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I didn’t know what to do: a father’s struggle to find answers

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Join us in welcoming guest dad blogger, Dan Ogilvy.

I have worked with kids in some capacity since I was 16 years old.  I could connect with children in the classroom, on the field, and in the gym.  But there I was trying to wash him in the bathtub, an arms length away from our blue-eyed little boy feeling a million miles apart. 

I didn’t know what to do.  And it hurt.

It was the first time, and probably the last, that I had raised my voice and shown the most negative of emotions to this little red headed “mini-me.”  I couldn’t comfort him.  I couldn’t calm him.  I couldn’t ease that inner feeling of upset that he obviously had.  And to make it worse, we were 500 miles from home.

I didn’t know what to do.  And it hurt.  And I think I scared him.

I am sure the whole street may have heard us.  By the time Emily came rushing in, she could tell how upset I was at myself and at the situation.  Why was he so upset over a simple bedtime routine? Why was he feeling this way?  What could I do better to help him from responding this way to us?  I desired the opportunity to wrap my arms around him and tell him it would be OK and we loved him.  I wanted to wash away his upset and let it drip down the drain.  But I couldn’t.

Some of the answers to these questions we have discovered.  Some we feel we have a grasp on one day, and then lose the next.  Still others sometimes feel like an incredible master lock that we wonder if we will ever crack the code.  I realize these experiences have made Emily and I better parents, better teachers, and better people.  Thankfully, I have a thoughtful, empathetic, and inquisitive teammate like Emily that supports all of us in becoming better.

All I know is this.  I love this little boy.  He is my super hero.  He has made me a better person each and every day I have been around him.  Despite the meltdowns, the days we feel we are speaking different languages, or the times he lashes out, I would choose him in 100 lifetimes, in 100 worlds, in any version of reality, I’d find him and choose him.

Without a doubt.

If you have ever felt this way with your child, I hope you join us on our journey.  Feeling on an island can sometimes be a recurring emotion that you may have as a parent when your child has these moments.  When you can’t figure it out.  When talking makes it worse.  When you think a hug may make it better, but it over stimulates your child even more.

Trust me, we get it.  We have been there.  Let’s travel together on this voyage.  For our kids…and our grandkids…and our great grandkids. 

Our goal is to encourage, enlighten, and educate about sensory processing through family based integrated activities.  Our goal was to give our son every possible tool in his toolkit that would help him navigate through the wide ranging life experiences that he may come across.

We all have our tough days, but we can band together to form a tribe with the same mission.  The idea behind Courage to Connect CLE (www.couragetoconnectcle.org) was born in the summer of 2015 while on the journey of having a child with a sensory processing difference.  As early childhood educators and coaches, Dan and Emily Ogilvy wanted to bring together a supportive community for families who have children experiencing our world through sensory processing differences.  As a social impact organization, the vision of Courage to Connect CLE is to encourage, enlighten and educate about sensory processing through family based integrated activities.  Please join us Superhero team at www.facebook.com/couragetoconnectcle or www.twitter.com/couragecle.

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Comments
  • comment avatar Lana June 13, 2016

    as a fellow parent, I hear you. I hear you. I hear you. Accepting the diagnosis was hard for us, although for different reasons than parents of other diagnoses but even when we came to terms with that, it still takes my breath away sometimes. you, your wife, and son were all given to each other bc you’re the perfect team to tackle this diagnosis and all that comes with it. ALL the best you guys.

  • comment avatar Nicky June 13, 2016

    So many other symptoms are also fitting-eating habits, sleeping, learning to read, her place in space. rough housing, her speech isn’t as naturally fluent, she struggles with interpreting questions and has a really high pain threshold. I feel so awful for all the times I’ve thought she was just ‘not a listener’, being too much of a couch potato by preferring sedentary activities. I’ve never forced her to do anything she didn’t want to but always encouraged her to keep trying her best and always introduced new activities (which probably just stressed her) to try and find things she’d like doing. She is so clever, brilliant at math and science., puzzles, art & craft.

  • comment avatar Lindsay June 13, 2016

    Thanks so much for this article, although I am pretty sure my son has ADHD and not SPD, this has really encouraged me to push forward in my effort to understand him and work with his needs better…I have known for a while now that something is a little “off” with him and my pediatrician keeps brushing me off and telling me he is just a little boy…and is refusing a referral to a behavior therapist for an evaluation…I am definitely going to push this issue, he is four and at least needs an evaluation by a behavior therapist and not just a pediatrician that spends maybe ten minutes at a time with him.

  • comment avatar Denise June 13, 2016

    It is very hard for me to wrap my mind around the SPD dx. What you describe is all normal child behavior. All my children were different in the way they developed. I call my son “Quirky”. He could be described to be SPD in some ways. I just dealt with things as they came with him. He grew up to be a very gifted son. He graduated at the top of his class and is in college now studying to become an engineer. He still has many quirks but he now deals with them himself. I hope you find a way to help your child but also remember everyone is different.

  • comment avatar Rachel June 13, 2016

    Thanks for your post. My 7yo son is highly gifted and has SPD. He alsohas developmental coordination disorder, which is a term often used in exchange with dyspraxia. I too felt relieved to get a diagnosis, which is recent. It has been painful to deal with educators who assumed he had ADD and autism. We have not started OT yet. It’s great that your son was diagnosed so early, wish we had the info sooner, but are excited to finally know what to do next! Thanks!

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