Feature photo credit: Marian Ashley Photography
My son was identified about a year ago as having SPD. If he could tell his story, I imagine it might be something like this:
Hey, I am five years old and this is kind of how my day goes.
When I wake up in the morning, I may or may not have slept well, depending on how much was going through my brain and whether or not the melatonin tablet worked this time. There’s a chance I may have woken up during the night and climbed into my parents’ bed. I may have gone back to sleep there or stayed away for hours with my mind racing and my body wanting so badly to get up and move.
My mommy and daddy try to keep me in a routine so that I can get things done in the morning. I have to make my bed, eat breakfast, and get dressed before any screen time or other activities. Otherwise, I get so distracted I may not be able to get these things done. Some days it’s very easy to do these things and I do them quickly. Other times, I don’t know why, but it’s hard to make my body obey my mind. It may have something to do with how well I slept but I’m not sure. Sometimes it’s just different.
My mommy works at home in the mornings so while she is working I will watch TV, play games on my tablet, or play with my toys. My favorite thing is drawing or making crafts. Most days I do pretty well at this, but there are some days when I just can’t stop moving and talking and disrupt Mommy’s work. I know it makes it harder for her but I just can’t help it. My mind is just working so fast and some mornings it just all overwhelms me. I need to be near her, asking for hugs, sitting in her lap, clinging to her. I just have to be close to her. She gets frustrated sometimes, but always gives me a hug when I need one, and sometimes stops working to make sure I’m okay.
I go to school for about three hours a day. Last year, school was very hard for me because I couldn’t sit still and some activities were very overwhelming for me. So I acted out. This year school is a little better because I’ve gotten some help with my overwhelming feelings so I handle them better than I used to. I think it also helps that I don’t have to be there all day anymore with Mommy at home. I love school and learning, and playing with my friends. Sometimes it’s hard to keep my hands to myself because I need human contact. I love giving hugs and not everybody likes that. I’m learning how to give other people their space. Recess is my favorite because I can run and climb and make noise as much as I want. I love to make loud noises but I don’t like to hear them. My ears are very sensitive and when there is too much noise I cover my ears or I act out and go a little crazy. The flushing toilet and the vacuum cleaner are the worst noises to me.
Sometimes we have activities after school. I go to see Ms. Dani sometimes and play with her (my mommy calls it OT). We have a lot of fun but there are some parts of it I don’t like as much as others. I can be a little stubborn about that but I think she is helping me do better at school and home and not be so wild. We’ve tried a couple of other activities after school, like karate, but they never seem to work out. It’s all a little overwhelming for me and the unknown is kind of scary. I told Mommy I would try piano lessons so that’s what we’ll probably try next. I love musical instruments.
Sometimes I feel really good and calm and my time at home after school goes really well. Sometimes I’ve held in everything all day and then go a little crazy at night. It’s mostly because I’m just so tired, though. When I get tired I get a little wild. Well, a lot wild. I don’t really know why or how to explain it. Dinner time is hard because I usually can’t sit still that long to eat all my dinner. My mommy and daddy do pretty well at knowing when I’m tired and need an early bedtime. They try to make me go to bed at about the same time every night. It helps me to stay calm during the day. Other people don’t always understand that.
We have stuff to do at night sometimes, like church on Wednesday nights. It makes my bedtime a little later, but I have gotten used to the routine being a little different when I go to Cubbies. Mommy still tries to get me home earlier, even though she has to leave choir early. It’s important to her and my daddy that I get enough rest. It’s probably the most important thing for helping me have a good day when I wake up.
I don’t really always know why I do the things I do. I love to play rough and run and jump and balance on the back of the couch (which drives my mommy and daddy crazy because they are afraid I will get hurt). Mommy says she sees a lot of ER visits in my future because I do wild things so much. I don’t really know how to explain why I like it. I also don’t know why I talk so loud sometimes or make noises to myself when I’m supposed to be quiet. But then sometimes I like to sit quietly and draw or build with Legos. Those things help me to be calm at least for a little while.
My mommy and daddy tell me how proud they are of me and how well I’m doing. I do feel better than I used to. I don’t feel so out of control like I used to, but sometimes I am a little. Everyone says how smart I am. (Ms. Dani even called me a genius, whatever that means.)
I love smiley face days. I love the days when I feel like I can control my body and my mind isn’t so crazy. I hope when I grow up I can have those days every day.
My son was identified by an occupational therapist as having sensory processing disorder. He is what is known as a seeker, for the most part, although he has some avoider tendencies with his auditory and oral senses. He craves movement, human contact, and rough play. There is more information that explains it better than I can at the Star Institute website.
Love in Christ,