Wednesday, March 27, 2013


I wasn't going to write about it.

I was so worried this little blog was starting to reveal too many intimate details of my children's lives.  Details maybe they did not want the world to read, see, or know.

Now I feel it can only help (us, others, you?) if I talk about it.  It is not hurting my children to illuminate this journey we've been on for months. Years if we really trace it all back.  We have been walking this unknown path together, sometimes getting pricked by sticker bushes, other times tickled with dandelion puffs.  All the while moving closer to things making more sense.

Things are starting to make a lot more sense now.

Grayson has been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder.  His sister is on her way to being diagnosed as well.

As I've mentioned before, Grayson has always been a little too much like me with his awareness.  "Hyper-sensitive," I called it.  "Connected to the universe" I say.  He was a baby like no other: acutely aware and reactive to his surroundings, sounding off with cries wails when the light, temperature, temperament of people near him changed.

I heard all the parenting advice for both of my kids.  Some meaning well.  Some just meaning mean:

"You're spoiling him by holding him all the time."
"He just needs Day Care." 
"Boy, you sure have your hands full with this one!"
"You have very high maintenance children."
"She is a spirited one."
"You are not disciplining them well enough."
"He reminds me of this kid with autism I babysit."
"Nothing wrong with spanking sometimes."
"Maybe they need less sugar in their diet."

Looking back, Grayson and Abby were teaching me from the very beginning.

They were showing me who they were and what they needed from the world before they could walk.  Grayson expressed himself in poems:  Mommy, dat horse sings for hims food.  Abby, our ballerina, has never remained seated in a restaurant that has piped in music.  She has done interpretive dances for audiences all over: Ruby Tuesday, Outback, and Silver Diner.

But both of my babies suffered when I wasn't getting it.  (For Grayson) Why won't you sleep?  Why do you hate play dates?  Why can't you just sit in the swing for a few minutes while I cook dinner? Why won't you wear anything with seams? (For Abby) Why do you scream when Daddy washes your hair?  Why are you always naked?! Why do you talk SO LOUD all the time, child?  Why am I cleaning up yet another mess?  Did you seriously just hit your head again?


Thank God I have enough experience in special education to know about sensory integration issues.  Both kids have them.  Both kids are struggling in their day-to-day lives because of the sensory issues.  Both kids needed evaluating and soon.

Grayson has been in Occupational Therapy for four weeks and it has produced absolute magic.  Not kidding when I say magic.  His behaviors have gone from crippling worry (stomachaches, sobbing before school, headaches, migraines resulting in hours of projectile vomiting, meltdowns, tantrums, debilitating irrational fears, obsessing and perseverating over time and numbers, roller coaster mood swings, you name it Dude had it) to becoming a well balanced, happy, (according to his teachers) animated jokester of a child! 

Had I not witnessed the change myself, I would not believe it.

I'm here to tell you Occupational Therapy works. (For Grayson, Therapeutic Listening has worked the most, he had SEVERE auditory discrimination stuff going on.)

Don't you just want to live here?

If your child is like mine or sounds a bit "difficult, sensitive, hyper aware, touchy, fragile," send me an email and I will be happy to talk with you more in detail about the steps it took us to get our Pediatrician/Occupation Therapist diagnosis.  It's not easy and sometimes insurance makes it feel like juggling chainsaws but it's possible.  And holy love of nutmeg, it is SO worth it!

From now on, I intend to write about Sensory Processing Disorder often.  I am reading everything.  All of it.  The entire internet full of it.  I am obsessed with helping my children live the best life they can.  And along the way guess what?  I'm beginning to understand myself.  Yeah, shocker.  I'm the one who gave it to them.  Damn you, genetic pool of wonder.

Don't worry, we will still have loads of marital, canine, children faux pas to show off around here but no more hiding away the good stuff.


Sensory Processing Disorder.  Don't let the Disorder part scare you.  It's just "Order" with a crappy prefix.  Oh, and if you're worried that Sensory Processing Disorder is not real (maybe your doctor doesn't recognize it because it's not yet listed in the DSM-V), remind yourself that labels are only as important as the treatment.  I could not care less if they called it Spatula Prostate Dysmorphia.  It would probably get put in that DSM-V book if that were the case.  Ha.

Let's rejoice in the journey.  Our seamlsess, 100% cotton, sound-proof, balance beam walking, yoga ball bouncing uphill journey.


A Speckled Trout said...

You are a phenomenal mom and amazing teacher. Keep marching, Mama.

Anna See said...

This is important to share, OSMA! So many people can learn from it. Thank you. I wish there had been blogs and honest moms when my kids were younger. xoxo

Crystal D said...

Our beloved babysitter Ali was in school for OT the whole time she watched my little girls in Morgantown. Now she does pediatric OT in Annapolis. She is wonderful and has recommended a weighted blanket for Amelia for years. (so, if you make one, let me know) She has gone through extremely mild sensory issues for years. We've had underwear issues and pants problems and OH tags, not TAGS!! She's our nervous Nelly and we can't lift her 2" off the ground without her shaking and squealing. You should have seen her trying to take gymnastics and not go off the floor or upside down.
I've always told her she makes me know I am a mom, 24/7. I don't ever get a break from that one. AND everything went into her mouth for years. Even scissors! Yes scissors! (remember 24/7) One time her whole mouth and lips turned blue. No clue what she sucked on or sucked in or licked to make that happen. The doctor was at a loss.
But I will say, she seems to be growing out of most of the sensory stuff. She is still very touchy feely and is working through some very sloppy handwriting issues. But she can even wear jeans now!! Keep up the OT. I bet he's a new guy by next year.

Alison said...

Thank you for sharing your experience. I think many parents who are at the beginning of this journey (and without even realizing it) will find the information and experience you offer, a relief and a great help.

OSMA said...

SpeckT, you are very kind to this lost mom who is trucking along like a freight train. Thank you.

Anna, I really hope so. When I google SPD, not many blogs pop up so maybe this will be starting point for some. It always helps to read first hand vs. medical jargon. I wish I found you a long time ago but am so lucky to have found you at all.

CrystalD, Score w/the knowledgeable babysitter! I am actually considering making a weighted blanket for Abs. Only it will undoubtedly become a twin size paper weight w/my sewing skills. It has truly been an awe-inspiring transformation. I can see the kid who has been hiding underneath all the anxious thoughts/behaviors. He seems free and so happy now. Not always but such progress from a year ago. Glad to hear some grow out of this phase. There might be hope for dear Abby yet...she is starting down similar road on opposite spectrum.

OSMA said...

Alison, Thank you for leaving a comment. I sure hope this entry does help even one person looking for answers. I would still be visiting a hundred doctors and researching a million treatments if I had not landed on the OT.

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