Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD, formerly known as "sensory integration dysfunction") is a condition that exists when sensory signals don't get organized into appropriate responses. - SPD Foundation website
You know, I'm often asked how I knew that my daughter (The Wild Child) had Sensory Processing Disorder (also called Sensory Integration Disorder). How did I know that something was off?
That's a loaded question. It wasn't something that just "hit" me. And honestly, we didn't get to that diagnosis quickly.
WC was born with a hemangioma, which ulcerated after a few weeks. This wound was open for about 2 1/2 months, and she was in great pain. So from the beginning, there was rage and we were unable to comfort her. You can read more about that here.
Of course the hemangioma did eventually heal, but we were left with what we thought were behavior issues. She became a biter (others and even herself!) and was quite aggressive around 18 months. There was a one-week suspension from daycare and many many many phone calls and meetings.
Right after her second birthday, I stumbled into a biting workshop at our local county health department and they mentioned SPD and it absolutely snowballed from there. Evaluations, more meetings, referrals, and we found our dream OT who finally helped us reach and slowly get a handle on our girl.
It's been about 2 years since our diagnosis, and we've come a long way. We're still doing maintenance listening therapy and seeing a behavior therapist that offices with out OT, but WC has become so much easier to be around- her teachers even describe her as delightful at times!
Many, many books were recommended to me but one that hit home on our journey was The Out-of-Sync Child. I checked it out from our local library and flipped through it on my way out the door. After a few seconds of flipping, I felt my eyes fill up with tears and I moved towards the wall so I could lean against it for a second.
I found it. I found a paragraph that I should print out and give to everyone that knows WC.
From page 193:
A mother wrote me this letter: "By the time Rob was two, I felt he had a special need, but I couldn't figure out what it was. He required constant attention. Time-outs didn't work because I couldn't contain him. He was defiant, disobedient, disrespectful, and demanding. He was always busy, always talking (great verbal skills!), strong willed, contrary, and easily frustrated. I felt blessed to have Rob, and wouldn't trade him for the world, of course, but he constantly tested and rejected me."
And more on the next page.
"What was the reason for his behavior? How could I regain control? What method of discipline would get through to him? If his behavior was an attempt to get my attention, how could I supply it in a way that would satisfy him? How could I help a high-energy child channel his energy in a positive direction? I was desperate for answers."
If you replaced Rob's name with WC's and switched out them hes and hims for shes and hers, I could have written that, word for word.
You don't know how good it feels to know that you are not alone.
To read more about our Sensory Processing Disorder journey, click here.
In addition, here are some other books I have found helpful.
Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links.