October is Sensory Processing Disorder
month. The blogospere if full of posts about it- finally! When I first came to discover SPD, I was all by my lonesome and it was not fun.
I hope everyone will take a chance to familiarize themselves with the stories of some of this bloggers whose lives have been touched by Sensory Processing Disorder: Mommy Vents
, Pancakes Gone Awry
, and Good Enough Mom
and many more- follow links from these posts.
It's so funny that today I noticed all these posts popping up because we had such a sensory processing disorder kind of weekend... I was planning on writing this post anyway so I am glad that my voice will now be joining many others.
Caroline was first diagnosed with SPD three years ago and the progress she has made has been truly remarkable. Her tolerance for change, her coordination, her ability to play happily at the beach are among the many things that have shocked me in the past six months. We have done things I never thought we would do. We are even taking a break from occupational therapy. While I know we never would have gotten to where we are without it, it just seemed time to fit some others things into our week, to let the therapy go for awhile. And we are surviving without it.
Perhaps though, OTs should have some sort of special boot camp for SPD kids to attend during the week of Halloween...
We were invited to a few different Halloween functions this weekend. Three times, I walked into a room and thought to myself, "We aren't going to last 20 minutes." And I was right. Three times we were in small rooms with too many people, too much noise, too little space and too much sugar. Caroline melted down each time in a way I haven't seen in months. You could just see that little SPD part of her rearing it's ugly head. Other kids seemed to be struggling too but as has always been the case, Caroline and her SPD just took the struggle up a notch or two.
I have always had a theory about SPD that was further supported this weekend. I believe that it is a neurologically based disorder- no question. When I look at my two children, it is as clear as day that one of them has SPD and one does not. However, I believe that our society has made SPD worse. I have always said that if Caroline lived on a farm in the eighteenth century, rising early, working hard with her body in the fresh air, talking with friends and playing her SPD characteristics would not have been seen. She would have moved her body in the way and in the space that it needs.
After three horrible Halloween experiences, we attended a friend's pumpkin carving party yesterday afternoon. Caroline was spent after all of our activities but I decided to forge forward. As soon as we arrived, I knew we would be fine. The event was outside. There were only about five families there. There was plenty of food. There was plenty of space and there was plenty of fun. In addition to carving pumpkins and making candied and caramel apples, the children played. That's it. They played with sticks. They ran. They planted pumpkin seeds. They built with rocks. They were kids in the great outdoors doing what their little bodies are meant to do. No meltdowns. No tears. Just fun.
The event was like being on that farm- the farm that I imagine would make all the SPD go away. Perhaps as I move through this week, I can try as often as I can to remember to get the girls outside, to run and to play. To fight the crazy Halloween week- to come armed to trick or treating with a supply of good energy and happy times.
Perhaps this is why October is Sensory Processing Disorder month. Perhaps the creator knew that all of the moms with kids diagnosed with a sensory processing disorder would need a little extra love by the time the month drew to a close.