You may or may not be aware of something called Sensory Processing Disorder. Back in the day it was called Sensory Integration Dysfunction. Dr. Ayers, who pretty much came up with the term describes it a little bit.. She states: “Good sensory processing enables all the impulses to flow easily and reach their destination quickly. Sensory integrative dysfunction is a sort of `traffic jam’ in the brain. Some bits of sensory information get `tied up in traffic,’ and certain parts of the brain do not get the sensory information they need to do their jobs.” (Ayres, p. 51)
First noticed something in Ryan when he was a baby… Noises would freak him out. Not like anything I had seen before. Vacuuming would have to be done in another room and even then, it was too loud. The jets flying over the house, the tv volume up too high, and those sorts of things. As he got older it was other things…clothing wasn’t right, had to wear socks inside out, cut off all tags, etc. Macaroni noodles had to be typical macaroni shape, forget it if they were the curly noodles!! He wouldn’t respond sometimes when we called him.. Lights were too bright.. Getting dirty was the worst…still is! The pediatrician didn’t say anything except that he was being a normal baby/child…
Kyle was a little different.. He would try a lot of new foods, drinks, etc, that wasn’t a problem. Sensitivity to change was huge though! He got upset when we remodeled our bathroom for example.. Going into a pool was quite an experience also. I remember that he was around 4 and we were in the mall with a double stroller and a few women commented amongst themselves how he was too old to be riding in a stroller. Kyle couldn’t walk very far for too long, especially in a mall. He did ride in a stroller for a long time! Those women had no idea that he had any issues..they should have kept their judgements to themselves. Even now, he is uncoordinated, tires quickly, and throws himself to the ground in a silly way when he is doing something unfamiliar. Unlike Ryan, Kyle almost sought out the dirt. Mud puddles? Sure! Dancing in the rain? Got it! Licking the brownie batter? Of course!
Lauren was the first one to get the pediatricians attention. Her issues were mostly food related. She would not eat the rice or baby food that you introduce at six months. She would gag. It took months to finally get her to eat some. The doctor noticed that she wasn’t growing ‘normally’ and referred her to therapy. We saw occupational therapists, speech therapists…This all started when she was ten months old. With their help we got her to start eating some normal foods! It was exciting! She still does not have the best diet in the world, but at least she is eating! I had been breastfeeding her that whole time and stopped when she was 2 1/2 years old. People would comment that if I stopped nursing her that she would eat…again..people had no idea of our struggles. We had to stop therapy when she turned 4 because they said that it was now a learned behavior, that they couldn’t change any more of her eating habits and that it was up to us to introduce new foods and such. To this day we still do a ‘new food of the day’ whenever there is something new, so that she can try it. She is very sensitive to sounds, holding her ears when the toilets flush or something as little as that.
The interesting thing is that Jeffy has all of these issues! I haven’t totally researched if it is hereditary or not, I have heard that it can be, but all three kids have gotten bits of pieces of all the things he has going on. The sun is too bright, the clothes are too itchy, the texture of food makes it so that no matter how good it smells, he can’t eat it.
There are so many things that I didn’t mention, but I think I wrote enough. There are times when people have judged me and/or my family for things out of our control. I don’t think that is fair, but that is just how society seems to be. Having sensory issues doesn’t make someone any less of a person. While Ryan may not want to grow up to do any ‘dirty job’, and Kyle may not want to grow up to be on a professional sports team, and Lauren may not want to be a chef, they have each found their own little niche. They understand their differences and don’t automatically judge someone who may have their own set of differences. I love our sensory spectrum family.
Yes, these images are all old, I thought it was fun to go back through them… 🙂