I decided to write about my 5 year old son today, specifically about the challenges he deals with and the signs we could have recognized way earlier, if we had even known what it was. Maybe it will help someone else.
Sensory Processing Disorder, is a disorder that is not commonly recognized right now as it is a fairly new diagnosis. So unless you study up on it yourself, or get lucky and find someone who knows a lot about it, you may not be aware of it.
SPD is a disorder of the senses and all the ways that we process the world around us through them. The trick about it is, there are MANY different forms, and sometimes your child may share cross-symptoms with more than one type. At least that has been our experience. Please look here for more info on the different types of SPD.
I have to say though, that when I first began studying all the different types, my head began to swim. One minute I was thinking, "He does that ALL the time!" but another, "He NEVER does that." I began to see that he had many of the symptoms overall, and not just one type. Here are some things to look at. Because I am dealing with a boy I will ask questions from that perspective, but both girls and boys can have SPD:
1. Does your child hate grooming activities? Does he pull away from brushing of teeth and hair? Does he scream during shower rinsing?
2. Does he seem to lick and put his mouth on everything?
3. Did potty training take FOREVER? Does he still have a hard time with getting dressed, putting on socks and shoes etc. when he should have it down by now?
4. Does he seem to lack coordination or show no interest in learning to do things like, throw/catch a ball, ride a bike, anything that involves coordination of limbs?
5. Does he seem to melt down in public often? Especially in places that involve much sensory input, such as museums, theme parks, water parks, etc.
6. Does he LIVE for water? Play in it forever and make huge messes in it?
7. Does he also seem to LOVE activites with constant motion? like swinging or dancing?
8. Has he destroyed your house? :) By swinging on things and crashing into things? or ripping up things?
9. Does he thrive on consistency? more than an average child? Does he freak out when you change something on him, or show great resistance?
10. Does he seem to like unusual foods for a child, things that are sour or spicy in particular?
11. Does he seem to have a hard time getting along with siblings or schoolmates? Does he hit alot, and plunge himself into other kids, or is a little too touchy?
12. Does he seem to either get hurt alot without coming to you, or not know he is hurting you or someone else?
The most confusing part about my child's SPD is that he seems to exhibit opposing types of symptoms. He seems to HATE some types of sensory input and not be able to get enough of other types. So it helps to study this information. And remember not to put your child in a box.
What Having an SPD Child Has Done For Me
1. Taught me to have compassion for other parents with misbehaving children.
2. Taught me not to judge them.
3. Taught me to be more understanding of the challenges he deals with daily. His OT told us one time, "You know that feeling you get when you have just been in a wreck and you are running on adrenalin in crisis mode? He functions like that most of the time."
4. Reminded me that every person is unique, and that our weaknesses can be made strengths with God's grace. I believe one day, as my 5 yr. old plunges into the couch and into water, he will plunge into life, and God's plan for him and never look back.
5. God has given me the most affectionate child on the planet. When he runs to hug me, I have to brace myself, or he will knock me to the ground. He climbs on me, kisses me, pats me so hard it hurts, and loves the absolute heck out of me. And I wouldn't change him for all the world.
6. Stretched me. I can not put my son in a box. I can not discipline him as I have in the past, teach him as I have my other children, hold him to the same expectations, or do the same old thing I have always done. But he is teaching me. a lot.
Helpful book which I still have not finished:
The Out of Sync Child
Book I want to put on my wishlist: