20th Sep2010

How does she feel?

by Dutchcloggie

JD is easily distracted these days. Or, to put it better, all she is is distracted. All the time. Ask her a question and before she is able to process the question and formulate an answer, she has forgotten the question or is studying the buttons on your shirt instead.

On Sunday, we were at a friend’s house and JD stood very still, tracing patterns on the wallpaper with her fingers over and over again. She seemed really locked in by the whole thing. The wallpaper had shiny textures, matt textures and a slight relief. Our friend mentioned that various drunk and stoned people had in the past also been fascinated by that wallpaper.

A little later, I got a message from R. She had a thought about JD’s fascination with the wallpaper earlier that day. I had mentioned in the past that JD seems to stare at running water for a long time. Maybe because she has lost track of what she is supposed to be doing (i.e. wash her hands) but it might also be that she is simply entranced by the movement and different ways light reflects in the water. R. remarked that perhaps JD is actually experiencing a heightened sensory/visual experience that is different or even heightened compared to those around her.

I find it a really comforting idea that this might be the case. JD is virtually unable to express her emotions (eventhough I am convinced she has them) as the process of putting her thoughts in to words seems to be extremely difficult and about 10% of the way through, she has forgotten what the question was. So the idea that she may be enjoying things full stop is a rather nice one.

So inspired by that thought, I gave her a piece of paper, a hole punch and some crayons and she was happily busy for 30 minutes. Not bad at all for a first time.

Perhaps I’ll buy her a kaleidoscope. Pretty patterns and geometric shapes.

6 Responses to “How does she feel?”

  • >Do you have a dream catcher or anything mobile and shiny that could be hung up?I'll have a think and get back to you. xx

  • >My nephew (who has a neurological degenerative disorder) has a sensory room now, with colours, shapes, textures, movements and lights. One thing he seems to enjoy is his collection of Mood Beams that glow different colours. My brother could tell you all about what goes into a sensory room, if you'd like me to put you in touch with him.lucy x

  • >Nice ideas from both of you :-)I have heard of Mood Beams and I am going to have a look into those.JD is still able to communicate as such. She is just very slow and comunicating emotions is very difficult (read: impossible) if they extend beyond Yes or No. I am looking for things she can do or enjoy without being specifically taken somewhere on someone else's initiative. So for example, if there are crayons around the house in a place where she can see them, she is able to pick those up when she feels like doing so, instead of me saying: here are some crayons. That is the only way I can be sure she is doing something out of her own will. Because she doesn't seem able to say no if she doesn't want something. I am always worried that the 'activities' I come up with are actually boring her to tears.

  • >My grand-daughter, who is just bedding down sight and neurological patterns, is fascinated by black and white art and B&W mobiles. There is literature on this aspect of contrast. If it is one of the first things to come, could it perhaps be one of the first things to go?

  • >sorry … last things to go …

  • >Had another thought. I am writing this in a room on the Left Bank, BTW.The thought was, that I spend a lot of time with my father who has advanced dementia. I use photos and other memorabilia to get him to respond to me. I have little books on topics that we use as conversation starters, eg photos of his birth family and we talk about who they each are (several times a session!).I also have memorabilia that we touch, turn over and try to talk about.For the last two times before I went on vacation, I had sheets of song words and we sang them through, eg The National Anthem, Row row row yer boat.Gives us something to connect about and elicits pleasure from him. Otherwise he just sleeps all the time.

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