One of the most endearing things about Joe is what he finds stimulating. To say Joe’s sensory stimulants are wide ranging would be an understatement. Some of Joe’s sensory interests are humour, texture and monotonous sounds.
Last night Joe came round for dinner. The dinner was lovely but my lasting memory of the night was Joe dressed as a Minion with a Caveman outfit over top. Humour stimulates Joe and he loves the sound of laughter.
Joe went through a number of outfit changes last night. When he first arrived he was wearing his school uniform. The uniform was quickly covered up with my winter coat. Joe found it hilarious to put the hood over his head and zip it up like Kenny from South Park. My hood has fur on it and I noticed Joe running his fingers through it. Like a lot of children with Global Development Delay, Joe enjoys textures and materials.
A number of months back I bought Joe an empty spray bottle. When I presented Joe with this rather basic piece of technology he acted like me when Stoke City win…Joe watered the grass with this for ages, but I didn’t have the heart to tell him that the wind was blowing the water away from the grass.
From a young age Joe has been very fond of hoovers. The buzz of a hoover helps him to concentrate and he can use it for hours. Some people might criticise me because I have exploited this. I have taught Joe how to use the hoover on the stairs at our house (something I don’t enjoy doing). Good man.
However, with sensory stimulation can come overstimulation. Joe is very sensitive to noise. Some might find this hard to believe as Joe can make noise for England but when the noise is unexpected and loud he can get very distressed.
Joe has a strong dislike of our smoke alarm. We have an incredibly sensitive smoke alarm in our house. The merest suggestion of smoke is enough to create a ear-piercing display of noise. Last night the smoke alarm went off and Joe ended up outside in the garden refusing to come back in saying ‘Me cuddle James’. This sensory overload resulted in a minor meltdown.
I saw a brilliant comparison of a meltdown and a tantrum on Pinterest a few days ago. People could confuse Joe’s meltdowns with a tantrum. However, when Joe is not looking for a reaction, he is not considering his safety and he is not able to calm himself down then he is having a meltdown.
I dislike the word ‘meltdown’. This is probably because of the negative impression people have given it by suggesting a child ‘knows what they are doing’ or are ‘after attention’.
Don’t worry Joe, I will protect you from that smoke alarm….I promise never to use the cooker again.