Sensory Processing Disorder

You guys....we had the most amazing weekend. Truly. We spent lots of time outside and I didn't pass out or get sick once. I mean, I DID need to go to bed at 7 or 8pm twice but I felt pretty good through this great Independence weekend. Ya know...minus the scalding sun burn I have now...which is what I get for sitting outside for so long.

One of the other things we did besides sit out side was create a calm-down-corner/reading nook for our oldest son.

Yo has SPD (sensory processing disorder) and expressive/receptive language impairment. You're probably thinking one of two things:
1) What the hell is that?
2) Doesn't EVERY kid have something nowadays?

So, let me answer #2 first - no. Not every kid has something. If you met my oldest, you would think he's a perfectly "normal" kid...until you spend some time with him. Then you start to see his little quirks. A therapist last year told us he seemed fine and would grow out of his quirky behavior. In the course of a year, we learned that's not entirely true and these aren't really quirks.

Which brings me to answer #1: According to WebMDSensory processing disorder is a condition in which the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes in through the senses. ... Some people with sensory processing disorder are oversensitive to things in their environment. Common sounds may be painful or overwhelming. 

Imagine you're at a rock concert and you REALLY love the song playing but your bff wants to tell you this story about someone. You want to listen to them both but it's physically impossible. So you tune out your friend or the song. You may hear background noise but that's all it is. For kids with SPD, life is like being at that rock concert.

Essentially, what was explained to us is that Yo's nervous system never formed properly so the connections between his nerves and the brain - and the subsequent receptors - were never created to some extent. So, he had some developmental delays and some speech issues. Kids with SPD generally have some problems paying attention, going to the bathroom (unlike most kids their age), and multi-tasking. So, with Yo, if he's coloring at school, he's doing it to calm the chaos and tune everything that's overwhelming out. Sounds like a great coping mechanism, right? Wrong. When he's so immersed in something, he's missing the body's other connections like the sensation to go to the bathroom. And if you try to take away his coloring or tell him he cannot do something, he has a meltdown. Not a tantrum, a meltdown.

Kids with SPD often need sensory breaks which is kind of like a chance to recharge after sedentary activities. Adults will go on coffee breaks, kids have a spectrum of activities that range from "heavy lifting" (pushing a broom) to sitting in a tightly wound swing that makes them feel safe.

So, getting back to this calm-down-corner we's essentially a closely-confined space where Yo can read or calm down when he's feeling overwhelmed. We have a surgical scrubbing brush we use to stimulate Yo - sometimes it's calming and sometimes he gets him completely wired up. When we get him wired up, the idea is to have him sit in his reading nook to chill out. Other ideas from his occupational therapist where yoga moves that don't include going upside down (it's overly stimulating) and listening to music at a low volume while in his reading nook.

In a nutshell, that's what we've been dealing with. I'm sure we'll revisit this topic soon...


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