Updated January 2022. A fantastic resource is Raising Kids With Sensory Processing Disorders: A Week-by-Week Guide to Helping Your Out-of-Sync Child With Sensory and Self-Regulation Issues.
Sensory Processing Disorder for Denver Kids
My daughter Scout was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder about 8 weeks ago.
It started a while ago… we just thought she was being a pain-in-the-butt 3 year old.
“NO! I won’t wear underwear….
or my coat
or certain pants
or shoes that aren’t tight enough
or blankets when I sleep”
I thought she was just exercising her independence. One day, back in August however, she said something to me that hoisted the big, red flag. “Mommy, I can’t wear socks with writing on the bottom.” WHAT?
So, I started doing some research and thank goodness for my friend Jen, who I just happened to be having lunch with on the ‘sock day.’ She described her sons issues around wearing clothes, or not wearing them, and it matched Scout exactly.
In a nutshell:
“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. Pioneering occupational therapist and neuroscientist A. Jean Ayres, PhD, likened SPD to a neurological “traffic jam” that prevents certain parts of the brain from receiving the information needed to interpret sensory information correctly. A person with SPD finds it difficult to process and act upon information received through the senses, which creates challenges in performing countless everyday tasks. Motor clumsiness, behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, school failure, and other impacts may result if the disorder is not treated effectively.”
Next step – total panic. “It’s my fault. I haven’t been a good enough parent.” I walked around saying this to myself for a few days – and then got over myself. Why do we always make it about US?
Made an appointment for Scout at Colorado Children’s Hospital. We had to wait two long weeks before the appointment. When you kid won’t wear clothes, this is kind of a long time.
I started reading and tried to stay calm. Some Sensory Processing Disorders are related to ADD, ADHD as well as certain forms of Autism. I was terrified and I had no information except what I was reading online.
The day of the evaluation at Children’s, I was a basket case. We made it into the waiting room and I had to go stand outside. Kids were coming out in wheelchairs, and some, not even old enough to sit up straight in a wheelchair were being wheeled out the door – and the moms and dads were STANDING? How, I do not know. I was aching for all the people I saw that day and so scared about what Sensory Processing Disorder would mean to our family and to Scout?
We got to sit in a room with a double pane of glass and watch a Physical Therapist work with Scout on several activities for 2 hours. Scout was so amazing during this process. She did so well.
When the evaluation was over, we left with this:
“Children’s Hospital has a 6-month waiting list. We will send you our findings.”
I was beside myself. No tools. No answers. Nothing.
So, I started doing more research and found a place that I could take Scout to once I had the finding – which we were fairly certain, that yes, Scout did have SPD.
We have taken to therapy once a week. Therapy includes a lot of heavy work and crashing. Jumping, hopping, lifting, pulling, climbing, falling into pillows. She LOVES it. It also includes a Sensory Diet. Not food-related, but homework, essentially. We do BRUSHING THERAPY three/four times a day. Basically, take a soft-bristled brush and literally brush Scout’s arms, legs, back and feet. We do trampoline jumps, and crashing, hopping, skipping and tons more at home, every day.
Scout has turned into a TOTALLY different little girl. She is pleasant and we don’t fight. Prior to the diagnosis and therapy, everything was a battle. As you can imagine? You cannot make your kid go to school, or anywhere else, without clothes?
Scout is flourishing. She is COMFORTABLE!!!!! She is sleeping. She wore NEW PANTS every single day last week (I bribed her) but it worked. She is wearing SOCKS. She is wearing HER COAT. I don’t hear “I’m uncomfortable” anymore. Which was her #1 word for MONTHS.
We feel really great that we jumped on this and didn’t brush it off. I am so thankful that we have found a great place to take her for therapy. SPD can be turned around – we are here to tell you. We are really lucky that we got her in early… they can work faster and changes come quicker (for some). I am so proud of her.
These are the moments and days, weeks and years of parenthood, you don’t prepare for… you can’t.
Guest blogger Ashley E. Kingsley thrives on connecting people and is a solid engineer of community. Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. While clicking these links won’t cost you extra money, they help us keep this site up and running. See our disclosure policy.