The morning starts just fine most days, younger kids waking us and me waking the teen. Husband making lunches and me getting kids ready and packed up for school. Then the trials start. Clothes.
When you have a child with sensory processing disorder wearing anything (and I literally mean anything) can make them feel like it’s tight, itchy, loose, too soft, too warm, too hard, too pokey. Today it was the sleeves. Yesterday was quite warm here in MN and today is cold, so like all good moms I got out the lighter long sleeved shirts for the younger kids and that’s when the meltdown started. (And by meltdown I mean nuclear reaction that spread quickly through 2 kids and a teen to the point that everyone was ready to scream, light the house on fire and run away to join the circus)
This shirt is a cactus!
To my son the particular shirt felt like a cactus poking at his arms. We’ve dealt with issues with his SPD for a few years so the calm down ritual began, brushing, compression, bear walk, crab walk, and into a different less cactus shirt. Some people think I’m giving in when I do all that and “cater” to his “tantrums”. But those people don’t know that by going through some sensory exercises to give feedback to his brain it short circuits the outburst and makes the day go smoothly. In fact by the time we got to school he was his happy calm wonderful self.
SPD isn’t real…
If I had a dollar for every time I have heard that I would be so rich I wouldn’t ever have to worry about anything (not even itchy cactus shirts). Even mom’s who have kids with Autism look down on SPD as nothing compared to autism, which really hurts and makes it harder to go through life with a son who has multiple traits on the autistic spectrum…just not enough to be categorized as autism. Sensory processing disorder is real, it’s a daily struggle, and it’s a blessing too.
Wait, did you say blessing?
Sure did! Because of the SPD diagnosis with my son we have done lots of research on how to make our home and his life sensory friendly. We have been able to help others and even found out along the way that many kids have issues with sensory integration during their formative years. I’ve been able to tell our teachers “you have sensory implements in your classroom” because they don’t understand that the funny chairs or under inflated wedges actually help kids focus and engage their core muscles. I’ve been able to understand my son on a higher level and get to know his beautifully insightful mind that blooms just below the surface of his budding personality. Mostly my family has grown closer in learning to do sensory activities, doing more together, and hopefully someday we will all be able to go to church and concerts (aka quiet places that outbursts are frowned upon) together. Until then, we will keep dealing with cactus sleeves and the ever changing circumstances in our lives.