We took a family trip the last week in July to the Jersey shore. We were meeting up with our west coast side of the family for a beach vacation. My husband and I realized we hadn’t had a real vacation since our honeymoon! How pathetic right?!
It was strange not only to be on vacation, but to be away from our schedule and routine for Henry. We are lucky that Henry not only works well with a routine, including a sleep schedule, but he thrives on it. Sometimes this is hard for others to understand and I often hear how I should be more flexible, let things go etc. If there is any time to be flexible it’s during vacation and when you are away from home. Otherwise, it’s usually not worth it when Henry loses sleep or gets really out of whack. These are things sometimes only a mother notices, but Henry is truly a happy easy going boy and I attribute a lot of that to his ability to get good sleep when following his routine.
Anyhow, I tried to plan ahead to make this change and transition as easy as possible for Henry. I brought his familiar toys and allergy friendly foods and I hoped to work on his speech “homework” during downtime or in the car. Needless to say this trip left us so off track it even took me a week to recover! For Henry, I could see how not only a new place to sleep and different nap times and bed times could throw him off, but also all the new things to take in. He was so excited to hang out with his cousins, play with their toys and go to the beach. But this all reminded me how easily he can be overloaded, from a sensory perspective and otherwise. We were also dealing with intense heat and no air conditioning so he was sleep deprived from all of the tossing and turning at night. Add to all of this a weeklong bout of diarrhea!
I noticed on the trip he was less verbal than usual, and his fall back sound of “eh” came back in full force. When things got very active in the house or when he was asked to repeat sounds or words during playtime or chatting, he would withdraw and repeatedly throw himself onto the floor or run himself into the couch smashing onto his belly. It looked very much like stimming, but thinking about what I learned from our occupational therapist I realized he was seeking sensory input to reorganize himself. I think this helped head off total meltdowns, but I’m not entirely sure. It was interesting just to see how he was acting being out of his usual environment and routine. It had been a year since it had been disrupted for a week or more at a time. It also had been eight months since he went a week without speech and occupational therapy. I certainly noticed the difference and hoped he would just rebound easily when we got home.
On returning home we were all totally exhausted. Like I had said, it literally took us a week to feel somewhat rested again. Two weeks later Henry is finally back to his normal bedtime and nap time. Our SLP’s noticed his regression in speech right away. I have to say, it scared me. We were using his familiar sounds and words in our daily life while we were way, but it was apparent that the lack of therapy itself really impacted him. I’m sure it was a perfect storm of circumstances, but it really enforces my belief that frequent and consistent therapy is what Henry really needs to progress. I guess I need to prepare myself for these occasional setbacks. We are working twice as hard to catch up to where we were, but I know we will get there!