Two years ago my five year old daughter was diagnosed with SPD or Sensory Processing Disorder. It means that her brain processes the stimuli around her in a different way than it does other people. Hers is a mild one; the extremes can often be confused with Autism.
Living with SPD means a little trip to the museum of natural science can spark a mini freakout. When we went during our recent vacation, she walked in, looked around, and stated that she wanted to go home. I had to pick her up with her trembling and sit her down on a bench in the Paleontology hall (think lots and lots of dinosaurs--who wouldn't be intimidated). I listened to her for about 5-7 minutes describe the bones, the pictures, the colors of the lights, the way the exhibits looked--and then she said she was ready. And then I could barely keep up with her happy self.
Living with SPD means that to be in my parent's pool means she wants to grab a hold with both hands on the side and not let go. The fear from the sensation of the water too close to her neck was too much for her. It took three straight days in the pool and about 15 minutes of working with her--hold on to the side with one hand, then, pretend surfing on momma's knees like surfer Barbie, then finally, trusting that she can kick and use her arms to swim with me holding her waist. (But she had no qualms at the beach on day four--go figure).
Living with SPD means taking her to dance class and waiting for her to stop murmuring with her hand clutched to her mouth as she gets used to the room and the people. Every week. I tell her that it is okay for us to leave but she LOVES dancing and wants to stay. So, I wait until she says it is okay. She begs to stay. And while I sit fatigued for the next 45 minutes, she dances and laughs as if the first five minutes had never occured.
Living with SPD is tiring.
Living with SPD takes understanding and more patience than I think I have at times.
Living with SPD means that I am so incredibly grateful and thrilled when she sings and performs in front of people at school shows even if she looks down sometimes (but still with a smile on her face).
Living with SPD means finding the places where she feels safe and watching her thrive.
QUESTION: What is a challenge for you?
This is for Jenny Matlock's alphabet party for letter L.