Opening Up-Sensory Processing Disorder(SPD)
Every parent when you are starting out, you see this perfect little angel. Your child with all their future and life ahead of them. Everything will be perfect, they will go to the best schools the best colleges, become doctors, lawyers, athletes, maybe, even president! You never think starting out that anything could or will go wrong and you as the parent want to make sure of that. I know because I am the same way. I have two daughters one is 4 and has a larger then life personality and is smart as a whip. Then I have my 2 year old Chloe, she is my angel, my sunshine, my sweet little sensory seeker little girl.
Chloe has always been very mobile and very much an independent kid. She enjoyed playing quietly and studying her toys rather then playing with them. Even before she could walk she seemed to always be moving and then when she started walking she was up and running. She never sits still, she always has to carry a million toys in her hand and squeeze really hard. She climbs, and jumps and bounce for a long time, we have gone through two mattresses cribs!! Me and my husband didn't think anything about it because hey every child is different and when it came to the differences between her and her sister there were many. As some time passed we were approaching her second birthday and Chloe still was not saying even simple words yet, mommy, daddy, nothing. She babbles and uses hand gestures and makes lots of noises even hums but no words. Like any other parent we were concerned but as any parent knows when you have something like that other parents are always right there to hand over their own advice or experiences. We were told, "don't worry she will grow out of it", "give it some time", "her sister talks for her", "she just isn't ready yet". Therefore, thinking maybe we were not working hard enough with her, we put ourselves into overdrive! Working all the time, trying different techniques but it seemed we could never keep her attention, it would appear that most of the time she was just ignoring us, she wasn't even turning to her name. We cut out t.v. and music and try to clear out her room so she would focus on us only and it seemed just to get worse!! What was going on? What were we doing wrong?
Chloe turned 2 and even with all our work we didn't seem to be getting very far. Therefore, we decided to take her in and have our family doctor take a look to see if something was going on that we hadn't notice. Now, I have to say that we are very lucky we have a great family doctor, he has been my personal doctor since I was 11 and delivered both my babies. However, sometimes family doctors have very limited experience dealing with special needs children. The doctor told us she was healthy, didn't seem to have any problems with hearing, and maybe she just had a delayed speech problem. Even though that calmed me a bit he decided to refer us to First Steps, which is a state run program that helps with developmental delays in young children. At first I was a little hesitant, I kept telling myself maybe it was just a little delay and give it more time, but you mother's out there will know that you have an instinct about your children and there was something that kept nagging at me. The best advice I have to give to parents is NEVER ignore that most basic parental instinct when it comes to your child. You know your child best and you are the only one that can fight for your child and their needs.
The day of the evaluation came and I was so nervous, you don't know how others will look at you or your child. The therapists that came out and saw Chloe were very nice and calm and put me at ease right away. They asked a lot of questions and of course when you are with your child day to day some times you get into a routine and don't think it is odd or different because I didn't sit around and compare all day if what my child was doing is normal or not. The end of the session came and after all the notes were taken they told me Chloe showed signs of SPD(sensory processing disorder). What??? I had heard of Autism, Asberger's, ADD, ADHD, but not SPD. They gave me an explanation and explained further that Chloe was a sensory seeker, she needs more stimulation then other children and that SPD was like a "traffic jam" in regard to her senses and how she interpreted her environment. Before the therapists left they gave me a book to purchase, which is posted below and I would recommend it to anyone starting out or worried that their child might have sensory issues, it is easy to understand and helped me a lot to understand Chloe and her behavior. After, reading the book it was like a revelation, so many things clicked into place and started putting in my mind how Chloe was looking at the world! However, the best part of their departure was the therapist looking at me, taking my hand and saying," take a deep breath, she is going to be alright". I pass that on to any newcomers to this page, "Take a deep breath, your child is going to be alright. We will get through this together"!