My Greatest Blessing
I would like to think of my experience with SPD as a blessing, one which humbled me and taught me how to love in a deeper and much more sensitive way.
My son Greg was born almost 8 years ago. He was a big baby weighing in @ 9.6lbs. He was born via Csection and spent some extra time in the hospital to clear his lungs of amniotic fluid. He was beautiful and our family fell in love with him instantly, especially his big brother.
Greg was a fussy little baby, always spitting up after every feeding, crying, and very sensitive and jumpy to sound. He never slept through the night. He always needed to be held or needed constant movement for him to settle down and fall asleep. It was tiring, but everyone chipped in and helped this little guy get through the infant stage with lots of love and patience.
As a toddler, he babbled, hardly ever spoke, drooled alot,was fussy and his anxieties started surfacing. He became deathly frightened of doctors and dentist, fireworks, dogs, drums, and overly obsessive with me being around him in order to feel safe. Typical sounds distracted him from focusing in on any one particular thing. Sounds of trucks, the wind, birds, someone talking, etc. His taste in food became one of high priority to him. He preferred soft mushy food, would not drink milk from a cup, disliked the crunch of cereal or toasted bread in his mouth. Also, he demanded routine and consistency, any change would throw him off. Something was not right.
At age 3 I found him a speech therapist and together helped him to find his voice. I enrolled him into preschool @ age 3 & 4, and did okay. The Montessori preschool was perfect for a child with SPD. They were patient, loving and allowed him to explore and discover freely. He found his words and began speaking. yay! The problems during his preschool years included constant drooling, messy eating, and an unawareness that anything was on or around his mouth, even the drool which dribbled on to his chin was not something he was aware of. I became very concerned.
When he entered Kindergarten, his teacher was one of perfection. His handwriting was not up to par, and she said he was very very distracted, he was still drooling and he was not
meeting the milestones or expectations. To deal with the stress, he began mouthing things, pencils, collars, erasers, anything he could get into his mouth soothed him. He would not eat the school lunch and would come home extremely hungry. I decided to make him home lunches to make sure he was eating. He also became very aggressive and physical...as if he needed to wrestle, punch, run, etc...in order to calm himself down.
Between 1-2nd grade he continued to struggle in school, i began to petition the school for help, speech therapy, an OT, but no one thought anything was wrong with him. They categorized him as a late bloomer, lazy or pointed fingers @ me for not being a consistent mother in helping him with academics! He was also still drooling, but not as much! he became aware of his drooling and started swallowing or wiping his drool in order to get the other kids to stop teasing him. He was very unhappy in school and with his teachers, who consistently labeled him, his disabilities, but never went out of the box to get him extra help. He is in 3rd grade this year, and I continue to petition the school for help. His teacher this year is so much more supportive and structured (which he needs!)in helping my son to regulate himself in school. I found him a private psychologist who diagnosed him with PDD and SPD, who also insisted that the school provide him with a OT and PT! ugh! finally someone who understood what my son needed to grow on a positive path.
It's a continued process, but i am so much more hopeful that he will get the help that he deserves.
Over the years, my son has made significant strides with helping his SPD. He knows that a bath soothes him and helps him to focus. He knows that white noise helps to soothe him and we as a family knows that he needs HEAVY work or activities, such as wrestling, running, tumbling, shoveling to help him release some of his tension. he will ask for a massage before he sleeps.
It is a never ending lesson with SPD and our son. All I know is that we LOVE him more today than yesterday, and will love him even more tomorrow. we are his greatest advocates and have great hopes for him!!
Bless you all!!