Explaining SPD... How, When, Why And How Much To Tell Our Children About Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) Pt 2
(Continued from Part 1)
The Consequences Of Not Talking About It
Honestly, how many of you parents knew from the very beginning of your child's life, something was different? I bet most! There just hasn't been enough time for "nurture" to affect them. Is every child different? Of course. But, many of us, before we "knew" what was "wrong" knew there was something that needed some extra attention.
Even adults, just finding out about this disorder (if they have it too), will have those lightbulb moments that say...aha, that explains why I did this, liked this, didn't like this, etc. And, as adults just finding out for the first time, we finally understand what was "different" and so very difficult for us! We finally find out what has shaped our behaviors, self-esteem, and own mental health. For our kids with SPD, they are more than just preferences... they are physiological needs! (insert link to adult spd page)
From the very beginning I have explained, normalized, and validated. These are three very important concepts...especially validation!! Think for a minute about times in your life when you had certain thoughts or feelings and someone close to you just dismissed them, didn't listen, didn't care, didn't validate and/or told you to "just get over it", "forget about it", "it's no big deal", "you're too sensitive", "stop it", etc. How do those comments make you feel? How about just being told to do the opposite of everything your heart, body, and emotions want you to do? Have your feelings been dismissed and invalidated...I am almost 100% sure they have at some point. Think about how that affected you when it happened.
Now, think about having that happen every single day. Your body is doing one thing, telling you one thing, and you are not allowed to do it or feel it. Suppressed feelings are horrible and explosive. Can you help the way you feel? No! Can you do something about the way you feel if you know why? yes! Does your self-esteem and self-worth depend on those feelings and how they are reacted to by others? When you are a child... Yes! Inappropriately dealt with, It does lead to low self-esteem, ineffective coping mechanisms, isolation, and shame. (insert link to "how does it feel" article)
What if you had a spasm in your arm 20 times every day that caused your arm to flail about for 30 seconds. When you tried to do things with that arm you couldn't. When you tried to talk about it, you were told it isn't true.
When you tried to make friends you couldn't; they laughed at you, mocked you, didn't understand you, and called you names.
When you tried to get help people told you it was your fault or your parent's fault for the way you were raised.
When you attempted to make it go away by seeking a diagnosis and treatment, doctors dismissed it, or misdiagnosed it and put you on medicine for migraines.
The bottom line is you walk away from all these experiences feeling that things are your fault, you have no control over anything, you are weird and different, and no one likes you because of it. It sure is hard to make friends in school when your arm keeps flailing about and even hitting other children at times. So, finally, you fail socially, you hate being in public, you don't feel you can make it stop, and everyone looks at you like you are strange. No one will accept you with such an odd quirky behavior.
Do you get my point? This is what misunderstanding and invalidation cause!
Continue To Part 3... SPD Explained
Related Resources and Further Reading
Sensory Processing Disorder Checklist
- comprehensive SPD Checklist; signs and symptoms of tactile, auditory, olfactory and oral defensiveness, as well as proprioceptive and vestibular dysfunction.
Coping With Emotions In SPD
- A reader asks about coping with emotions in SPD
Return to the Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) home page
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