An individualized cure that may work for others

by Ben
(New York)

I was diagnosed with SPD when I was 11 and I think I found a cure that works for me. I am now 27 and have no interfering issues relating to SPD as I did as a child. I am currently a paid firefighter in new york and I believe that I am a little above average in skills and abilities. As you could imagine firefighting involves activities that a person with SPD would find difficult.


When I was younger, I always felt clumsy and awkward and I was not very good at sports. However, I liked sports and tried out for teams and always got cut because of my poor abilities. My favorite sport was hockey but Ice skating and SPD? Forgetaboutit. As a kid I did put a lot of effort into practicing hockey and skating. I even played on a non-competitive team but I was never very good. So I stopped skating for about 5 years or so.

Then when I was in college I became interested in a girl who worked at the ice rink. To hang out with her I would go the ice rink and skate. I went to the rink about 4 times a week for about 5 months. I noticed that after skating for three months i became very good. In fact when I got the "feeling" of how my skate was to interact with the ice and the other motions down I could skate better than most of the experienced skaters. This was a major breakthrough for me because it was the first time I felt that I overcame my condition.

I started to put more effort in other physical tasks and realized that if I spend enough time on them I would eventually become good at it, it just takes a ton patience and a lot of time. So I then took the test become a firefighter. I had to work twice as hard as others to get good at various firefighting tasks but once I mastered the skills I retain the ability to perform them well. I estimate that it takes me 6 to 7 times longer to get good at a task as it does it normal person. (a normal person not even someone who is naturally good at learning physical activities) So if it takes a normal person 20 minutes to learn how to tie a knot it takes me over 2 hours.

After the fire academy i learned that extreme physical activity keeps me "sharp", as in my ability to learn new physical activities is cut in half and my overall status is improved. By extreme physical activities I mean 5k's in 22 minutes, 40 push-ups in a minute, 50 sit-ups in a minute, and 15 mile bike rides all in one day. (always pushing myself to the extreme.) Doing this turns the volume down on everything else. If I could back in time would I do this level exercise as a kid, would i spend more time mastering skills? I would like to think yes but I dont think a teenager could have the patience or the ambition to devote that much effort into something. This might work you for you, but it just takes a lot of work.

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Jun 05, 2011
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cure
by: Anonymous

I totally agreed with you, Ben .....We discovered when our son was 4y/o that he loves doing wheelbarrow so we challenged him ...like doing wheelbarrow up the stair ... also push up and sit up ...Now he is 12 y/o and is a very active kid and it had helped him to cope with his SPD. He also take karate which helped him a lot .......It is hard to believe he is the same kid that had lots of SPD issues ....he seemed to grow out of it ...but we know that is not the case...

May 06, 2011
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I can relate...
by: Anonymous

Whoa, your story totally blew me away. I feel exactly as you do (well, I think I do anyway) when I'm learning something. It takes me forever, much longer than other people. Then I finally learn what I'm supposed to and then I'm very good at it. I've been asked at different jobs to train other people when normally people at that status weren't asked to train others. I think it's because I care about completing tasks properly. I take shortcuts if they save time and accomplish the end goal properly and quickly.

I think it takes me a long time to learn because it's hard for me to find my own system of doing something. I get overwhelmed easily by details. This is tiring and can create headaches.
It's kind of a surprise to hear that I'm not the only one with this problem although it seems obvious now.
Thanks for sharing!

Apr 30, 2011
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tanks
by: Anonymous

Thanks Ben for your testimony of adult sensory challenges faced. I would like to turn to adults with ASD who has had or is having problems with food, to ask what feelings they choose food based on the texture appearance texture color ecc.whats strategies recommended? Thanks.

Apr 30, 2011
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by: mom of SPD

Hi - I really appreciated your article! I have a 4 yr old son who has SPD and I could totally see this working for him in that he craves heavy work and resistance! That said, he lacks motivation because things (life really) are so hard for him - unnatural, awkward and frustrating. Having been a child with SPD can you think of how to motivate a child to work hard at activities, even when he feels he's not measuring up to what he wants to accomplish or what others around him are doing so easily? Would love insight from someone who has felt his frustration b/c honestly I cannot fully empathize with him, though I try.
BTW ~ Great work on pushing through SPD and making such huge strides!
Krista

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