I was not crazy! I just have a Sensory Disorder!
by Yadira M. Rentas
(San Juan Puerto Rico)
Since the day I was born, my family knew i was different. I am now 61 yrs old so when I was born no one knew a thing about SPD. I was born in Puerto Rico and i thank God for my family. I never slept a night until I was 10 yrs. old. My family took turns trying to calm me whenI was a baby but I cried and cried (they sat all night in a rocking chair which made me dizzy and nauseated). When I got older I had to feel someone beside me when I went to bed because I felt as if I was floating in the air when my position changed from upright to horizontal. My sister just let me hang to one of her feet all night. When i finally got to sleep, if i moved, I woke up again and almost everynight I fell from the bed and ended sleeping in the floor all bundled with the sheets.
I decided to put all my dolls to sleep with me so I could feel safe and not fall out of my bed. I made a nest with all my dolls around me. They stuck their fingers in my ribs but that is how I finally managed to sleep all night (I was already ten years old). My mother could not brush my hair (I have a lot , and curly)so she gave me a "boy cut". I still dont like to go to a beauty parlor so I have a girl come to my house and cut my hair (no brushing or blower).
I hated panties (still do, but i wear them) socks, closed shoes... I could vomit if my clothes were too tight. My mother used to cut the front part of my sneakers so I could have my toes outside
the shoe. I was also quite afraid of everything around and would vomit if something went suddenly wrong. I hated merry go rounds or anything that moved (including cars)but I loved to get up the trees or the flagpoles at school. I was kucky that we didn't have a TV or lots of toys; so I had to go outside to play. We played in the rain, walked barefoot, went to the beach, played with mud... That was my therapy.
I am not interested in going to Disney or places where there are a lot of people that could touch you. I still don't like to be hugged or kissed in the cheek so people think I am antisocial (specially in PR where everyone kisses everyone). I was a straight A student and finished my BS in OT when I was 19 yrs old. I had the highest grades but always had a low self-esteem as everyone said I was kind of crazy. That was until I read Sensory Integration & the Child. I cried when I understood what was in me that made me different.
Since then I have been working and lecturing about this SPD and trying to help families that deal with this problem. I still have a sensory diet for my tactile and propioceptive systems. I have ADHD and my youngest son also has it. I am actually still working with children with autism and feeding disorders and have been quite successful. I have my own method to deal with feeding disorders and it works quite well as I work with the sensory aspects of eating. My sister has sensory issues that affect her food intake. She has also tactile and auditory sensitivity. Three of my grandchildren also have sensory difficulties (and also her three grandchildren). Thank God they were born in the right family!