When we dreamed about a family, my husband and I never imagined that we would spend the first month of our eldest son’s life at a children’s hospital following his open heart surgery. We didn’t picture spending hours each week at Speech and Occupational Therapy sessions as well as multiple visits to a neurophysiologist and psychiatrist. It wasn’t in our plans to have a child with diagnoses and disabilities.
In 2010 I wrote about raising a child with Sensory Processing Disorder.
Daily you watch your child “lose it” for hours on end over seemingly nothing. You notice your son become hysterical because of a loud noise. You chart on the calendar the good, bad, and horrific days that your child experiences desperate to find triggers. You talk to other parents only to learn that they don’t understand because their child is “normal.” You read stacks of parenting book only to finish more frustrated because once again the authors doesn’t get it. You spend many nights crying yourself to sleep because “tough love” is not working. You feel that you were slowly losing your child to the unknown.
What is Sensory Processing Disorder?
For those not familiar with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), here is my explanation.
When thinking about the word “sensory,” remember the five senses – taste, touch, hear, smell, sight – as well as movement. In one or more of these areas, the person’s brain doesn’t understand the sense he or she is being confronted with. Either the sensory input is too much or too little. If it is too much the person will do whatever he can to remove the sense. If the person desires the sense, he will do everything in his power to get more. A child who has extreme aversions or needs to senses may have Sensory Processing Disorder.
I have shared several times in this blog about the heartbreak, loneliness, and exhaustion of raising a child who struggles with Sensory Processing Disorder. But I pray that today’s compiling of tips will give you hope for your journey.
- How We Knew Our Child Had a Disability
- How Do I Explain to Others
- When Your Child Doesn’t Match Your Parenting Dreams
It is of utmost importance to get therapy for a child who has Sensory Processing Disorder. Occupational Therapists are trained to help kiddos learn to appropriately deal with the senses and movement affecting their body.
- Why Early Intervention is So Important
- When You Begin a Therapy Journey
- Finding an Occupational Therapist
- Sensory Brushing and Joint Compression
- Backpack Time
The challenge of raising a child with SPD is that the child is scared of, threatened by, and fearful of items in daily life. For those children who are sensory seeking, the needs can be extreme. It is exhausting trying to provide the need while integrating the dislike. Below are some tips that I learned from Occupational Therapy and implemented in our home.
- Ideas for Home
- Helping Your Sensory Child Out of a Meltdown
- The Importance of Jumping
- Volume Control Help and Chart
- Oh Mister Moon: Charting Behavior
- Appropriate and Inappropriate Ways to Handle Situations
- Stopping a Catastrophe Before it Starts
- Creating a Visual Schedule
- Providing Sensory Input When Away from Home
- Teaching Emotions
Disclaimer: I am not an Occupational Therapist or professional. I am simply sharing what we learned along our journey in hopes to encourage and help others mommas. Please seek professional help for your child to provide the best care and support.
This summer Bubs will turn 15. His sensory coping mechanisms are so strong that only those who know him well recognize when he is in sensory overload. I praise God for the team of therapists and doctors who worked diligently with Bubs and spent time training me. I pray that you will be encouraged by what we learned in our journey.