When our daughter was first diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder, I had this huge moment of relief. I realized this was finally it. Sensory Processing Disorder had been what we were dealing with. I felt like I was finally getting answers to the behavior challenges in our home. It was all coming together, crystal clear.
I learned everything possible about Sensory Processing Disorder, I feel like I could have had a degree in it. I parented, thinking first about sensory and then thinking about everything else.
To me, this was parenting as a sensory smart parent, right? I looked at everything from a sensory perspective and how it would affect our daughter and how I could problem-solve these situations.
It made sense to me that we were surrounded by things that her nervous system didn’t know how to process. That physically she was receiving all these mixed messages and they came out behaviorally because she didn’t know how to deal with it.
But there was something I missed.
When we were going places I would ask myself:
Is it going to be loud? Pack noise-canceling headphones.
Is it going to be crowded? Keep her close and do lots of hugs (deep pressure).
Is it going to be lots of smells? Give her bands with calming scents.
Is it going to be a lot of things to see? Bring some dark sunglasses or a hat.
Is she going to need a break? Bring some books and plan an escape route.
Anytime we encountered a problem…my sensory smart parenting had an answer.
Problem: Didn’t eat her carrots.
My Sensory Smart Parenting: I must have cooked them too long so they were too mushy.
Problem: Didn’t want to wear her shoes.
My Sensory Smart Parenting: They must not be tight enough on the top of her foot. She seeks deep pressure in her feet.
Problem: Didn’t want to tie her shoes.
My Sensory Smart Parenting: It must be that she can’t get them tight enough, the feet thing again.
Problem: Didn’t want to go into a store.
My Sensory Smart Parenting: Thinking the store was too bright, loud, smelly.
My sensory smart parenting had the reason for everything. Maybe you are like me and love to have a reason for things. I always loved math, the answers were never abstract. It made sense.
After we received more diagnosis, things got a little muddier. I have often caught myself thinking, “Oh, this is an ADHD thing, ASD thing, SPD thing or because of Anxiety.” But, I couldn’t pair behaviors with each specific diagnosis. I couldn’t pinpoint or problem-solve situations because we now had so many things on our list.
It’s been 6 years since that initial diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder.
And it took me that long to learn this.
I was missing something.
For the past year, our daughter has been struggling with wanting to shower. I did my best sensory mom job at problem-solving this situation. I could not figure out what was going on.
No matter what I did. The shower was our biggest battle. No form of motivation. No changes of towels, soaps, time, rewards. Nothing helped!
After spending time with another mom of a child the same age and finding out we had the same problem, our girls didn’t want to shower, I realized that this was a typical kid problem.
I was shocked. Typical kid problems have NEVER been on my radar. Somewhere along the way, I forgot to think that way.
It had nothing to do with the temperature of the water, how the water felt on her skin, noise from the bathroom fan or the shower, the towels, the soap, or the bathmat.
It was as simple as she’s a kid.
And sometimes we forget that.
When our kids get diagnosed we do everything possible to learn their disorders and what to do about them. We see everything through our new “sensory” lenses. We get lost in problem-solving and finding strategies that work because we are desperate for solutions.
We want to help our kids so much, that is at the core of our heart. We want them to be as successful as they can possibly be.
But, we forget they are just a kid, who can experience things that are typical for their age and development.
So consider this my public PSA, when your child is diagnosed, become an expert in their diagnosis but don’t forget that they are still just a kid.
This is a reminder that, yes, they still may have problems that all kids may have at some point. AKA… typical kid problems.
Yes, they will have really strange behaviors sometimes, because they are kids and kids behave weird sometimes. I’m guessing you can think of one or more weird behavior your child has right now!
Anyone else have a kiddo who loves to make weird noises with their mouth? Our daughter loves it! I have always seen this is being an oral sensory seeking issue, with a side of auditory needs. Which it could very well be. It could also be she has a high level of curiosity and because making weird noises is just so cool and fun. Lucky us!
Because she’s a kid, and maybe a future beatboxer. Who knows!
This year we are conquering our chaos and planning a purpose-filled year… to live Your Best Life Now.
Welcome to Voices of Special Needs Blog Hop — a monthly gathering of posts from special needs bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and Mommy Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about having a special needs kiddo — from Sensory Processing Disorder to ADHD, from Autism to Dyslexia!