Occupational therapists have been telling me that both kids need a lot of stimulation to help them overcome their Sensory Integration issues. Stimulation can include deep muscle massage, therapeutic “brushing”, or just satisfying their need for vestibular stimulation by playing on the swings. Both kids like extremes on the playground, and neither have ever complained that a swing went too high or too fast for them.

So I was curious how they would both react to going to the Luna Park, Tel Aviv’s one and only amusement park. It’s been around so long I remember going there when I was Matan’s age. Some of the rides have also apparently been around almost that long. We were removed from the Ferris Wheel when the breaks weren’t working properly…ummm. But the kids LOVED all the rides. I thought Matan would be afraid, and he did say he was afraid before going on the first ride. After that, he went on all rides that permitted children of his size. He became upset when he was turned away from a moderate roller coaster.

Karen was in her element. She is more careful than Matan, and I expected her to show some fear. After the first round on the Ferris Wheel, where she pretended to be scared, she began going thru the park, trying each and every scary ride that I was afraid to go on. She went on them by herself. She did some pretty rough spinning things. After about 2 hours, Matan got tired so I had to take him home and K stayed with DH.

DH just called me from the Luna Park, since he had promised to stay there until late with Karen. He called to tell me she was going on free fall rides, things even he wouldn’t go on. In the background, I heard her arguing with one of the ride operators who told her she wasn’t old enough to go on the Black Mamba roller coaster, the scariest at the park. DH forgot i was on the line, and I hear him arguing with the guy, telling him she had already been on the ride once, and that she was fine to do it again. Yes, apparently Karen sneaked onto a ride that is meant for children over 10 and adults. She loved it so much she wanted to go again. Unbelievable.

Now I’m interested to see if all this over stimulation of Karen’s sensory networks will indeed give her a sense of calm. This is one of the theories behind the Occupational Therapy exercises we’ve been given for both children. The idea is if you give them their “fill” of sensory stimulation, give them as much as they want, then they won’t need to seek it elsewhere by throwing their bodies around, jumping up and down, and basically acting out physically.

Update: they both had a very good week, so at least it didn’t hurt!