An ADHD and autism spectrum diagnosis proved to be important to getting Roman on the right road at school, and at home. Now armed with some new sensory tools, he’s doing better than ever.
Roman has been struggling with ADHD, and the implications of being on the autism spectrum, for as long as his mum Jenna can remember.
“I always told myself he was a little quirky and different, but I didn’t think too much of it. At least, I didn’t until he turned seven and started to go to school.”
Roman would frequently come home stressed or in tears. It was clear he was having a hard time adjusting to school and making friends, she explains.
It wasn’t until his diagnosis at five-years-old that things started to turn a corner – helped by regular appointments with a psychologist.
“The diagnosis was a big relief for us, as it helped him get professional assistance. It was also good for the school, because they could understand what they needed to do to help him learn.”
In the 12 months following diagnosis, Roman has been able to make good progress.
“The hardest thing for Roman has been learning how to regulate his emotions. With professional help, he’s beginning to understand them a lot better,” explains Jenna. She adds that, in the past year he’s “started to thrive” and is building lasting friendships at school, understanding his emotions better and able to concentrate more.
To help Roman regulate at home, a couple of new pieces of equipment have been added to his toolkit courtesy of Satan’s Little Helper.
“He absolutely loves his new sensory swing and body sock,” says Jenna. “Despite his improvement at school, he can still come home stressed and agitated. The swing is a safe space for him to go and alleviate those emotions. He goes in there with his tablet, and he’ll hang out until he feels better again.”
The swing has also helped relations in the home!
“He’s got two sisters and they know that, when he’s there, he shouldn’t be bothered. It’s saved a few arguments and helped me avoid needing to lead negotiations between the three of them.”
Jenna has also noticed that Roman can understand when he’s feeling frustrated and, instead of snapping at his family, will seek the sanctuary of the swing or body sock.
“He’s more patient with his younger sister! I guess like any big brother, he sees her as a pain at times, but instead of firing off at her, he can take himself away and use the body sock or the swing!”
Roman starts high school in a couple of years and Jenna admits she’s a little worried about how he’ll adapt to his new environment.
“Kids can be meaner and not as accepting in that environment, which I worry about – but at least he can now create safe spaces at home, where he can go to be alone and regulate his emotions better.”