even more.

claire p said...

Great news about the move, hope it all goes well.
jamie will do messy play at school, but not at home. Still at least he does it now.
And where did you get a photo of my nails? Honestly they are that long.

MarmiteToasty said...

I wanna come play with the mess at your house :)....

I sure hope C this times settles into a better place..... how difficult for you both, you are in my thoughts..

x

Paulene Angela said...

May be C sees his nails as something beautiful and he is absolutely right, they are (I'm jealous, if you saw mine !!!) plus he feels happy with them and really wants to keep them.

I wonder what reaction you would get if you gave him a little brush to keep them nice and clean ?!

Thanks for your interesting post, we are all learning.

LceeL said...

You are amazing - and a great Aunt, I'm sure. Just look at what you did for your Nephew. I wonder what his Mum said - seeing the picture of him walking in the grass.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

It's all coming together and before you know it, C will be settled in his new home. Don't have any suggestions about the nail clipping - will he succomb to bribery?!

Take care
CJ xx

nitebyrd said...

Good thoughts for C and you on his move. I don't have anything helpful for the nail clipping.

Your weekend sounds like it was too much fun!

Mama Zen said...

Is that jello? My daughter would love that!

Shari@aPsychMommy said...

I was going to suggest shaving cream, but I think in one of the pics you might have used it already. I have also seen OTs use moon sand which feels basically like wet sand to add diffeent textures.

Ellee Seymour said...

Good luck to C for the move. I can imagine it seems strange walking barefoot on grass for kids. It is something most adults don't do either.

joker the lurcher said...

i hope the move goes better than last time. it must be really tough for you watching C so distressed.

my son wouldn't let mt near his nails with scissors ever. i bit them until he was about 6 (even the toes which was a bit icky!). then i taught him to bite his fingernails (i bite mine so he had a good example!) and got him some clippers for the toenails. but he still grows the toes way too long before he does them. he is convinced he has nerves in his nails (and in fact thought he had nerves in his hair for years). i hope you are able to work out a way to deal with C's nails - watching horses being done is a great idea! horses have a lot in common with autistic folks so C may find a link.

Anne Brooke said...

You're sooo brilliant with being an aunt! Hope C's move goes well and he settles in soon ...

Axxx

MMC said...

About the nail cutting issues - is that more or less a trait of people with autism? I guess what I am really asking is do you see it in people who aren't on the spectrum?

My oldest daughter, who has ASD and other issues, loves getting her nails cut. She would get them cut every day if she could. Problem is there's never much there to cut because she constantly bites them.

But my youngest ... she is 13 now and it's only been in the last few years that she will allow me cut them, although she still swears it hurts. And insists it is only after a bath or otherwise soaking them.

She also use to carry on hugely about haircuts when she was younger, up until she was about 7 or8 maybe. She has no other sensory issues but has recently been diagnosed with nonverbal learning disability. If anybody had any insight into all this, I would really appreciate it.

And best of luck with C's move. I will be praying it works well for you both!

Palm Springs Savant said...

That is one of those things I just take for granted- not realising how little things such as that can be a challenge. You do seem to take it all in stride. I have no advice to offer on the nail cutting but it looks as tho others do! As usual Casdok, I enjoy reading and learning when I visit-Rick

Kileigh said...

Thank you so much for becoming a follower on my blog!

I hope everything works out for C and I wish you all the best.

--Kileigh

Casdok said...

MMC
Will email you as C also has a severe learning disability and non verbal.

Sandi McBride said...

You're such a great Mom, I know what a great Aunt you have to be! I wish I knew what to say about the nail problem...that one will require thinking on...good luck with C's move!
hugs
Sandi

Jocelyn said...

I have no good ideas on nail clipping...What a toughie.

But you are The Aunt of All Time!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Good luck with the move!
I cannot imagine the effort you've invested-and the mess you've had to clean while getting things to work easier. My sons always loved painting with their feet--the cold, gooey, slimy feel of having their feet painted and then sliding them across paper.

Club 166 said...

Since the home is focusing so much on the nails, and since C let you take care of them in the past, it all may be a matter of "this is the only thing I think I can control right now".

I'm hoping that after he gets settled in to the new place, he'll relax a bit more, and then the nail issue will go away more or less by itself.

Joe

Joy said...

Wow, Adrian would love to play in that stuff! I hope the move goes smoothly for C and that he settles quickly. I have no advice for the fingernails, that has not been an issue but I hope you get some good advice here.

Indigo said...

I love walking on the grass, never had my toes in jelly though, that soea look like great fun. I love messy fun... it's good for the soul

Anonymous said...

Get him stoned then when he's really mellow, cut his nails. Or, do it the way I clip my cat's claws: Wrap him up in a blanket and hold him down. This may take two people and he may not let you get near him with a blanket again. (I had that problem with my cat.)
OR, you can take him to a farm and show him all the cow manure. Tell him he can play with it if he lets you trim his nails.
Good luck.
P.S. What happened to your boyfriend? I thought you guys were getting married?

Grit said...

i have never cut my children's nails. fortunately they're mini geologists and try and make marks on rocks to test rock hardness. nails come in handy for that! i gave them pumice stones to play with and bought very big glittery emergy boards to encourage them to do it for themselves. quite frankly, it is a task beyond me.

jazzygal said...

Oh messy play is such fun! I'd say the nephews love going to their Aunty's house!

Good luck with C's move.

My guy hates toenail cutting too but tolerates it. Needs breaks...couple of nails at a time.
Would a picture schedule work with C? Or something noisy? If he's into music or a particular DVD, say, distract him with it...maybe with him wearing earphones?? Or even something that vibrates? I remember hearing about putting younger children sitting on the washing machine while in cycle to distract them!! Good luck! xx J

M said...

you discovered the secret to getting kids to walk on grass. Goo-foot.

Good, old fashioned goo-foot. It works every time.

I don't like walking on linoleum. Maybe I should goo up, see what happens.

therextras said...

I apologize that I will not be reading all of the other comments - and if I only repeat others.

What a lovely sensory session you show! Thank you.

I was wondering if a pair of gloves - with just the tips cut off - perhaps even some that are snug. They sell a brand here called Isotoner. If he agreed to don them, perhaps the other person holding his fingers would be less offensive.

This type of glove might also be considered "pressure garments" - which many parents report help calm their children with sensory issues.

Also, I've been wondering if you've seen a documentary named "My Name is Sabrine"? It is about an autistic woman in a (wonderful) group home in France. I watched it in subtitles.

CAMILLA said...

Hi Casdok,

So sorry I am late here, just trying to catch up.

I am wishing your son 'C' and you all the very best for the move soon.

I have no answer to the clipping of 'C's nails unfortunately, I wonder though if 'C' saw you trimming your nails, that he might succumb to having his done too, just a thought.

The Dotterel said...

Really hope the move goes smoothly.

MarmiteToasty said...

Hoping everything is going as smoothly for you both as is possible.... you have both been in my thoughts a lot of late...

hugs to you both..

x

Angela said...

Hope the move for C goes smoothly

It is great you had fun playing in he grass.

Smiles!

Dr. Deb said...

I loved this post. It's great to explore and allow the textures to be experienced!

Celeste Maia said...

A very interesting blog. I have been reading for the last hour, and I am really inpired.
I am sending best wishes from Portugal for the move to go smooothhly for both or you. Be well.

Rrramone said...

good for you!

and I want to put my feet in some goo too. :-)

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