Sensory Processing Disorder

Anyone heard of that before?

I hadn’t.

But, it turns out, that’s what Caleb has.

We’ve noticed some peculiar things with Caleb, but never knew what they were attributed to.  His whole life (all 5 years, ya know, a long life! 😉 he HATES getting his hair and nails cut.  We have to sit in the barber chair with him and literally hold him down while he screams bloody murder to get his hair cut.  There are NO bribes that have ever worked.  We never knew why he did this when no other child we know freaks out so bad.

He is 5 and has never run through a sprinkler.  He said he doesn’t like it.

He has wild tantrums that just aren’t normal for a 5 year old.

He always has to be sitting RIGHT next to you or ON you.

He makes SO MANY noises ALL THE TIME.  He has these facial “tics” I guess you would call them.

There were so many things we attributed his behavior issues to.  He has a new baby sister.  Mommy wasn’t able to play with him as much during pregnancy.  Mommy and Adara were in the hospital for a month.  He’s starting kindergarten.  It’s been a rough year for him.

I also beat myself up REALLY bad, blaming myself entirely for his behavior issues.  Because I’m not consistent enough, strict enough, too strict, let him watch too much TV, play too many video games, don’t stimulate him enough, don’t give him enough attention, etc, etc.  It’s ALL MY FAULT he won’t behave and has tantrums.

People kept saying, “Oh, he’s just a boy!  He’s 5.  He’s a spirited boy!”

But deep down I knew something else had to be going on.  NOT that I am not still responsible for my parenting choices!  But there were just some things that seemed “off”.

I took him to our pediatrician to get him checked for ADHD.  She said he didn’t have that.

RELIEF!  I was hoping it wasn’t that.

But then what was it?  Why did he make so many odd noises and bursts of screeches??

She said MAYBE a MILD form of Tourrette’s.  Let’s keep an eye on it.

OK, not definitive, but a direction I guess.

I mentioned it to his preschool teacher and she brought up this Sensory Processing Disorder.  She was NOT diagnosing him with that, just mentioned it as something to maybe look into.  She gave me a book she had for me to look at.  I looked at the list of indicators of “Sensory Over Responsitivity” and Caleb had several of them!  INCLUDING the hair cutting and nail cutting issues!

I immediately felt like we were close to an answer!  Some relief.  We could address things!

I took him to get evaluated by an Occupational Therapist.  I still wasn’t sure if this is what he had.  I was fully prepared for her to say he was fine and he is just “a spirited 5 year old boy.”

This was not the case.  She said he definitely has this disorder.  Without a doubt.  She was able to do “tests” and ask me lots of questions and it’s for sure.  He has SPD.

At first it was a relief.  We had an ANSWER!  We know what he has and can now work on helping him!

But then it set in.  My sweet boy has SPD.  He has something that makes life harder for him.  Makes school harder for him.  Something that causes him frustration, pain, sorrow, anger.  Something is not right and he doesn’t like it.  And doesn’t know how to handle these feelings he has.

As a parent you don’t want ANYTHING to be wrong with your child.  You don’t want them to have ANY challenges.  You want them to have all the advantages in life.  A smooth, happy life.

But that’s not the case for my sweet boy.  He is going to have to struggle with this.

Today is our first OT therapy session.  I’m excited to get some tools to help him.  To give him some ways to work through this and live a little better, feeling less frustrated.  To help Tim and I know how to handle his tantrums and help things go smoother.

So, now I have Adara getting physical therapy and Caleb getting occupational therapy! It’s a little overwhelming sometimes, but it’s my season in life right now.  I have to take care of these precious, amazing, beautiful, spectacular kids and do whatever it takes to help them advance and grow healthy in all ways.

So, therapy it is!  I’m learning a lot and doing work with both of them to help them be happy and healthy.

And they are MORE than worth it!

(Adara is doing great by the way!  She is gaining weight, and even her physical therapy is going awesome!  She is “army crawling”, pulling herself up on furniture, cruising along on the furniture, getting anywhere and everywhere she wants to go!)

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5 thoughts on “Sensory Processing Disorder

  1. Sorry to hear about this, but wonderful to have something with which to work! Also you description of what you’ve been going through is wonderful – highly informative of a diagnosis I’ve never encountered. We will keep him in our prayers.

    Is Adara as wonderfully ornery as her pictures make her look? What a beautiful, inquisitive and “you’ll never guess what I’m going to do!” look she always has. And that smile! She is always smiling in her pictures.

  2. Hang in there! I remember the frustration I felt when my son was diagnosed with dyslexia. I was so concerned he’d never be able to read decently. We kept homeschooling him, but with special reading tutoring added in. He’s now in 9th grade and reads well, but still can’t spell or write worth a darn. And, yes, I worry about that . . .

    Try not to worry too much about him not being “normal”. He is who he is and now you’re learning how to help him function better in the world he inhabits. And keep praying.

  3. Vicky, I understand that at the beginning of this journey everything is very confusing and difficult. There are many wonderful parents and professionals who have already walked this walk and are there for support. Please visit us at Special-Ism http://special-ism.com/ where we offer tips and strategies from professionals for challenges faced by children with special needs. You are not alone!

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