I promised awhile back that I would do a post about Sensory Processing Disorders (also known as Sensory Integration Disorder), but my friend Jenn beat me to it, and said it all MUCH better than I could have. Go ahead, go read it. You know you want to. I'll wait...
Welcome back. Interesting stuff, right?!
There are several subjects I can talk about, knowledgeably. SPD is not one of them. Yes, we deal with it with Kameron, but I haven't done the research on it as I have with Down syndrome, with Leukemia, with Atlantoaxial and Occipital Instability. I know enough about SPD to understand Kameron and his needs... Over the years Kameron has gotten much better... for example, a year ago he wouldn't touch a rice krispie treat. OH he loved them, loved the taste and the crunch, but HATED the feel... even in the wrapper. I really served as his enabler by holding it for him while he took bites. Some parents would say this was the wrong thing to do. Perhaps. But I have learned to pick my battles. Slowly he has worked up to it and now he can hold them and eat them. About 5 years ago we took family pictures right before we left California. We decided to do them on the beach. Yeah, that wasn't the brightest idea we have ever had. Kameron hated sand. The look of sand, the feel of sand, everything. He freaked out. We finally were able to get pictures with all of us on a tarp, or with us holding him. He finally got over his sand issues about 2 years ago... but you still won't be seeing him playing on a beach by choice!
Just imagine being freaked out by the feel of sand, a rice krispie treat, play-doh, or one of millions of other things that kids with SPD deal with EVERY day. Imagine your heart racing and you go into a panic because someone says they're going to take you to the beach. Imagine looking at something like a piece of corn and feeling tears instantly spring to your eyes as your stomach starts turning and you feel like you're going to throw up. It's frustrating and it's scary. Occupational Therapists, Feeding Therapists, and Speech Therapists work with kids with SPDs all the time to help them overcome these fears, to get used to the sensations, to be able to function in life. Many times they are successful. Over the years, Kameron has made great strides. Other kids just can't get over it. Their brains won't allow them to. It's a hard thing to live with and it needs to be met with understanding and care by everyone involved in that child's life. Every small step that Kameron makes is a huge milestone for him. The fact that he can pick up play-doh, hold that rice krispie treat, eat those peas or corn, finger paint, and touch sand is something truly to be excited about even though everyone else his age has never had a problem with it. It's a real problem that real families all over the world deal with every day. And as their parents, we're SO proud of them with every obstacle they overcome!