A Difficult Road (17yrs)
Looking around on this site I've found many stories of younger children but only a handful of stories about older SPD children. I think my mother would have found stories of those of us who have sensory 'issues' and have lived with them when she first started researching. My parents did the best they could with what little information they could find.
I have always been very sensitive to any touch and I am extremely ticklish. My hair is honest to goodness ticklish; I can feel the hairs moving and that tickles me. It took me a few years to be able to wear jeans and to this day I refuse to wear any pants that do not stretch. In the past three or four years I've come to accept long sleeves.
I judge foods first on their smell, then their appearance, then their texture, and finally their taste. If a food has a bad smell, I would not try it.
Smells can make me physically sick almost to the point of throwing up.
If I look at something for too long, I might become afraid of it. The way corn on the cob looks after someone ate the corn makes me shake and tense up.
I am very jumpy; the sound of a quiet toaster popping up is enough to startle me.
I cannot focus on anything with any background noise. I'm so easily distracted.
I try to avoid people whose voices I don't like because sounds I don't like still almost make me cry.
When trying on shoes or any other clothing item, if it is too tight the shoe will be thrown off as soon as it squeezes.
I have always been very shy. I used to, and still do sometimes, avoid situations where I would be around food, loud noises, or the explanation
of why I'm so picky.
Those are only a few of the issues I've dealt with as long as I can remember. I'm now 17 years old and have learned to cope with the world outside of my bedroom. Sensory defensiveness (that's the name my mother taught me) is not something you're child will grow out of. They need to learn how to cope with the world they cannot control. I'm not here to tell anyone how to raise their children, that is your business!
Music has helped in school by blocking out the background noises of a loud math class. Going away from a bad smell or focusing on a smell I like helps. Having a reason to try new foods, like a person, rather than a material reward has helped me so much in that area.
I still go to summer camps (for longer periods of time the older I get) without knowing anyone to help with my shyness. Having someone to talk to about the trials of daily life without telling me what is wrong with me or saying they're busy is an amazing help as well. These are only a few suggestions on how to help a loved one with SPD. Each person is different and will need different coping strategies but maybe this could serve as a starting point.
There is nothing wrong with your child. We just react differently to sensory input than other "normal" people do. Encouraging them, rather than forcing them, to go outside of their comfort zone is so very hard but it can be rewarding to the child. I wish every parent good luck, and I wish for the best for each child because it is a difficult road from what I've heard and experienced. I hope this may help the parents out there even a little bit.