We had our first occupational therapy session yesterday. It went so well. Michael was able to fully participate in all of the activities which helped a lot. After watching her brother do something first Ava didn't want to be left out so she'd try too. Our OT's plan was to alternate sensory activities with fun motor activities. The idea was that the motor activities would be a fun break between the sensory activities which might be stressful for her.
First they bounced on an exercise ball mostly as a warm up and to develop rapport. Then they dug around in a container of rice and then a container of pasta for hidden objects. The pasta was no problem. Ava liked the rice until she realized it left a white powdery residue on her hands, but she stuck with it. Both of those were relatively easy because they were dry.
Then they got a ride on a kind of padded dolly as a motor activity break. The next activity was playing with moon sand. This is some kind of synthetic sand that feels moist and sticks together. Ava started playing with it using spoons and containers and resisted touching it with her hands, but gradually as she watched me play, and her brother play, and the OT play, she got bolder. Towards the end she was using her hands pretty well, but was bothered by any residue left on her hands and by the sand that ended up scattered on the floor. She kept moving her tray to a new spot to try to find a clean spot to play in.
The last activity we tried was shaving cream. To be honest, both children were a little hesitant to get in there with their hands, but Michael tried it first. As the texture became more familiar he moved from a fingertip, to multiple fingertips, to his whole hand. Ava took a lot longer and was a lot more agitated, but we eventually managed the same progression with her as well. She needed a cloth nearby and frequently cleaned her hands off.
We would spread a thin layer of shaving cream all over the tray and then draw shapes in it. I would make a flower on Ava's tray and then say, "No, no, please don't erase my flower!" Of course, that made her just want to wipe it away, but in order to do so she had to stick her entire hand in there to rub it out.
All in all the session went beautifully. The children had a blast and will definitely be looking forward to the next visit from the OT. Ava's tolerance for new sensory experiences was definitely stretched, but not pushed too far. I'll have to put shaving cream on our shopping list this week.