The best thing we have done as parents is sought out professional help. That has been our biggest source of support. Often, when we feel like we are isolated we have been so thankful to have a team of professionals around us who make sensory parenting feel normal and when we are struggling to see the sensory challenges because when we see behavior they help remind us. It’s part of the key to loving sensory parenting, because it’s so unlike typical parenting.
We didn’t seek out professional help for our daughter until she was 3 years old. We had been actively asking questions and talking to our medical doctor for about 2 years but constantly got brushed off that she would outgrow her challenging behaviors. As a family we ended up going to my private practice physician, her answers weren’t much better in regards to our daughter. I actually had printed off a sensory checklist and brought it into this doctor and asked if this was what was going on. Miss Sensory had fit into several categories, in which, I could almost check everything off. The doctor said, I am not familiar with Sensory Processing Disorder and said she didn’t think so. Basically what happened was that she told us this was normal she thought we needed more discipline. I looked at her and said, if this is normal then we need help as parents.
She referred us to a child psychologist who actually specialized in adoption. We were concerned about having attachment issues since we adopted (we later learned that we were not dealing with attachment issues. Having a child psychologist as part of our team was really significant for us getting direction. She was the one that after several sessions said, I am thinking that you are dealing with Sensory Challenges and that you need to see an Occupational Therapist.
Having a child psychologist along the way has helped us. I will never forget in one of the first sessions when she looked at me and said, “This has been really hard for you because you are raising a special needs child.” She gets this, she helps us see beyond the disorder and see the child. She has helped to build my confidence as a mom again. Because my biggest question has always been, “Is this just me, did I make Miss Sensory this way?” She has reminded me that this is not my fault.
One of the most significant things she ever said to me was, “This is really hard for you, but it is a million times harder for her.” That statement weighs heavily on my mind on days where Miss Sensory is practically gyrating around the room, touching everything, colliding with everything, chatting constantly and is a mini tornado mode.
Since every child with Sensory Processing Disorder has a unique set of needs your child and family may have higher needs in other areas besides psychology. If you are looking for a psychologist to help your family please keep in mind that not all psychologists are familiar with Sensory Processing Disorder, make sure you find one that is.
If you are still looking for professional support here’s a few types of therapists to look for.
-Occupational Therapist (OT): There are different options when it comes to occupational therapists. Private Therapists, usually at a hospital or medical facility and there are School Occupational Therapists. The difference is that School OT’s are usually more focused on academic skills versus a private therapist has a much broader reach in their therapy. A pediatric occupational therapist with experience working with sensory processing disorder is what we sought out.
-Speech and Language Pathologist (SLP): We have had testing done and will be working a little bit with a Speech and Language Therapist in 2016 but haven’t had a high need in this area yet.
-Pediatric Development Optometrist: We will be going in for testing for Visual Processing in 2016 (I LOVE the wait time to get into places). The visual processing concerns where noticed in the speech and language testing. Once we have the results then we will know what our needs are as far as therapy.
Where have you found the most professional support as a Sensory Parent?