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A Pediatric Perspective

Unexpected Help

Published July 3, 2014 10:16 AM by Wendy Spoor-Hof
Help can sometimes come from the most unlikely place. I have been working with a child who has a "habit" of rocking back and forth before falling asleep at night. Sometimes the rocking will take 10-15 minutes and other times it may take as long as 45-60 minutes. The rocking is usually done as they are sitting in their bed and they will rock and rock and rock. Mom has even padded the crib railings because they have rocked so hard that they cause bruises up and down their spine. Mom has tried other ways to comfort and get the sand man to come but nothing has worked. This little one can be rocked in a rocking chair by mom, fall asleep in another room, have books read to them, take a warm lavender bath ... you name it, they've tried it and the rocking will always be the one thing they do before falling asleep.

We have researched and researched. Suggestions that were offered by other O.T.s and therapist ranged from a vestibular seeking need to not having the right chemicals in the body to be able to fall asleep to having a desire to hit the "fight or flight" center located on the spine up near the neck. We have tried offering sensory input both tactile and vestibular but the rocking has persisted. We have tried no TV, iPads, radio or other electronics before bed but the rocking has persisted. We have tried soft lullaby music and dimmed lights but the rocking has persisted.

Then, miracle of miracles, I was on Facebook when a post came up from the Pediatric Occupational Therapy group I am a member of about a sleep disorder called RMD (Rhythmic Movement Disorder.) I read it from beginning to end and found myself nodding my head and thinking of the little one who rocked. I was so excited about it that I even sent the link to one of the other team members and asked them what they thought. She agreed that it sounded like we may have found a reason behind the rocking.     

I had never expected to find an answer to a case that has been puzzling me for so long on Facebook. I enjoyed being a part of the Facebook Pediatric Occupational Therapy group because of the variety of topics that are brought up and discussed. If you haven't had a chance to join them yet I highly recommend you do. You never know when an answer to something that has been puzzling you may unexpectedly show up.  

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