Message of Hope to all of you worried about SPD

by Narayan
(London, England)

It looks impossible, doesn't it... a child that twists and turns to clothes, smells, sights, food, and is strangely averse to light pats, to crowds and groups. What will your child grow up to be like?


Well, i just want to reassure you that life IS manageable with these kind of life symptoms, even if they never go away.

I'm 55 years old, a successful editor, traveled the world many times now, have three beautiful grown up daughters, a loving partner, and even managed to donate a kidney to a brother recently.

Yet my life from the off was filled with oversensitivity of every kind, in marked contrast to the rest of my family. And to this day, i am acutely sensitive to noise, lights,too many people, certain tastes and smells. This hasn't turned me into a sad desperate loner, far from it.

My main weapon has been to laugh at this, because in some senses (xcuse the pun) it really IS ridiculous to be so sensitive. And thankfully, laughter in turn brings joy and self acceptance though it may take many years to get there.

Give your child space... it was even more difficult for me because I was a twin AND went to boarding school! But that space, that precious space where a child can calm down sensory overload makes the difference between growth or fear.

Let the child find a talent or skill. They will find one, somewhere, somehow.

Nature, the delicate realities of a beautiful landscape, does wonders to SPD. Harsh human environments are the opposite. So if you have tyhe money, expose to nature. NOT crowded beaches, crowded theme parks, loud electronic environments. An SPD person PLUS quiet sunset = peace. Even better with a quiet sunrise!

That old adage about "different strokes for different folks" really does contain a lot of wisdom. Because there IS a gift from oversensitivity: a wonderful ability to harmonize with very subtle changes in colour, tone, noise, surroundings and an ability to feel the hidden realms of life. It's far more a blessing than a curse, this condition.

Stick with it, breathe deep, be gentle and encouraging. All will come right in the end, believe me.

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Jul 16, 2011
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Thank you
by: Anonymous

Thank you for writing this message, though our daughter is improving year by year we do worry for her future in a world that seems to so overwhelm her. We do as much as we can to help her and it is good to read that there is hope for a lovely life for her.

Nov 15, 2010
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Thank you for hope
by: Dinorah

Our little guy is 5 years old with Down's and SPD. So many of the checklists described him to the T-more than 4. Anyway, thank you. We will take your recommendations at heart. I now understand why he loves it when he walks outside our home. We live in a gorgeous development full tress and the cutest gardens, a lake and a stream. I understand so much now. Again, thank you and God bless you and your loved ones.

Jan 01, 2010
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HAPPY NEW YAR tTO RAYAN
by: Anonymous

ciao Rayan , spesso mi ritrovo a leggere nel post il tuo messaggio di speranza. volevo augurarti un FELICE ANNO NUOVO. tanti saluti.

Dec 06, 2009
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to Narayan
by: Anonymous

hello Narayan many thanks for you kind words, and for having posted again. The world needs people like you. pleasant stay in Copenhagen. Back when you can visit us on the blog.best regards.

Dec 06, 2009
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kim: class introduction
by: narayan

am no expert here, but the noisy class experience has some real subtleties that you need to be aware about, and they might seem weird, but here you go:

1) how high are the ceilings and what type of floor in the class? You can end up in some modern buildings with a SPD nightmare, which is this awful surging, booming acoustic because of very badly designed classrooms. Some rooms amplify and muddy sounds to a really unbearable extent.

2) Another crucial factor: check the temperature of the rooms. Again, too high, too low and you also add to the potential woe! If either case your child will want prob to be touching a wall or a wooden desk to help regulate temperature

3) sorry this seems like a big tedious list: chairs, tables, will child need to be DIRECTLY facing other kids (a No no).

4) Finally, keep the child at the edges, pref near a window.

These sound like picky points but believe you me, they are instantly recognizable by anyone with SPD challenges. Children need an ESCAPE ROUTE... most find it in their head. But that is one thing you should be aware of as well...

Dec 06, 2009
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keep those dreams alive
by: narayan

Your daughter's high intelligence may mark her out, but she'll blossom i have no doubt.

Copenhagen is a fine, orderly city and i've only been here once before, back in 1988. I live in London, btw, about as crowded and dirty city as you can get and even tho I'm a Brit I do have to admit that the general atmosphere can be as cold and dismal as the rain. So these big UN Cops are held annually across the world, and I've traveled with them, writing and observing in such places as Bali, Nairobi, Montreal, Milan, Delhi, Buenos Aires. Sounds exotic, but the territory such journalism brings is travel and that dreaded thing CROWDS.

You know one thing that might also help yr daughter when she grows up is to do specific exercises that help her feel more at home with people... and the one I'm really thinking of is an adaption of a Buddhist exercise which is really really good at turning that distance from humanity into something of service. Check out metta bhavana on the net and see if that does not help her... beaming love to one and all is something ANYONE can do and it has a magic effect of easing the pain of social interaction. It's a secret thing, and yr daughter will love secret things to do... spreading love from her own beautiful heart. Irrespective of religion etc, spreading love is a wonderful easer of tension. OK, now off to sleep for me!

Dec 06, 2009
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Once more I smiled today...
by: Elena

Dear Narayan,

This is Elena that posted earlier...
That's the life I envision for my daughter, traveling and writing (you got even better, you said that you have a beautiful family with three kids).

I am glad you survived the sensory "stampede" at the conference. I have noticed, also, that when I accepted that I am how I am, life got easier and I even learn to retreat when sensory overload is overwhelming me or just plain think it's funny how sensitive I am (I am trying to teach this humor to my daughter).

One time we had a very long fire drill at the hospital and I found myself (I was so sensory overloaded that I lost track of time) in a fetal position in a clean utility room...and the funny thing was that a doctor had to do the same thing, he "hid" also from the flashing lights that were never ending...we did do the drill first, that consists of taking care of the patients and supplies, fire doors etc. You have to laugh...it's too ridiculous not to laugh...two grown up people hiding from flashing lights...we got out of there like nothing happened...

Your post was funny and serious and encouraging.
I am asking you to seriously consider continuing this "blog" that started from a post. I can tell you are busy, but between assignments, maybe you can post, like you did today.

Enjoy the conference and we hope to hear from you soon.

Elena.
PS I read your posts to my daughter, she's 13.

Dec 06, 2009
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very glad to oblige
by: narayan

There is something even more ridiculous here... I'm writing in fact from Copenhagen where there is a big climate conference as you all probably know. Been covering these sorts of things as a writer for many years now. The deal here is that to actually get IN to the conference we faced a giant scrum of people, literally 1000s pushing shoving, cursing, cajoling, all to get the vital accreditation card! So there i was, in the middle of this crowd, panic buttons being pushed... and I just.. had.. to... smile once more.

The thing is that human interactions may be messy, but even an old sensory overload zombie like me can somehow find comfort in the fact that the worst situations do change, that events have a pattern and a smile, and that the clue between a life of suffering and a life of serenity is that basic, simple, true old adage of self-acceptance. We are as we are built! Your child is as he/she is and sings their own song, which is beautiful and never truly drowned out even in a heaving crowd.

To accept yourself as you are, your child as partner as they are, is a whole heap of difficult work of a lifetime. But as I looked at that heaving mass of angry adults, i thought yes, we can hold our heads up high.

BTW if anyone has a reading kind of a mind, the best book I've ever read about sensory problems is, oddly enough, a little known science fiction book by Jack Vance called MArune: Alastor. It is a painfully funny imagining of a world where the entire population is acutely sensitive.

Anyway... I'm off to eat. But love and blessings to all..

Dec 06, 2009
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thanks NARAYAN
by: Anonymous

Thank you NARAYAN, your writing will remain in our heart. we hope to still hear your voice in the blog. greetings

Dec 05, 2009
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Thank you so much!!!
by: Elena

Dear Sir,
Your post is a breath of fresh air. I just had the worst day of my life, you never think that it can get any crazier, but it does. I found out that my Dad, a Romanian Math Professor has ALS (and me, an American broke single mother nurse with an autistic child in public school will probably not even be able to see him one more time or take care of him, because the prognosis is poor).

This past month I correctly got my daughter diagnosed with Asperger, I knew it for a long time as a "differential" (sic! to the doctor) diagnosis to PTSD, but it finally sank in...
You do not know how refreshing it was/is/will be to read your post. Your eloquence, elegance, optimism, love, hope and kind sharing gave me a feeling that will not be forgotten. I saved the post in my special autism folder...so I can read it any time I want.

My daughter's talent is writing and a very different sense of humor, her intelligence is far above average. I hope that her dream to become an author will come true...actually I know it will.

Thank you!

Congratulations on staying sensitive, which means that you did not lose your innocence, that all of us should keep.
Thank you!
Elena. (I am diagnosed with Asperger myself and have all the sensitivities that you listed and so does my daughter, we love nature also).

Dec 04, 2009
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many tanks
by: Anonymous

many thanks sir! your words i am heartened. congratulations for your sensitivity. best wishes for you life.

Dec 04, 2009
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Wow.....
by: Anonymous

I really needed to read this right now!!!!
That is perfect!!!
I love the way you wrote this, THANK YOU!!!!

Question.....
How do you feel about a school slowly introducing children to a noisy environment...?
And gym class???
Do you think the issued should be pushed with these children?????
Just wanted to pick your brain if you dont mind...
Thank you again, kim

Dec 04, 2009
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Very well wrote
by: Anonymous

Thanks for the time you took to write this,it will mean alot to all of us who come here...

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