Wednesday, December 24, 2014

SPD- Sensory Processing Disorder: An Eye Opener

All of my kids have electric toothbrushes. Except my 7 year old daughter. Lets call her Munchkin. Munchkin refuses to use an electric toothbrush and has opted for a manual one with a picture of Hello Kitty on it. Okay, to each his own, right?

Now Munchkin has always had an issue with clothing. Anything with a tag, lace, zippers, buttons, hard fabrics, tight fitting clothes, these have always been absolute no-no's. On the other hand, she has always slept with her extra soft blanky, loves fabrics like silks and velvets, and the looser the outfit, the better. I have always thought that this was 'her style' of dressing.

She seemed to get angry very easily. If you sat in her chair at dinner, it was the end of the world. If one of her siblings cut her off or spoke while she was speaking, life as we knew it was over. I figured she is just 'really sensitive' and is just 'an angry child.' There are actually articles about 'angry children.' I read them all.

At birthday parties and social gatherings, she will hang around for the first 10 ten minutes but after that she quietly retreats to her bedroom. I always thought that she was just an introvert, like her mom, and just longed for and enjoyed the silence and tranquility of her own company.

We have a house full of kids and while my kids are far from angels, the noise level is healthy. Yes, there are plenty of fights, yelling, crying, but I wouldnt say its the majority of the time. Yet when these fights or tantrums occur, Munchkin cannot handle it. She tells me she is moving in with her best friend next door where its quiet and peaceful. I always thought she was just my little drama queen.

I have written about 'Homeschooling the Anxious Child' referring to Munchkin and how she needs her day layed out in front of her. She needs to be in control of what is happening and what she does. I always thought she just has a strong personality with a high amount of anxiety to go along with it.

But over Chanukah, we had lots of parties almost every night. I noticed Munchkin would have a complete melt down at the end of each party. It seemed that each night the melt downs seemed to escalate and get more and more intense. I kept complaining to my husband what a difficult child we have. The last melt down she had I honestly thought the windows would shatter she screamed so loud.

In the mornings though, when things were quiet, she was the perfect angel.

Something was not quite right. I mean, academically she is doing great. She has very healthy social skills, her fine and gross motor skills seem normal for her age, so what on earth could be the problem?

I decided to call my aunt as I remember as a child my cousin would have these crazy melt downs at all family functions. I figured maybe she could give me some advice on how to handle 'my difficult child.'

Within 2 minutes of the conversation, she said these magic words that changed everything.

"Your Munchkin sounds like she has Sensory Processing Disorder. Contact an Occupational Therapist as soon as you can and both your life and her life with be transformed."

This is what her daughter had, and with the right therapy and early intervention, she will be okay.

I started doing crazy research on this and the more and more I learnt, the more everything made sense.

I have tears in my eyes just writing this.

My Munchkin is not a 'difficult child.' Her body just does not process things like the rest of us.

At a birthday party with 10 kids, to her it feels like being in a room with 100 people, its almost hard to breathe.

When using an electric toothbrush, the nerves in her body are so highly sensitive its like having a full on power tool racing around her mouth.

When she wears clothing that are too fitted, with tags or not soft, to her little body it feels like she is wearing a shirt made out of sandpaper rubbing against her skin.

When her younger sister has a tantrum, while the rest of the family are happy to ignore it, to her body, it feels like her sister has taken a megaphone and is screaming directly into her ear while scraping her nails along a chalk board.

My sweet Munchkin is not a 'difficult child.' She just needs the tools to deal with life the way she is experiencing it.

Now that we know this, its like a whole new world.  I now understand my sweet child. And when I see a possible trigger, I do my best to help her work through it. We will be starting OT after the Holidays and between our wonderful Occupational Therapist and our working with her at home, I know she will be okay.

But for any of you moms out there that can relate to any part of this post, there is an amazing amount of hope out there.

I will keep you all posted as we embark on this new journey!

Wishing you all a wonderful week,

1 comment:

  1. I understand and felt the same thing when I was introduced to SPD. It was a huge relief on my end. My daughter has similar issues with SPD as yours. My daughter has extreme eating issues because of it.

    We still have melt downs and issues often. We know how to guide her and to try and not overwhelm her. The reality is she has a loud brother! Therapy is extremely helpful once we got her on a sensory diet. I would recommend the book, "The Out of Sync Child" and her other books. Also Lucy Miller has great books.


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