Sunday, August 25, 2013

Making "Sense" Out of Church (with Sensory Processing Disorder)

One of the many experiences I have had to learn to help the Little Guy cope with his SPD, is when we go to mass on Sunday. We have 5 children, and our 2 youngest are energetic little boys. So, my husband and I tag team. He gets Angel Boy who is currently 4, and I get the Little Guy. We have a routine, he and I. He sits in my lap, and either grabs my hands and puts them over his ears (I am guessing the sensory experience of being there may be too much for him at times) or he will literally grab my hands and make them slap his ears over and over again. Can you imagine what onlookers must be thinking? Sometimes I want to say out loud, "He likes it, really he does!" That is the hard part about SPD. He looks like an ordinary kid. But he is NO ordinary kid. Another thing we do is, he will pull my mouth towards his ear, and I am to understand this means, kissy time. He LOVES having his ear kissed. I do this over and over and it is very calming for him. Another thing he used to do, was to very unexpectedly lift my shirt to kiss my stomach. Typically this would be while we are standing, very close to the front, during a very solemn moment. Yea, I had to put a stop to that particular activity. It breaks my heart sometimes, to know that there is this constant storm brewing inside his little system. I know it is scary to him, and the worst part of it is, he can't always communicate what he is feeling. So I have to guess a lot. It is getting easier though, to read the signs. I read in an article the other day, that when such a child "acts out" by physically hurting a sibling or an object, or taking big risks, it is a cry for help. So when I went upstairs the other day after hearing some crashing noises, to find a very elaborate stair-step created, up to the top of the bookshelf, and the obvious crash pad situated right below, I chose not to freak. I calmly talked to him about it, and said "I know you need to crash into things, but jumping off the top of the bookshelf is not an option for you, jumping off the chair into the bean bag (it's huge) maybe, but not the bookshelf, ok?". You know what? He hasn't done it since. He needed to know that I understand what he is feeling, and that I respect him. Everything happens for a reason. I know God has a purpose for this little cross he has, and it will be for good. And when I think of all this in mass, and I look and see for a moment, he is gazing up at the cross, and he is perfectly still, I know that if anything will calm the storm inside him, Jesus will. Some day, he will know it.
Making Sense out of Church (with Sensory Processing Disorder)

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