While trying to make our decision regarding surgery for Will's toe walking, my educational consultant friend that works with gifted kids suggested a worry stone for Will. It would be a sensory experience for him that would help replace the toe walking sensory experience.
Will has been collecting rocks lately (and losing them... lol!), and I asked him if he had any smooth ones. Nope, not a rock in site. So I raided my jewelry box and found a stone on a keychain that my mom had made for me that was slightly bigger than a half-dollar. It's red, round, thin, and oh so smooth! We'll give it a shot! (Thanks, mom! Hope you don't mind that I disassembled your keychain!)
I sat down with Will and told him that the rock is for him only and it's supposed to stay in his pocket. When he wants to walk on his toes, he's supposed to put his hand in his pocket and rub the stone. He can also take it out of his pocket to rub it, flip it, or transfer it from hand to hand, but he's always supposed to put it back in his pocket.
We're going to call it his pocket rock or pocket stone.
I told him he is allowed to use it when he's anxious or scared about something, too. When he doesn't understand something (usually it's mechanical or electrical) he really kinda flips out on the anxious scale. His voice gets a higher pitch and he dances around until someone explains how it works or why he doesn't need to worry about it.
He seemed VERY receptive to the idea of the pocket rock. He asked why he needed it and I simply told him that we are going to try to get his brain to stop thinking about his toes and start thinking about the stone. He took that in very well, too. :)
Granted it's only been 20 minutes, but I've ALREADY seen a decrease in his toe walking. I know it'll get harder as time goes on because the stone is new and fresh on his mind, but hey... it's an improvement! :)
Other things we're working on while we make our decision:
- Go shopping for some high-top lace-up "farmer type" boots soon
- Also get walking shoes instead of running shoes that encourage heel-toe walking
- Continue with stretches as much as possible (3 times a day just might not happen...)
- Keep shoes on him as much as possible as his toe walking is even more exaggerated when barefoot.
- Professional pediatric PT weekly sessions
- Gentle reminders to heel/toe walk
- More research on how to correct the sensory seeking aspect of toe walking (yes, I have an engineering brain. LOL!)
Well, I need to go do... the dishes and the laundry and the bed sheets and the sweeping and the food prep....
... maybe I need a pocket rock, too! :)