Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Sensory Sensitive Child

The first of my posts will deal with the sensory sensitive child. If you have found my blog by searching 'sensory processing disorder,' you are most likely a very frustrated, loving parent, looking for answers. I hope to be one of the first to give you what you are seeking.

What is SPD? Sensory processing is something we all do. We learn to use the information given to us by our senses and it helps us learn to walk, tie our shoes, know the difference of a dime and quarter by touch alone and filter out unncessary information. We think about senses as being sight, touch, smell, taste and hearing. All true.

However, we have 2 extra senses. they are automatic and they are very very necessary.

Propreception is the 'fight or flight' response. Ever had your hair stand up on end? Or knew someone was in the room before you saw them? That is propreception at work.

Vestibular is where you are in space. In relation to gravity. This morning you stepped out of bed and your feet hit the floor. You did not have to think where to put your feet or modulate how hard the feet hit, your body knew right where it was. Your brain didn't help you out, your body just knew.

In a sensory sensitive child's world, his 'wiring' is off. None of his senses work correctly....Instead of fight or flight sometimes, it is always fight or flight, ..too sensitive they flee, not sensitive enough they fight. No balance and no middle ground. he has no idea where in space he is, so he is clumsy, falls, bumps into walls or people.

She has no filters, so the 5 original senses are either heightened to the extent that hairbrushing is excrutiating, or lowered so much that he can eat a bowl of hot sauce and spin on a tire swing for hours. Sounds like the vacuum, hair clippers or thunder can literally make a child scream in pain. Or they refuse to eat anything but one particular food, as all other foods are 'mushy' or 'gross.' Or they stem or do repetitive movements to calm themselves. Or they are constantly wearing shoes on the wrong feet, or they don't cry when the doctor gives them shots or they fall.

If this sounds like your child, he may be sensory sensitive.

Questions? feel free to comment on any post you like. I will be blogging often with help and advocacy and answers. Everything from school to family life, to unsupportive spouses and unbelieving doctors. How to's for eating, sleeping, playing and calming. Even getting the state to step up and pay for your childs' therapy after age 3 (yes, it can be done!) with therapy, the earlier, the better. Links for indoor swings, weighted blankets, chewy tubes and bumpy seats.

As to the parent that is reading this post, you can and will compensate, and your child is very very special. She (or he) needs you desperately right now, and you may be the only one to help her. I believe things happen for a reason, and you have been given a special gift, an SPD child.

Love them, and know you are not alone.