When I found out my son has sensory processing disorder, it turned my world upside down. There was so much information that I had to soak in. Triggers that I needed to recognize. Exercises and activities that I needed to learn. Over the past 2 years since we received my son’s diagnosis, there have been several things that I’ve had to learn about sensory processing disorder. I never imagined that sensory processing disorder would teach me so much about myself.
I am more patient than I ever realized.
I’m not claiming to always be calm and collected. Honestly, there are times when I lose control and find myself screaming like a mad woman. I have had days where my throat and head hurt so bad just from the yelling. But if you would’ve ever told me that at times I would be able to sit quietly and patiently while my child was screaming and yelling he hates me as he kicks, hits, spits, bites, claws, etc, I would’ve said no way. It is a struggle but I am constantly working on controlling my own temper, being patient and setting a better example. And you know what, as each day passes and with each new meltdown, I am more patient than I ever thought I would be.
I can get creative with discipline.
The first time I ever swatted my son’s hand or spanked his bottom, I didn’t get tears of regret or an instant change in behavior. Instead, my son looked at me with his beautiful eyes and said if you are going to hit me than I am going to hit you back as he swung at me. So obviously giving him a “good spanking” wasn’t going to work. Time-outs in our house were a joke. Oh yeah…I listened to everyone’s advice and I watched the Super Nanny. It didn’t work. After an hour of chasing him all over the house to only put him back in time-out, I’d finally say if you sit there for one second you can get out, just so I’d feel as if though it was some small victory. Instead, I’d start a tickle war or a wrestling match or spinning us around and around until we fell to the ground. Yeah, I know that doesn’t sound like discipline…guess what it wasn’t. Because when our children our having meltdowns, they don’t need discipline, they need redirection and understanding.
I’m not a bad parent.
For the longest time, I thought that I was doing something wrong. I honestly thought that maybe I was a bad mom. No one else ever saw my son’s behavior. I would get looks of disbelief and comments like “well he doesn’t act like that for me.” The diagnosis of sensory processing disorder actually was a relief for me. It meant that there was something going on causing the behavior. It wasn’t simply me being a bad parent. I know that I’m not perfect and of course I make mistakes, but I am a good mom.
I have more empathy and understanding for parents of kids with special needs.
Before I knew my son has sensory processing disorder, I already had the pleasure of knowing a couple special needs kids. One of my good friend’s has an autistic child and another friend has a child with down syndrome. I love both of those kids with all of my heart and have from day 1. I have never considered either of them different from any other child or my own child for that matter. However, I never realized any struggles that either of these strong and magnificent mothers went through. Finding the right doctors, therapy sessions, learning about something that you have no previous knowledge of, and helping your child on a daily basis with struggles were all a mystery to me. Well they are not anymore. Attention parents of kids with special needs…YOU ARE MAGNIFICENT…don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
I am a fighter.
This is something that I’ve always known about myself. From losing loved ones and suffering my own tragedy, I’ve had to fight in the past. And I always knew that I would fight to protect my kids. But I never realized that I would have to fight a battle against SPD. Which to this day, is the hardest fight I’ve encountered. I had to fight to find a therapist for my child. I had to fight to understand what sensory processing disorder is. I had to fight to explain my child’s struggles to family, friends, and teachers. I had to fight to know my child’s triggers. I had to fight to find ways to help him. A fighter is someone that does not give up. I will NEVER give up on my child.
I am not alone.
When I first started on the journey of SPD, I felt so alone. No one else understood what my child or I were going through, not even some of our closest family members. No one ever saw the behaviors. I started this blog as a way to connect with others and hopefully help other parents of children with sensory processing disorder. I found so many other great moms that knew what we were dealing with. I found support groups for sensory processing disorder. With each comment that I read, I knew that someone else faced some of the same issues I face. Someone got it. Others are so eager to offer words of encouragement or advice to moms that are having a difficult time. Finding these groups and other moms, made me open my own eyes to realize that I’m not alone. I have them, I have my husband, I have my family and I have my friends. They are all in this with me and my kiddo.
I can do this!
When we first got the diagnosis, it was very overwhelming. I didn’t know where to start. I stayed up late at night reading The Out-of-Sync Child and Understanding Your Child’s Sensory Signals. I spent countless hours searching the internet for information. Little by little I started to gain a better understanding of what sensory processing disorder actually is and how it affects my child. I started to learn my child’s triggers and exercises that we can do to help him when he is over regulated or under regulated. It took time and it’s something that I will continuously research, but I know now that I can do this! Together, me and my son will conquer SPD.