If SPD is the real deal...then my child is textbook SPD-Extreme. I'm scared.
(San Leandro, CA USA)
Our son is almost four years old. He is bright, funny, charming... really a majestic burst of light, momentum, energy at every turn. It also means that I must be "on" for every waking moment in my son's life. He is mercurial. He goes from good natured to crazy tantrums within a minute, usually brought on by not getting his way or being misunderstood.
We have removed people from our lives because they or their kids do not like our son's behaviors: this usually involves our son being very physical (bear hugs, talking right in the kid's face, non-consensual rough-housing, pulling toys away from other kids' hands, hitting, pushing, body-slamming, etc). Then, our son can not understand why the kids do not want to play with him. He may ask them (incessently, sometimes), "Will you be my friend?", and then be completely crushed and left dejected because the kid/s will run away from him and often shout at him, "No, I don't wanna be your friend!" He wants play-dates with his preschool classmates, but is unwilling to share his toys, but expects his buddies toys to be fair game.
My husband and I knew there was something wrong for a while now, but we really didn't know what to do. Was this a problem with our parenting? Were the other parents just too uptight? Was he doing these things on purpose, willfully? Would our son grow out of this? We would look around and see that most other kids were "brats" some of the time, but our son was challenging ALL OF THE TIME. He has a little brother, and we can't leave them in the room alone because we worry that big bro might hit little bro.
Then about a half year ago, I noticed that our son couldn't identify a color that I had just pointed out. Strange, so I tried again. I named the color (yellow), and then asked him to name the color. He looked at me and asked, "Red?" After trying this a few more times with
the three primary colors, he asked to stop. Inside, I was panicked and shocked. What was going on here? Same thing with shapes, numbers, letters. Some days he knew certain letters, shapes, then other days, he couldn't id it correctly at all.
He is constantly looking for stimulation. He likes to bang things, break things, throw, rip, chew apart everything. He runs everywhere, jumps, climbs, over everything he possibly can. He is curious to a fault. If we lived in the wilderness, or somewhere rural, he would probably thrive and feel at home. But where we live, in a tough urban city, we don't have that for him without having to get in a car. Conversely, if he's in front of the TV with his favorite show, he'll sit slack-jawed, or sucking his thumb with his ever-present blankie, zoned out. Really scary to see how powerfully sedating/numbing TV can be.
We filled out the SPD checklist. Results:
-Hyposens to touch - extreme (meaning checked off most)
-Poor tactile perception - extreme
-Hypersens movement - moderate (checked off half)
Sensory seeking - Extreme
Grade movement - Extreme
Hypersens to sounds - moderate
Hyposens to sounds - moderate
-Oral Input Dysfunction
Hyposens to oral input - Extreme
-Visual Input Dys
Hyposens to visual input - Extreme
-Auditory-Language Processing Dys - Moderate
-Social/Emo/Play/Self Reg Dys
Social - Extreme
Emo - Extreme
Play - Extreme
Self-Reg: moderate at infant stage
-Internal Reg - moderate
So, even with these results, I'm still questioning whether SPD is a real disorder or condition? Does the therapy really work? Will it make our son "better"? I know that we can go through our unified school district to get him assessed and treated, but I fear that he will be labeled and that this label will follow him all through his school life. Will he be a special ed student, and not a part of the mainstream school? Also, how intrusive is the assessment team into our family life? Do they have a say in how we parent?