10 Things Parenting a Child with Sensory Processing Disorder has Taught Me…

I’m the first to admit, this sensory parenting thing, is THE hardest thing I have ever done.  And I’ve done a lot of big things in life.  But this one, has been the hardest.  It’s a rollercoaster, one minute you are up and the next second you are down, way down.  But, through it all, I have learned and grown so much.

10 things parenting a child with sensory processing disorder has taught me...

…to go slower. I’m learning how to take life slower together with my sensory child. Grading and force is something that is turned up in her system. I have always been someone who doesn’t slow down. Together, we are learning the beauty and success in moving at a slower pace in life. We plan more time to get ready in the morning because it’s better that way then in a rush.

…to make life simple. The simpler things are in life, the less chaotic everything else seems. When my house has less and my life has less, my stress level is lower. When everything has a place, everything else falls in line.   Life seems lighter and I am less overwhelmed.  And let me tell you, I am the queen of stuff so if I can do it, you can!

…what is really important in life. More often than not, parenting a child with sensory processing disorder feels like a crisis. When you live in crisis mode you learn more about the things that are really important in life. The family, the friends and the relationships around you. You let go of the things that are less important, for the things that are.

…this disorder is not my fault and it is not because of my parenting. Sensory Processing Disorder is a lifelong gig, I can get her all the best therapies. But this is a part of how she is and it is my job in life to help her learn to cope with it. I will not be able to cure her of this and it is not my fault that she was born with this.

…to make life interesting. We do a lot of therapy that becomes like a secret language, OT, PT, SLP. And, have you ever seen a body sox? It’s something that, let’s face it just makes you giggle a little as a parent. Watching your child waddle around looking like a little blue stretchy alien. You also do crazy awesome things like put a ball pit in the middle of your living because it actually makes life more sane.

…you must be able to laugh at yourself and your family. Sometimes the chaos of a sensory child is something you have to shrug your shoulders and laugh a little bit at. Like how, I buy 20 pairs of the same pants because it’s the only ones that get worn.   Even though those pants will only get worn outside the house, because the second she arrives home they get left by the door.

…life goes on after meltdowns.  Meltdowns are a combination of all the world ending movies in one tiny body. I’m talking the Armegeddon, Twister and 2012 (confession: I have never seen any of those movies but that’s seriously what a meltdown feels like as a Mom). In tradition of all great movies, life goes on. After the meltdown subsides and the feeling of the world ending releases. Life in fact goes on. Even after meltdown after meltdown, eventually it is bedtime.

…to find joy in the odd and unusual places. Parenting a quirky kid comes with unexpected moments and achievements that sometimes are a little different then the neuro-typical population. Some successes include wearing pants and not licking non-food items and they fill my heart with joy.  Bonus points for wearing pants when the weather is 20 below!

…to listen to your child. When your neurological system functions fully as a parent and you have a child who’s doesn’t, sometimes it’s a challenge. A lot of times sensory challenges often look like it’s more of a behavior issue. But, sometimes if you stop and listen and look beyond the behavior your child can tell you what is going on their body and what is bothering them.

…to embrace different. Parenting a child with sensory processing disorder means parenting differently. It means you don’t punish your child when they don’t want to put shoes on to leave the house. It means finding shoes that feel just right. It means finding the “just right” for them in everyday situations, the right socks or the right food texture.  Because when you hear that sigh of relief from them and you both know that it’s all going to be ok, that is the greatest thing to achieve as a mom.

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11 thoughts on “10 Things Parenting a Child with Sensory Processing Disorder has Taught Me…

  1. Jackie

    What a lovely list! I agree, I’ve had to learn to slow down and I changed my perspective of what was important to me. And I love odd places, so that’s a plus:-)

  2. Kmarie

    Yes I have sensory needs and so do my children…and some days are easier than others! I love your point about patience and humour and the stunning beauty in the simple life…sometimes it makes up for our meltdowns…other times…not so much:) A little understanding goes a long way…and it’s beautiful that you are striving for that in the tougher moments:)

    1. sensorymom@outlook.com Post author

      Thank you for your sweet words! You are so true, understanding makes all the difference! I love the feeling of success with sensory needs it melts my heart when I get it “right” for my sweet girl!

  3. Heather

    This is a lovely post. Your words shared a valuable awareness of sensory challenges; with understanding comes the importance of your reference to finding just the right shoes to wear. Thanks!

  4. Nisa Kat

    It is a comfort to know someone else truly understands. You make great points, thank you for sharing. I love when people say “there is nothing wrong with him, he is just like the other kids.” I smile and think wow my hard work has paid off he fits in, that person has no clue how much work was involved.

  5. Lana Garcia

    It’s all so true! My strange order of 3 packs of hanes boys white socks (that’s all she will wear) She will not walk on the tile bare footed as it feels funny/grose, or its always dirty. trying to find the and buy the same pair of stretchy pants 2 sizes bigger and buying both pair, so she has one to wear while I’m washing the other pair! lol Having her tennis shoes always in the same place and the laces loosened to the point of almost falling off. Having to put away my pride when she wears those same tennis shoes to church with a short sleve, no lace, certain color, certain texture inside dress. Hey… We’re just lucky she wears under where on sundays! That’s the only rule, undies under the dress on sunday, if only for a few hours. Of course they’re 1- 2 sizes bigger and we only own 5 kinds that “feel” ok. Sometimes, if you don’t laugh at these situations, you’ll be beside yourself crying. Thank you all for making me feel I’m not alone.


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