I have been wanting to do a post on this for a long time, but I've never quite been able to capture Colin while he is in the act of one his quirks. It's one of those things that he's done for a long time but it slightly changes as he gets older. If you would have asked Chris or I through the years, we would tell you that Colin definitely has some sensory "issues", but they don't affect him in the same way that they do others. For example, when it comes to Colin's feeding issues, we know that there are certain textures he doesn't like, but this is not the sole reason for his feeding issues. More specifically, an example is the fact he doesn't like crunchy foods but has no problem putting sand in his mouth and crunching on that. Like most kids, he doesn't like loud noises in certain situations but absolutely loves being at sporting events (particularly basketball games which are indoors) and loved the Fresh Beat Band Concert (dark AND loud).
Through the years we have done some research and attended conferences where people have spoken about kids with Down Syndrome "seeking out" sensations. We notice that Colin's "quirks" or sensory seeking behaviors mostly come when he is more tired. His number one main quirk is that he loves the feeling of different materials on his fingers, particularly eye lashes. You know you are "in" with Colin if he tries to rub your eye lashes. When he is tired or falling asleep when sitting with you, he will try and rub your eye lashes to help him fall asleep (this is much harder to capture in a picture). His other quirk that is along the same lines is playing with small strings, pieces of fabric, small pieces of fuzz, etc. He has lots of socks with holes in them because he will often take his shoes off in the car when tired and pull at the little fuzz/strings at the toe ends of the socks. In the pictures below, I caught him shortly after being woken from a nap playing with pieces of string on one of our blankets. The blanket is not holding up so well lately as he is pulling at different strings on it.
The second and third pictures show the "look" he gets on his face the best when he is in this "zone", meaning, he is tired and "seeking sensations". If you watch him closely while he playing with the different textures, you would notice that he likes it to touch the pads of his fingers a certain way. It's often pretty delicately in the ways he touches it so I am often curious what it feels like to him that he likes so much. His other quirk that I spoke about awhile back on the blog is his "dangling" which we learned about at a informational session we attended on behaviors in kids with Down Syndrome. Dangling is basically a sensory/time filling activity where he will take a doll (particularly his Mickey dolls) and just literally hang them, dance them, move them in front of him for periods of time depending on how tired he is.
These little things he does really mean nothing, other than I find them interesting! They're just Colin's little quirks...we all have them!