By: Laura Petix, MS OTR/LEPISODE 58

Carrie (00:00):
I think I just saw Will being afraid of so many different things and he is like such a special boy. I just love his heart. But there was just so many things getting in the way of his joy and I just wanted more for him and to be able to feel like he had more control.

Laura (00:21):
Welcome to the Sensory Wise Solutions podcast for parents where parents can get real actionable strategies to support kids with sensory processing disorder. I’m Laura OT and Mom to Liliana, a sensory sensitive kid who inherited my anxiety and my love for all things Disney. Consider me your new OT mom. Bestie. I know my stuff but I also know what it’s really like in the trenches of parenting a child with sensory processing disorder.

Liliana (00:51):
Okay mom, enough about me. Let’s start the podcast.

Laura (00:58):

Everyone this week I am so excited to bring on a special guest for you. Her name is Carrie and she’s a mom to a sensory sensitive kid and she was in my winter cohort for sensory wide solutions last year and her and her son’s story is so inspiring. So I just wanted to let the world hear it firsthand, but some notes for you. And in full transparency this week is where I will be opening up enrollment for my sensory Wise Solutions cohort. So yes, I’m hopeful that Carrie’s testimony, helps you visualize the possibilities and the potential wins that you can have as a result of joining the next cohort. But even if you don’t think this is for you or you can’t join right now, I still think that you’ll walk away from this episode feeling hopeful after hearing Carrie, Steve and Will’s story. So a huge, huge shout out to them both mom and dad for putting in the work and for taking a chance on the program.

And really thank you to Carrie for taking the time to come on the podcast and share her story with us. Another full transparency for you, she was a full paying customer. I did not give her this cohort for free. I did not trade her any incentives or compensation for doing this interview. She just kept sending me her wins via email and on Instagram and I was like, the world has to hear your inspiring story. And she graciously agreed. So this episode is fully unscripted and of her own will pun intended because speaking of Will, that is the name of her beautiful son and she shares some wonderful nuggets and gems that she got from this program. But at the very end she shares a pivotal moment that gave me chills and made her a little teary eye just thinking about it because at the end of the day, this is all for our kids and we just want them to be confident in their body and who they are.

So thank you again. Thank you Will for giving your mom and I and your dad and I the permission to share your amazing story with everybody. So one last thing before we jump in. In the interview, you’re, you’re going to hear Carrie reference something called a meltdown class that her and her husband watched that convinced her to join the program. What she’s referring to is my free masterclass that I host a few times a year as a lead up to opening the doors to Sensory Wise Solutions. So when she joined, it was called the Meltdown, the Sensory Meltdown Masterclass. Now it’s called the Parenting Your Sensory Sensitive Child Masterclass. But it includes the same information that she watched and it’s still free and it is happening this Saturday, January 21st at noon Pacific Standard Time. So the link to register for that is in the show notes or you can head to the ot and you will get a recording for up to a week to watch it after the class happens.


So head to the link in the show notes or that URL to register for your free spot. And then doors are going to open for the new winter cohort for Sensory Wise Solutions on January 21st through January 27th. And then the doors close. So if you’re wondering what that is, the Sensory Wide Solutions cohort is a hybrid between a course, like a pre-recorded course and a live group coaching program. So you will get access to me and OT your new BFF for 16 weeks. So via a private community, which is not on Facebook, it’s a whole separate thing. You don’t have to have Facebook and through five group coaching calls throughout the span of 16 weeks. But the course itself, the active learning and the homework and things like that and the content you get will be prerecorded and you’ll finish that in 10 weeks. So technically it’s a 10 week program, but you get access to me for 16 weeks so that I can help you troubleshoot after you take the course.

The best part is that you get continued access to the prerecorded course videos beyond the 16 weeks. So really for a lifetime, at least until I plan on Host Un continue hosting the program so you can go back and watch the videos and lessons whenever you need to as a refresher to review. And you’ll get to hear how Carrie uses that option still even after she’s graduated the program. So this particular program is specifically for parents who need help supporting their child through sensory sensitivities related to sound hygiene sensitivities. If they have a hard time with bath, washing their hair, cutting their nails, cutting their hair, brushing their teeth if they have any food sensitivities, they’re a selective eater, if they have texture sensitivities, if they have sensitivities to clothing all of that is for you and you can learn more about the program and slash S W S winter and that page will be live between January 21st and January 27th. All right, let’s get into it. Hello Carrie.

Carrie (06:13):
Hi. It’s so good to see you.

Laura (06:15):
It’s good to see you again. This is the first time we’ve seen each other virtually after our big cohort like graduation call, which was around a year ago. When was it? A year ago, maybe less than a year ago. Cuz you started in the winter. Yes. And then graduated around spring right before summer, right?

Carrie (06:37):

Laura (06:39):
So it’s good to see you, but I have heard from you so many times. You are always so sweet to update me and I truly look forward to those emails. I hear people email me and they’re like, sorry to bother you. Just wanted to update you. I was like, bother me. I love hearing from old clients and previous families I’ve worked from and I just have been so in awe of how much work and progress you all continue to do that. I’m excited to share your story today. So thank you for being here.

Carrie (07:07):
Yeah, thank you for having me. I can’t think of a better way to give back my time and just share what happened with our family. You’ve become a friend and a sister and a coach and I just am so grateful.

Laura (07:22):
I love that. Oh that makes me feel so warm and tingling inside. I just like Olaf . Okay, so Carrie, for people who are listening right now, if you wanna know what, why I’m interviewing Carrie, full transparency. Carrie was a member, a previous student of mine so to speak, her and her husband in my program called Sensory Wise Solutions. And it’s a live group program where I coach parents for 16 weeks alongside pre-recorded videos to help them with kids who have sensory sensitivities at home. And so Carrie kept sharing her amazing wins and stories with me even beyond the graduation of the cohort that I just was so impressed by it and I kept sharing her testimony, like screenshots and saying like, oh look what they have accomplished. But just the full story feels more impactful when you hear it from start to finish and when you get to hear it from them, from Carrie herself. So I’ve invited Carrie here to share that with us. So let’s just start from the beginning. Carrie, if you wanna tell us all about what you feel comfortable about telling us from your family, where you’re from and the before story and we’ll start there.

Carrie (08:42):
So I’m a mom of two kids and I live in the twin cities with my husband and family. So about a year ago we started noticing that there was maybe more going on with my five-year-old son Will. His preschool mentioned that he was complaining of his itchy clothes. The meltdowns were becoming more and more and they weren’t just these 20 minute meltdowns, it was lasting an hour to two hours multiple times a day and we just did not know what was going on and why this was happening. It was really tough.

Laura (09:24):
Those differentiating those meltdowns between what is a typical tantrum and a meltdown was one is a lot of family’s turning points where there’s something more here than just a fussy or a picky or a sensitive, just a regular sensitive kid. So clothing was an issue. I resonate with that a lot. So it’s interesting that you say that the school was already noticing things as well because for a lot of families, mine included, sometimes the school or other caregivers don’t notice anything and at first comes up at home. And so were they noticing the clothing sensitivities at school or was it more like the emotional meltdowns and stuff?

Carrie (10:09):
I think it was more of the clothing sensitivities. He was going to an outdoor preschool, which in Minnesota’s really intense in January where you have subzero weather, but we were putting on all the lotion to deal with the dry skin and it just wasn’t helping. So he just was not able to manage wearing those winter close. But then we’d have other times where he could wear them when he was doing something really fun and he wasn’t so stressed and it was fine. So I’m like is it really the clothes or what is something else is going on here?

Laura (10:49):
And that’s the part where it feels like it doesn’t make sense when I talk to parents and they’re like, well in this environment they can, but in that environment they can’t. Like what is it? And that’s really the magic of what it means to be regulated in certain environments and how different environments can disregulate you and make things, your sensory systems react differently in different environments. I wanna hear about at home. What kinds of things were you seeing at home at that point when the preschool brought it up to you? Had you not noticed anything or maybe they mentioned it and it sort of start started to make things fall into place? Or were you noticing anything with bath time or other sensitivities around clothes at home?

Carrie (11:30):
Yes. I didn’t, I really connected all the dots that this was all sensory but looking back, we’ve always had a hard time washing his hair and it was the water dripping down his face. It was tipping his head back. He didn’t like it was me scrubbing his scalp. All of that was always led to a big meltdown to the point where we were avoiding baths and then he got a dirty scalp and

Laura (12:04):
It makes it even more hard to wash, right? Because they have to scrub harder and scrape those little that stuff off of their scalp I think. So I love hearing those stories from parents where it’s big picture, we’re having a hard time with bath time. But of course if you’re not an OT or speak to an ot, sensory isn’t even part of your everyday vocabulary, let alone how to break down all of the sensory components and bath time. I mean sensory is everywhere, but bath time truly has so many sensory components. So sometimes I’ll ask parents, what is it about bath that they don’t like? And it’s hard to pull that out unless you’re guided in that direction. But now you know that you specifically listed water dripping down his face, hair tipping back and that scrubbing of the scalp, those are all very specific sensory experiences. But finding being able to piece that together, what was that like for you when you found out what sensory is and looking into that and putting all, connecting all the dots as you said, what did that feel like for you?

Carrie (13:11):
Well I had tried Dr. Google, which was really frustrating. Did not work. My husband was looking up other stuff and we were coming to opposing decisions on how to navigate all of these sensory experiences that Will was having. And so that was really hard. But I think as I learned more about, we learned more about what a meltdown is caused by and all the sensory components, it was like, oh this is what is going on. It was a relief that it wasn’t our fault or something that we did wrong. It was like this is how his brain is wired and we need to tackle this in a different way.

Laura (14:05):
So curious, do you even remember those early days of Googling what those opposing viewpoints were, what you remember seeing when it talked

Carrie (14:14):
Up? I mean taking a break from the situation I’d known about deep breathing but taking away a privilege if you don’t get ready to go bed after your bath. It’s just things like that that just

Laura (14:30):
Behavioral approaches. So just get them to comply and get through the bath. Right.

Carrie (14:35):
Well, or even on a positive, let’s do rewards. You can have an extra book if you get ready and take your bath and brush your teeth.

Laura (14:44):
Did you and your husband ever try those things and then realize it didn’t work or right away where you’re like, did you just have this gut? I don’t think that that’s the right way. What was your trial and error?

Carrie (14:56):
Yeah, we tried it and it was just a big blow up and I could just feel inside that this is not how I wanna be as a parent and I don’t feel good inside.

Laura (15:08):

Carrie (15:09):
This way when we found your cohort, we started calling it Best mommy and Daddy school to Will. Oh

Laura (15:21):
I love that. Oh that makes me so happy.

Carrie (15:24):
And he would give us trouble at night going to bed, but when it was those coaching nights, he just got straight into bed and he is like, you go take your class. And we didn’t have to do any of the check-ins or any of the regular stuff cuz he just felt like what we were doing before was not good. And this way I think he gave him some hope that things were going to get better.

Laura (15:51):
That is so beautiful. He was like proud of you guys for spending all the, and probably a big thank you cuz I’m sure at some point he knew that you’re doing this to better support him

Carrie (16:04):
And he knows that I’m sharing his story today. I sought his permission and he just really wants people to know about what can help some of these sensory things to make a big change.

Laura (16:19):
I love that. Thank you Will if listen, if you listen to this. Thank you. I love seeing your story and I know I shared a reel of him the last a few months ago about his big win and I would love for you to share that whole story actually the progression of that. So I’ll link the reel in the show notes if anyone wants to see it. But the reel is of will jumping into the lake, which is if you’re a sensory parent, you can already kind of understand what a big deal that is. But if we just started, Carrie just shared a little bit about bath time being hard for him, and I even have on that intake form. So when you join the cohort, I give everybody an intake form to assess where their current situation is at wanting to understand how it can best support them. And she and Carrie, you put specifically that it was really hard for him to wash his hair would cry with a drop of water on his face. So if you wanna start there from that’s where you were before the program to all of the updates you led me to that led up to that video, including all of the swim lessons. Can you share that progression with us?

Carrie (17:37):
Yeah, I would love to share that story. So in Minnesota swimming in the lake is a really big part of our culture both here in the cities up at my parents’ cabin. It’s something that’s is really it’s what everybody does and will could not participate in that activity. And so we were starting off in the bathtub and having trouble with just bath time. And so our big goal was being able to jump in that lake. And so we started off I pulled through all the components of the sensory wise solutions in order to do it. So every night we would get out a bowl of water and dip our cheeks in it and our noses and our fingers. I bought a HIAs synth flour that we would take breaks and smell it and I made a smoothie I boobed some bubbles to help that you

Laura (18:54):
Were really putting together all of the just right challenge, which is that boat, that bowl part. And then using the sensory toolbox that you built from the program that you like. Did sensory detectives, I remember you actually, you’re saying those flowers, I remember you sharing that picture in the community and was like, oh, so a smoothie and the flower one, I remember that specific photo. So you were really in this space where you were integrating both the actual, I say exposure in quotes, it’s not a forced exposure, it’s not making him cry and dunking his head in the water. It is truly a just right challenge where you’re working together. But you were also supporting him with the sensory tools, right?

Carrie (19:36):
Yeah. And he felt we did it as long as he was happy doing it and I did it too. So I had my bowl of water and I think I might have a little sensory stuff too. I don’t really getting my eyes underwater that much. So it was good some empathy for how hard that was for him. Yes. So we started swim lessons in the middle of the program and I think if I hadn’t known about sensory strategies, I don’t think it would’ve gone very well. We had our first swim lesson and he had a meltdown in the changing room afterwards. He was fine, he was okay in the lesson, but the afterwards was the really tough part. And so I gathered all my tools for the next swim lessons. I brought bubbles I made sure we got there at enough time so that the locker room was quiet and not super loud. I brought a smoothie and we just had fun right after the swim lesson and it really just helped him.

Laura (20:47):
Yeah, I remember talking about that with you at the group coaching call I think, or in the community. But I remember specifically you was talking about the changing table and this is a really common one, not changing table, changing room. This is a really common one I’ve heard a lot of parents struggle with just because s the indoor swim arenas, the super strong smell, very echoy loud, there’s typically a lot of crying from other people as well. Just a lot going on in those spaces. And then when there’s already this heightened anticipation and anxiety of going into the water and you’re met with that kind of stressful environment, you have a lot working against your nervous system. So you used your tools and you’re able to bri, you really prepped his nervous system is what you did. You were emptying his cup as much as possible knowing that he would go there and it would be full right away. So you got him prepped and ready for the swim. And then how did the rest of swim lessons go in terms of his progression for getting all the sensory stuff his face wet, getting under water, how did that prog progress look like?

Carrie (21:57):
He really made a lot of progress. He was able to, I think all our practice at home with the bowl helped him just acclimate to getting his eyes wet. He did it with al goggles.

Laura (22:10):

Carrie (22:11):
Yeah. So he was able to eventually get his face to the water for longer and longer periods of time. And now we don’t really have a lot of issues around swimming or getting his eyes wet.

Laura (22:24):
And was that translating at the same time at home? Bath time was becoming easier as he was progressing in swim. Did you find that as well?

Carrie (22:33):
Yeah we still needed to work on having some of our tools, bringing the mirror into the bathroom and then just being silly with bath time and just taking our time to make those wacky hairdos and play with yeah, kinda just make it more playful.

Laura (22:55):
And that piece of being playful during their most reluctant moods I would say is key. But also I wanna acknowledge for some parents, if you’re like me sometimes I’m truly, I’m not always in the mood to be playful and I go through this internal battle. I don’t know if you’re the same or if you are, have an easier time play being playful. But there are some days where I’m like, I really don’t want to do this whole song and dance circus act to entertain my child, but I have this options. I could spend my energy doing that and the extra time it takes to come up with a silly story and act like a certain animal while I’m washing her hair. Or I could spend the energy having a power struggle with my five year old over why we need to do this, keep repeating myself because I said so building up all of that internal stress.

Either way there’s some energy output and if I can’t, I would love to just do the playful one. But anyone who’s listening, if you are like me where you’re like, why do I always have to play just to get them through it? I know it’s feel easy, but the science behind is that when you’re playful, you’re in in a more relaxed and regulated state, which makes a sensory components of whatever you’re doing feel a little bit more tolerable and less stressful. So good for you for being able to do playful times with bath. So after you were able to make that progress in bath time and slim then you were able to participate for your first summer after the program at the lake, what was that like?

Carrie (24:30):
Yeah, we got out there on the boat and he had mentioned that he really wanted to try jumping in the lake and so he stood on the edge of that pontoon boat and just jumped in. And I’ve never seen a bigger smile on his face. He was just so proud and we talked about it and we talked about all the things he had done in order to get to that point. And it was such a gift to be able to do that.

Laura (25:06):
That must have been a big highlight, milestone moment for you, for your whole family because as you said, this is part of your, it’s a big part of your lifestyle.

Carrie (25:14):
We got to all be together and he got to keep up with his six year old cousin for the first time and not just sit there and watch him swim. So he got to be a part of the day.

Laura (25:30):
And you also were mentioning at some point in some of your emails, you were talking about some food stuff that you guys were working on. Can you share some of that and what that was like before the program and what you ended up working on?

Carrie (25:42):
So as a kid, I was a really picky eater, so I was just really determined that wasn’t going to be in my family. So as a baby I exposed him to all, to everything just thinking that yes, this is the answer. But all of a sudden one day when he was about 18 months, something flipped and he liked nothing except for crackers and yogurt.

Laura (26:07):
So did you focus on food while you were in the program or were you just mostly focusing on the bath time and water stuff?

Carrie (26:17):
We did. We’ve done some food did before the course. I did know better than to try to force them to eat food but I didn’t know how you get someone to try something new without a meltdown. So one of the foods we worked on was green beans and so he was at a stage where he could have anything on his plate as long as he knew that you weren’t going to force him to eat it. But if I took that off the table, he would allow that. And then we started playing with food. So with the beans we made kind of a log cabin and did silly faces with the beans and I invited him to kiss it, which he did. And then all of a sudden before I knew it, he’d taken a bite. And I had never seen him do that with the vegetable.

Laura (27:19):
I love how you said you invited him to kiss it. Like you weren’t saying kiss it, do this, put your lips on it. But this really is just like we hear parents, we hear all the time, we do an invitation to play. This is an invitation to explore and play with your food, with no agenda of you needing to try it or lick it or anything. But if it’s part of the game or I’m kissing it goodnight and tucking it in his little log cabin and it’s just part of it, that’s amazing.

Carrie (27:46):
Yeah, I don’t think we could have gotten to that part without knowing all those pieces. added a number of vegetables to his list that he’s willing to eat. He doesn’t get that anxiety anymore when I make something new that this is something he has to have or he knows that there’s always going to be something on his plate that he

Laura (28:10):
Likes. That’s a huge piece to it. And something that is really important when I coach parents about kids who are picky eaters is that my number one goal for you and your family is not to add X, Y, Z vegetables and proteins and whatever. That’s not my number one goal. My number one goal is to help you help your child have a healthy relationship with food and healthy relationship means being able to be regulated when there’s new food on the table and not panic and not severely limit certain favorite foods and not blacklist certain foods. Just have this positive, safe, confident relationship at the dinner table or lunch table or breakfast table. So I’m glad that you noticed that and you’ve been able to work on it in a way that feels good for both of you. So that’s amazing. What I want to do is I wanna share, so I mentioned this earlier as when you joined the program, the first thing you get is an intake form. And I ask you survey questions and then when you leave I also ask the same questions as some sort of unofficial but objective measurement of progress that you’ve made in the program. Are you comfortable if I call some of those things out and read those out? Yeah,

Carrie (29:21):
Please do. It’s so fun to hear the change.

Laura (29:24):
Yes. Okay, so the intake form so this, oh gosh, I wish I had the date on it, but this was winter 2022, so sometime in January or possibly February. Were

Carrie (29:39):
You signed up right at the last, it was the last day

Laura (29:42):
on the last Oh oh, the last day. Yeah. Yeah, that happens a lot. People think about it all week. So at that time will was four and a half. And so I have this list of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 sort of daily task items that I say select any of the following that of the following sensitivities that apply to your children. So out of the 12 of them you selected 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10 of them. Yeah. So and all of these things I list out are things that I talk about in the program. But you selected food, loud sounds, clothes, water like bath washing, hair, brushing hair, nail clipping, brushing, teeth, washing hair. I said that hair cutting and meltdowns, which is kind of attached to all of those. Right. And then I also ask what’s your status with ot? And you put that you were still monitoring things before seeking ot. So at that time you had not started OT in person, right? Yeah. Did you ever seek ot?

Carrie (30:58):
I got a referral and then while I was waiting to figure out where to go, it’s just like things clicked into place and I don’t feel like I need it.

Laura (31:08):
Yeah, yeah. That’s amazing. And then I asked this question, how confident are you in supporting your child’s sensory needs on a scale of one to five? So five is extremely confident, one is not confident at all. Do you remember what you put?

Carrie (31:24):
It was not good.

Laura (31:25):
It was a two. So you put that you were a two. Yeah. And this was specific to sensory needs. It’s not like how good of a parent do you think you are? Yeah. How confident are you that you can support your child’s sensory needs? So you put a two out of five, so five would be extremely confident two is towards the less confident side. And then I also asked how much does your child’s sensory needs and challenges impact your daily life? Again, I’m very mindful of the language where it’s not like how much is this bothering you irritate, it’s just how much does it impact your daily life? It’s an important thing to know and how most OTs gauge how much support you might need, how much it impacts you. So one would be does not impact at all. Five is a huge impact on our daily quality of life.

And you put a four so pretty, so less confident but definitely a strong impact on your daily life, which really is why you joined the program. I also ask, how many meltdowns does your child have on an average week? And you put so the choices were one or less, two to four, five to seven or seven plus and you put five to seven. So probably, and I could see that with it impacting with clothes, food and bath time, which all of those things happen several times a week, right? Yeah. So before I move on to the rest of the, so I want to then jump to the exit survey. So at the end of it, so when I asked you how confident are you in supporting your child sensory needs, this was around May. So after the 16 week program, so 16 weeks your confidence out of a one to five moved up to a four.

So you felt you went from a two to a four in your confidence in supporting your child sensory needs and how much does your child sensory needs and challenges impact your daily life? Move down to a one which was the lowest probably because you’ve all found your sensory tools, which is huge. You also did put that your meltdowns on an average week went down to one or less. And now this is where I preface anyone listening, it’s really not one of my quote selling points or promotional points to say I will help you decrease your child’s meltdowns because that’s something that is. So I think just a part of being divergent and I know we have good months and we have not so good months where we’ll have way more meltdowns than others. And I know just meltdowns are kind of part of our lifestyle, but that’s something that I will never promise or promote. However, I do hear a lot of families experience whether it’s less meltdowns or less intense, less duration, some improvement with the idea of meltdowns. But I thought that that was very eye-opening to see that you actually experienced less meltdowns after the program, which is great.

Carrie (34:23):
And I think I have a different view of meltdowns too. I’m not so anxious about it when they happen and have a plan. I mean there’s times where I need to step out and take a break, but I just have a better understanding of what’s going on and why

Laura (34:44):
That is what one of my selling points is. That’s what I talked about in the master class where this program is for you if you want to stop walking on eggshells cuz you’re not afraid of the meltdowns anymore cuz you know what they mean, what your child needs, how to provide it doesn’t mean that it’s any less hard to tolerate, but in terms of your confidence and knowing like okay, if he does have a meltdown, I know why. I know how to regulate him afterwards. I know a plan for next time. And that’s really what I aim to get for parents to get out of the program. So one piece that I do wanna mention that you mentioned on your intake form was that there was, so one of the questions is if you were on the fence of joining wise solutions, what was the deciding factor?

Because I understand that between time and actual financial investment, it’s a lot to ask a family to join a program like this. I also know that parents who are considering it are really in a space where they need the help. So I’m curious for parents who maybe waited till the last minute, I’m curious if there was a reason, if there was something where you were debating between and what really was it that made you say, you know what, I’m going to go for it. And you wrote that it took a little bit for you to get your husband on board and then he watched the recording of the masterclass and then he was like, let’s do it. Let’s sign up. And I really would love if you would elaborate on that dynamic between you and your partner because I get this question a lot from other parents and I experience to it in my marriage where typically one is less on board with these supports the gentle parenting strategies, understanding neurodiversity that our kids aren’t bad, that we don’t need to do certain approaches. So I’m curious and would love to hear more of your story and that shift that you experienced within your marriage and where you were before where you may have had different viewpoints on how to work with this.

Carrie (36:49):
I remember, well I found you on Instagram. I was just taking a mindless break scrolling through my feed

Laura (36:57):
And I love those scrolling breaks. Those are the best.

Carrie (37:00):
And somehow your post popped up and I watched one of your reels, I can’t remember which one it was now, but I was just like, oh my gosh, this is what I need. And then I saw your meltdown class and I watched it first and I just felt like this was the answer. And Steve and I were just so lost on what to do together. I think having different ways of tackling sensory stuff is just not good for kids. And my husband saw that and he watched the meltdown class and he felt for the first time that someone was speaking to him that understood will and what struggle we were going through with our parenting and that this could really help us be on the same page. And so we got done watching the masterclass and sometimes he is a little bit of a penny pincher but he , he just really felt pretty much immediately that this would be worth trying. Yeah, we had been referred to a therapist and that help was months out. It turned out not to be a good fit anyways. And so having something that was so immediate and really seemed to speak to what Will was struggling with was kind of what hooked my husband in. And now when we have some new sensory things pop up with even our two year old, he said, well we know what to do now. Do we still have access to that platform? Let’s go rewatch.

Yeah, co-regulation strategies. Cause our two-year-old is having a little bit of trouble. So yeah, he said, we just know what to do now.

Laura (39:07):
So it gave him really a good way. I pulled him in by showing him, I know exactly what you’re going through, come follow me. And he felt confident to join. So I’m very grateful that you guys did join in it. I’m so happy that it ended up working out. I do want to ask though if so people who don’t know the program is 16 weeks, but you get access to the course content for I say a lifetime for however long I run this program, which I hope is a very long time. I’m constantly adding little bonuses and videos and things like that. But the core content will pretty much always remain the same because the concepts are always applicable. Are there any parts of the program that you either still use daily or we very consistently in your house or are there certain lessons or things that you find yourself going back to that your husband said to rewatch or things that you like to go in for?

Carrie (40:04):
Well one of them is some of the co-regulation strategies. I think the bubbles worked really great for a while and then they get tired of it. And so then I need to go back and find another strategy that I’ve forgotten about. Will was having a little bit of trouble in the bathtub again. And so I went and I rewatched that workshop about the bathtub and it just kind of put me in a reset

Laura (40:31):
And reminds you of certain points. You’re like, oh yeah, I forgot about that.

Carrie (40:34):
Oh yeah, let’s get out the mirror again. Yeah, I cracked it out and we played in the bathtub again last night. And so it’s just a really good reminder. It’s all in one place. I don’t need to go searching for something. It’s just really easy to use.

Laura (40:50):
And I don’t know if you found a good sense of community. I know I think you were the cohort where I was trialing different forums, so it kind of was disjointed, but at least on the group coaching calls, even in silence, if people are not really, their mics aren’t on, I love when someone’s asking a question or venting or sharing something and I just see head nods or if there’s partners on one side of the screen, they’re looking at each other and be like, yeah, we know that. Or that just happened. It just, it’s so validating in a way that I can’t explain just seeing people get it. Cuz without that in person when I don’t know about you, but I don’t have anybody in my real life who has the same experience that I do with my daughter. I’ve got a hundred thousand people on Instagram who follow me and I have hundreds of parents in these programs that I coach, but no one in my direct immediate life that gets it. So when I vent or talk about things to them, there’s no head nodding. It’s like glazed eyes are like they feel uncomfortable and they’re like, wow, that must be hard. And they try their best but not that overwhelmed. Just real connection with other people. So those are some of my favorite times in those group coaching calls.

Carrie (42:01):
We both felt that Steve even said specifically that it was just really nice to be with parents that really got how hard and long those meltdowns can be. Yeah,

Laura (42:15):
We need a support group for supporting the meltdowns. It’s a hard responsibility to have to co-regulate for them with those really big emotions. So also in the intake form, there’s this part where I ask you what’s your primary goal when working through this program? And I loved your answer because it wasn’t specific to I wanna be able to take a bath without screaming. Which is a fair answer for some parents too. Totally get it. I want my neighbors not to call c p s on me from the murderous screams that happened during Bathtime. Totally get that. But I love your answer because it’s really one of the things that I main outcomes I would hope for most families. And what you said your primary goal was to build our toolbox of regulation and build confidence in our son. I love that. Can you tell me where that came from or why that was your, at the front of your brain, even before I had even injected that into your life?

Carrie (43:18):
I think I just saw Will being afraid of so many different things and he’s such a special boy. I just love his heart. But there was just so many things gaming in the way of his joy and I just wanted more for him and to be able to feel like he had more control. One thing I hadn’t told you about that happened recently is he was wearing his mask cuz he was recovering from a cough at school and I had put a lanyard on it so that he could pull it down if he needed to eat and then put it back up and it went be an issue. And he came home and he was just so agitated. I was like, what is it your mask that’s bothering? He’s like, no, that lanyard is filling my sensory cup. Oh, can I wear the mask but not have the lanyard? It’s tickling my neck. And it just gave him the words to be able to tell me what he needed. I’m getting teary eyed thinking about this.

Laura (44:22):
Oh, I have chills. I have chills on my chills right now that he could pinpoint that, express it, ask what he needed from you. That is full circle. That is, I feel like every parent’s, at the end of the day, every parent’s goal, especially a parent of a sensory kid, I just want my kid to be able to advocate and know their body well enough to tell me what they need.

Carrie (44:50):
So yeah, we were able to fix that and he was so happy. And I just like, that’s the confidence and what I was looking for and he was regulated enough to be able to tell me that. And so without all of the heavy work, the breathing just all of those things help him be able to say what he needs.

Laura (45:17):
I love that. And I also really loved how you phrased it earlier. There’s such a happy boy, but there were things getting in the way of his joy. I think that that piece is really hits home for a lot of families. And even hearing that, I feel that deeply because I would not describe my daughter as unhappy or moody or irritable, but there are times when there are things that get in the way of her being who she is because of her. I call it the worry bug. Her anxiety about things and sensory is both, but it truly does. It is a barrier to her full enjoyment of life, which is the ultimate purpose of occupational therapies is to help individuals participate in their daily life so that it can feel meaningful and purposeful and have a sense of fulfillment and the things that are important to them.

And for kids, it’s play. It’s spending the summer at the lake with your family. It’s keeping up with your six-year-old cousin, it’s sitting at the dinner table, regulated, all of that. So I love how the program talks about those specific tiny little like zoomed in pieces of life. But the bigger picture is building confidence and with a just right challenge, which is what I teach parents and how to accommodate and build those sensory of supports, that’s how you build that internal confidence that I can do. I can do things that are new it, I can feel how I feel, but I’m confident one in my body, two in knowing what I need. And I’m confident that my parent knows my body. So I know that we’re speaking the same language and I know that they’re going to support me. That was your primary goal when walking through, working through this program.

And I wanna read to you what you got out of it. So the question on the exit form was what progress have you noticed in yourself as the parent as a result of the program? And you put, my husband and I are on the same page and responding to meltdowns. I feel less anxious when they happen, which has resulted in a calmer, happier household. And then I also put, what progress have you noticed in your child as a result of this program? So you did mention the specifics. So we went from having a meltdown from water dripping down his face to being able to participate in swim lessons jumps off the side of the pool, washing hair is going so much better. But you just said that the sensory tools that you learned are just very invaluable. So that it just overall, and the way you’re still talking is as if you’re still in the program. It doesn’t leave you. It’s not like when you study for a test and you take that final and then the next day I forget every single piece of information because you actually applied this stuff and use it often.

Carrie (48:03):
Yeah. I think what I loved about the program is it really provided a framework of understanding. And then I still see your Instagram post and it’s like I have a hook to hang those on. And it, it’s just makes, yeah, I just have a deeper understanding than what I had before I joined the cohort. But saw your Instagram

Laura (48:27):
And I’m so glad that you joined the cohort. I’m so happy to continue hearing your story. I hope you keep sharing the updates with me because I feel so invested in Will’s story and now you have other people who are probably invested as well. Are you going to the lake this summer? Do you guys have plans?

Carrie (48:42):
Oh yes. We’ll be up there. I’m already counting down the days.

Laura (48:47):
Yeah, it probably looks a little different. Probably looks a little different than some are out your window right now. Yeah,

Carrie (48:53):
I was born in California, so I’m great California heart but family’s here and summer will come sometime.

Laura (49:03):
Okay. Well I wanna say thank you so much for spending the time. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you. Please tell Will I said thank you. I wish I could give him a big hug, that we’re all rooting for him. I especially am so proud of him. His name is still up on the board. I have this board of everybody’s name who I support in sensory wise cohort. And thank you for sharing your story and I hope to keep hearing from you and you keep updating us and I just love hearing from you.

Carrie (49:27):
Yeah, thanks for having us on. And I’m sure there’ll be many more updates as time goes on, so I can’t wait. Thanks for being part of my inner circle. And just

Laura (49:37):
Part of the village, right?

Carrie (49:38):

Laura (49:39):
We’re building our village that never came. This is our village. It’s all online, but we’ve got it there. So anyway, thank you so much, Carrie.

Carrie (49:46):
Yep. Thank you. Bye.

Laura (49:49):
If you enjoyed this podcast, please consider rating it and leaving a review, which helps other parents find me as well. Wanna learn more from me? I share tons more over on Instagram at the OT Butterfly. See you next time.




Free Instant access to my Members Only Vault with Resources & Activities


Laura Petix, MS OTR/L

I’m an enneagram 6, so my brain is constantly moving. My OT lenses never turn off and I can’t “un-see” the sensory and other developmental skills that go in to literally every activity. I love taking what I see and breaking it down into simple terms so parents can understand what goes into their child’s behavior and skills.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *