Christine's SPD Journey:
Through The Eyes Of An SPD Adolescent

Hi, I'm Christine, a pretty much ordinary 16 year old girl. I play select soccer for the #4 team in my state and play varsity on my school team. I'm going to be getting my license soon. From the outside most people can't tell what's wrong with me.

I was wrongly diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome at the age of nine. I was crushed, I knew in my heart it wasn't right... I UNDERSTAND body language and social cues. It's just that my senses are bothering me. With the AS label, my parents and teaches used this to send "mean" signals to each other about me while I was right next to them. They assumed I wouldn't be able to pick up these signals... but I did. I UNDERSTAND body language. I was hurt. 

So I finally convinced my parents to remove my label. But I'm still in great discomfort, and people don't understand why I freak out when I accidentally touch  the crumbs on the lunch table, or when I squeal in pain when there are sudden noises, or when I smack people if they tickle me, or when I shutdown if it's too bright outside. Or when I start gagging and falling over at smells barely noticeable to them. Also my parents cannot get how I'm so sensitive to sounds like keys clanging, but then I crave for the next time the Blue Angles comes to make a show (I have no idea why... I love the sound of jets). People also don't understand when I flap my hands, jump all the time, can't sit still, and I rock back and forth . People don't understand how I fidget and shake my legs ALL the time and it's NOT ADHD. Also I'm in love with deep pressure, being squeezed is a must for me. Sometimes I'm so desperate for pressure on my body I ask my little sister to lay on top of me (I know how wrong that sounds). It just feel like my body is TOO light. I'm just tired of being uncomfortable all the time.
Sensory Nightmare (I still want to kill this guy): One day at school I had to sit in front of the classroom in front of the windows... and it was the brightest day ever! I asked the teacher nicely to please close the blinds, but he said  "No no it's a nice day out other people want to see it." So I hid my face behind my books to block the light. Everyone started yelling at me from every direction, it felt like 9,000 people were yelling at me. Then I went into sensory overload.  It made me feel too hot, like I was on a fire, and my sleeves were ripping my skin off. And the chair I was sitting on was killing me! Then we got up to go to the computer lab, but If I had to sit there another moment I would've snapped.

My parents have never been receptive to the idea of "new labels". I tried telling them my problems could be ADHD, or central auditory processing disorder, or twice exceptionality (I  have a gifted IQ). But they always shot me down. But I discussed SPD with my mom today and she actually was "into" it. She said next time we go see my neurologist we would ask about OT and stuff like that. I'm excited to get some help, because my sensitivity to sounds and light are making  it really hard to drive. And even playing soccer is getting more difficult because the noise of everyone yelling is becoming painful to me. (the referee's whistle is like death!)

Submitted by Christine.  Reprinted with permission from the author, 9/2007

The reason Christine submitted her story?  Because... "I noticed all the stories were from the parent's perspective of small children, I want parents or whoever to see the view from an older child in their own words."

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