Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Sensory Processing Disorder

Cajunchic's comment got me thinkin' about SPD.This is the face of Sensory Processing Disorder. The night JD was born my mom and I put clothes on him and he screamed so much that we didn't even change him into a "going home" outfit when he left the hospital.Notice how his mouth is slightly turned down. It was that way alot.

My son is 10 months old in this picture. We are at a backyard party, around people, so he is frowning.When he was a week old we went to visit my mom, he cried and was uncomfortable the whole time. How did he even know he was away from home, I wondered? His little hand is blurred because he is signing. He only learned one sign(the sign for "all done"), and he used it for everything. Here he probably wants me to pick him up and get him away from the photographer. As a young baby, he would even cry when my husband held him. One evening, my husband said he would hold him even if he cried to give me a break. JD cried and his eyes followed me as I walked around the house.

One time while having pictures made at Sears when JD was about 6 months old, I really thought something was seriously wrong w/ him. He was so captivated by the balls they placed in front of him as props, he WOULD NOT look up. We called, shouted, shook a can of pennies, he wasn't looking up from those balls. I told my pediatrician I thought he was autistic. He stifled a laugh and suggested we test his hearing.

Everyone thought I was crazy for "wishing" something on my son. I didn't want to label him, I wanted to find out what was wrong. I felt deep down that there was something not right. I did ask another pediatrician when JD was 3 why he was always "rubbing" people. The backs of my arms, my mom's legs.He would press his face into my skin. She said he was just a touchy person and to teach him the time and place to show affection.

Sometimes he seemed perfectly fine. Especially to people outside the family, even to extended family.But at home, it could be terrible. He hated transitions. He had crying outbursts when things didn't go his way.As he grew older, I became fearful about asking our current pediatrician because I didn't want her to tell me not to homeschool, so I kept silent.

JD ended up going to public preschool and 1/2 a year of Kindergarten. Neither teacher mentioned any problems. He loved the routine of it all and was on his best behavior most of the time at school.

Finally when JD was in second grade I spoke to the pediatrician. I immediately wished I'd done it sooner! She began asking me questions. When I told her he liked to rub, but not be rubbed, she seemed to know instantly that he had Sensory Processing Disorder(spd).She suggested he best tested. She also suspected that he had dyslexia. After having him tested I would find that to be another bullseye!

Wow.JD couldn't process correctly the information he received from his senses. Now I understood why.Why about alot of things.Why he was always hot, even as a newborn. Why his cheeks were always red. When he was in preschool, he told me he didn't like to wear pants as they "made his legs feel like they were on fire". Why he demanded his food be HOT and complained if it wasn't. Even now, he favors snack foods over real food. I didn't understand this until I took medicine that dulled my appetite. I didn't want dinner, but could be tempted by salty or sweet tastes as they aren't as bland tasting.

He is now 10 years old and has come along way. So have I. When I read The Out of Sync Child, I realized I had done alot of things right. Encouraging him when he seemed fearful instead of just letting him retreat. Doing alot of fun activities(like crafts and projects). Playing outside.

I will say here again that cutting out milk was huge. He does get some cheese now and then, but milk, ice cream, pudding, etc really do a number on him and he is a GROUCH for days when he has them.

He is still pretty serious, and a peculiar individual, but he does smile alot more and doesn't mind being around people. Many of the "SPD behaviors" he had when he was younger are gone.He still has the challenges of ADD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, some muscle and coordination delays and learning disabilities. Sometimes it breaks my heart that he has to work so hard to learn how to read or participate in karate or override so many feelings just to be able to act right and get along w/ others.

This post isn't the whole picture by any means, or the end of the story...


Cajunchic said...

Your son sounds so much like my daughter.

Feener said...

i started taking my 3 1/2 year old daughter to an OT for sensory issues. i am hoping i caught this early and it won't hinder her learning. she does great in preschool, but so much managment goes on at home for me.

aussie_grrl said...

Wow! I am a first year nursing student writing an essay on Sensory Integration Processing Dysfunction Disorder, and found this very helpful! Thank you for your insight into what it must be like for a little person to go through this.

Kind Regards,


Jennifer Sr. said...

thank you for the comments! I am so glad to know that our situation can mean something to someone else!!