If you’ve come here lately you may have noticed that I’ve been working on a series concerning the topic of SPD or rather Sensory Processing Disorder, in order to bring more awareness to those who do not understand this disorder, what it is and how to cope with it if you are a parent of a child with SPD.
My son monkey who is six has SPD and although every child is different. I want to branch out and share the ups and downs of dealing with SPD, the symptoms and the understanding that these children who suffer with SPD aren’t bad kids with bad parents, but are just kids. They are normal, loving and engaging but just process things differently than the rest of us.
My son has a sensitivity to light
Okay not totally strange, I know. Yet different. When monkey wakes up his eyes bother him each and every day, and lately they’ve been bothering him much more than before. Like this morning for instance.
He woke up and was a bit upset because his eyes had trouble adjusting to the light. We had to keep the house dark and curtains closed for the latter part of the morning. On the sunglasses went (mine) because the light bothered him so much. I have yet to find him sunglasses for kids that actually help. We’re working on it.
What is Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) ?
SPD (formerly known as sensory integration dysfunction) is a condition when sensory signals don’t get organized into their appropriate responses.
So what does that really mean though?
Well it means that kids with SPD find it hard to process and act upon information received from their brain to their senses, which creates specific challenges for them in performing every day normal tasks that you and I might find easy.
My son finds things either overwhelming at times or emotional and often his behavior is perceived as erratic or bad. This isn’t the case. Sure, sometimes he is just being six and difficult and moody. But other times he needs help with things he can’t process or figure out on his own, no matter how many times it is explained.
SPD isn’t black or white. There are many many shades of grey in-between and no two children with SPD are the same, nor are the senses that are affected. Highly sensitive children can be sensitive to lights, smells, sounds, words and even their environments. They can lead regular lives, being kids, playing with friends but are born with a heightened awareness of things.
For example: My son smells his food before eating it, especially if it is something new. He can actually smell stuff in his food unlike other children his age, things like pepper or spices. He is also acutely aware of people’s emotions, based on their tone of voice, facial expressions and even body language, whereas most children his age (age six) would be inclined to just ignore those cues.
I don’t like to say my son has SPD because I hate labels, and that is just a diagnosis. My monkey is quirky, fun-loving, uniquely engaged in life, and has special abilities (removing the DIS). He is smart, funny and although he may not understand his uniqueness. It’s my job as a caregiver and his mother to teach him that his sensory challenges are good traits, strong characteristic that can help him in life rather than hinder him.
So the next time you see a child shriek because the room is too loud and act up because there are just too many people to deal with. Don’t eyeball the parents and shame them, don’t label the child as bad or misguided. Understand there may be an underlying cause that keeps the child from processing information the way you and I do.
For more information on SPD visit the Canadian homepage http://www.spdcanada.org/