What Now?

Ok, so now I understand why my child has been having so much trouble in school. Sensory Processing Disorder.  So what now?

In my case, I lucked out.  After asking literally everyone I came in contact with about in home daycare I found a woman, who is turning out to be a Godsend.  She only cares for 5 kids at the most and she has previous teaching experience and has worked with autistic children.  While my son isn’t autistic, most autistic children suffer from some types of Sensory Processing Problems so she’s dealt with some of the behaviors my son exhibits. After the first week, I was so thankful to have found her.  She reports my son is mostly well behaved, “a good boy”. Music to my ears considering all his previous caretakers would just report the “crazy” behaviors he exhibited that I wasn’t sure what I could do about and that he didn’t exhibit at home because there aren’t massive amounts of children running around our house.

I’m looking into Early Childhood Intervention programs through my school district, but honestly, the thought of having to send him back to school after the experiences I’ve had is absolutely terrifying.  I don’t want to even think about it right now, I just want to revel in the fact that he is currently happy in the place that he is at and I can put the thought of school on the back burner for a little while.

We go to Occupational Therapy.  In Occupational Therapy we can work on both my son’s sensory seeking and sensory avoidant behaviors.  We can also work together to build a sensory diet for my son to help fulfill his sensory seeking and avoidant behaviors at home and hopefully improve his behavior, emotions, and social interactions.

Knowing that my son’s behavior is not defiant and is mostly linked to a Sensory Processing Disorder has helped me tremendously.  I am able to be more patient.  I am able to better identify triggers to avoid meltdowns, to stop meltdowns before they start or to talk him through a meltdown better than I previously could.  This is not the end of the road for us, it will be a long and perilous journey moving forward, but I am armed with knowledge and I will continue to build my armory with useful tools to help us navigate through our Sensory Processing Disorder adventure.

Let me share some of my Sensory Processing Disorder Toolbox with you.

Books:
Raising a Sensory Smart Child

The Out of Sync Child

The Explosive Child

The Highly Sensitive Child

Websites:

Leading Edge Parenting

Child Mind Institute

The Inspired Treehouse

Growing Hands-On Kids

Sensory Smart Parent

Sensory Processing Disorder Parent Support

Other SPD Parents-  I cannot thank the other parents and mothers I have talked to enough for calming me down, encouraging me and opening my eyes to the beauty of having a Sensory Processing Disorder Child.

Online Groups- Because when you’re about to lose your mind at 2 am, there is always someone else up to chat.

This is Part Five in the SPD Series
Read Post One Here: The Day My World Came Crashing Down
Post Two Here: Trying to Move Forward and Getting No Traction
Post Three Here: A Spark of Hope
Post Four Here: Okay, So What is Sensory Processing Disorder

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A Spark of Hope

I tried a third school, a church school, with no better luck.  He continued to have problems, I kept getting phone calls, I kept having to leave work to come get him.  He lasted three days before I decided I couldn’t leave him in that place.  I watched the “teachers” putting some children down for a nap and how they were interacting with the kids appalled me.  I knew I wouldn’t bring him back to that place.  There had to be another option, my sister had used an in home daycare with my niece, but they lived across town.  I had a flash of asking to move in with her so we could use it also but I knew it was unrealistic.

I started looking for in-home daycare’s with fewer children and therefore less sensory overload.  I literally started asking every person that I knew, in hopes I would find a lead.  I interviewed a nanny and was prepared to pay more money than I could really afford, but in the end, she wanted even more money than I could pay.  I found a lady willing to watch him, I wasn’t totally comfortable with her but I felt like I had my back against the wall.  I was having to leave work too often and I didn’t want to get fired and I could keep looking for someone better.

While I continued hunting for somewhere to leave my child that I liked I also reached out to a mother in my Mom’s group.  She is a Physical Therapist and I turned to her for advice since I thought his behavior was sensory related.  She said I could bring him in for a free unofficial evaluation.

I met with her on a Friday and told her Nate’s story.  How he was a head banger when he was a baby.  How he crawled at 4 months and walked at 9 months.  How he was always go- go-go.  How he chewed his shirts and pulled off little pieces of his diapers when he was in diapers.  how he would spit out a mouthful of food if I happened to miss that there was a tomato or onion mixed in.  How he wouldn’t try new foods.  how he only wanted to wear “comfy pants.” How he would literally have a meltdown if I didn’t dry my hands after washing the dishes if I turned to help him and touched him with wet hands.  How he never wanted to sleep even when you cold tell he was exhausted, even when he had been a baby.  How he struggled severely at school.  How he struggled with transitions.. . . I went on and on.

She listed to all I had to say and she told me, “Oh yes, He has Sensory Processing Disorder.”

I was relieved to have an answer.  I felt hope.  I had a diagnosis.

Now, what the fuck is Sensory Processing Disorder?

Finally, a step forward on a very long, very hard and tearful journey towards helping my child.

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This is the Third Post in SPD Series.
Read Post One Here: The Day My World Came Crashing Down
Read Post Two Here: Trying to Move Forward and Getting No Traction

Trying to Move Forward and Getting No Traction

I frantically searched for a new school to place my child in.  I found a Montessori school with a huge outdoor space and a low child to student ratio.  It looked like it could be a nice place so I decided we would give it a try.  I thought 17 students for 1 teacher was way too many so I specifically sought out a place with a lower student to teacher ratio.

I knew my son struggled with transitions so I warned the teachers and school personnel about it.  To say adjusting to the new school was a struggle is an understatement.  His first day was rough, but he survived. . . barely.  I got called on Tuesday to come get him because he had hit another child.  When I came to get him I was swarmed by the entire staff.  We talked about my son and his history.  I talked about how he was a head banger when he was little and how after a certain teacher had left his previous school he started to fall apart.  He struggled with transitions, and on and on.

They gave me some advice and I left feeling a little bit better.  I had known the first week was going to be a rough one.

It didn’t get any better.  The next day he continued to struggle.  He hit the teacher, he ran outside and then lost his outside privileges, he hid in the reading corner and tried to hide behind the bookshelf, he cursed.  They separated him from the other kids to calm down and he ate lunch with their behavioral specialist.  This behavior continued through the week.  He was not adjusting at all.

Then it came again… on the following Monday, this school told me that my child was too disruptive and that they thought I should look somewhere else.  They told me my child’s behavior was defiant and the fact that he couldn’t look the adults in the eye when they were trying to talk to him was atypical behavior.  They made me feel like a shitty parent with a deviant child who had behavioral issues.  I knew my child had some issues, but I didn’t believe they were behavioral.  As I slowly pulled pieces together from his experiences in school together, I began to believe my sons’ issues were sensory related.  I felt he became easily overwhelmed by all the transitions and switching of teachers and activities. I felt like he went easily into sensory overload.

In the week he had been at the school I had tried to make him a flip book of the different transitions to try to help him and I was surprised at how many there were.  Start off in the main room with all the children, move to the classroom, circle time, snack time, outside time, lunch time, nap time in a different room, snack time again, circle time again, move into the main room for pick up.  That is an awful lot of transitions for a child that doesn’t do well with transitions.  And honestly, I was just figuring out exactly what that phrase “struggles with transitions” meant.  Actually seeing how many transitions our children make at school kind of floored me, I could only imagine how all the transitions made my child feel.

I called my therapist friend.  We talked, she reassured me that most of his behavior was normal child behavior.  I recalled a conversation we had had previously about eye contact. and how we had talked about how some children don’t look at adults in the eyes because it can feel very threatening, but it’s not atypical behavior, she remembered and agreed.  Together we ruled out a diagnosis of Autism, even though using some techniques that work well with autistic children all worked well for him.  She agreed he probably fell into the category of Highly Sensitive Children and we talked about sensory overload. . . We decided a lot of his behaviors could be classified as normal, but you could definitely tell there were some issues there somewhere.  She didn’t feel like it was behavioral related, we kept coming back to sensory…I felt less like a shitty parent after our conversation, but my stress level was through the roof.  What was I going to do with my son?  I couldn’t quit my job because we need the income.

This was the second stumble of a step on a very long, very hard and tearful journey towards helping my child.

To be continued. . .

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Second Post in SPD Series
Read The First Post Here:  The Day My World Came Crashing Down

Soul Cleansed

Happiness swells underneath the surface
I’m overwhelmed by the feeling
My body’s buzzing,
I feel full
Like a Volcano about to erupt

My drive is smooth
The tunes just right
As I reflect on the happenings of late
I feel fulfilled
My mind and body awakened

The buildup of dust, dirt, and clutter
That once coated my soul
Has been cleared away
Washed off
And organized

I am once again open
Receptive, Alive, Hopeful
And looking forward
To what
The future brings.

© 2017 LRFB

If you like poetry, check out more of my creations here.

The Day My World Came Crashing Down

As I sat in your office crying after you told me my son could no longer attend your school you had the gall to ask me “How are you feeling?”  It still bothers me to this day that you asked me this question.  Of all the things you could say, what possessed you to ask me “How are you feeling?” The question made me feel like I was in therapy.  I almost blurted out “What kind of fucking question is that?  How do you think I’m fucking feeling?” but instead I let the rage spiral around inside me and between the sobs and the tears I managed to say “Devastated”.

After I got that one word out I was able to continue some.  “Is there any way he could stay?” I asked because the maternal instinct said I should fight for my child even though somewhere in the dark corners of my heart I knew that he hadn’t liked it there in a long while.  She said No.  She said that they had tried to work with him, but that other parents had also raised concerns about my child.

WTF?  As if I wasn’t already angry “Why am I just now hearing that other parents are concerned about my child? Isn’t that something that I should have been told?” I asked and then I continued “I feel like I wasn’t communicated with honestly about my son’s behavior in school.  I feel like the teachers focused on the positive things instead of the negative so I wasn’t getting an accurate picture of what was going on. I feel like only one teacher (who wasn’t even his teacher but was with him here and there) actually had been telling me the truth about him.”

She agreed that the communication could have been better not that it made a difference at this point in time.  I had asked the teachers and the director on numerous occasions what they thought was going on, why my child seemed unhappy at their school.  The best I got was they thought he was just a very sensitive child and that when you tell him “No” it just cuts straight through to his little soul and brings him pain. I didn’t quite buy the explanation and felt there was more to the problem.

The director then told me a story about the only other child they had kicked out of their facility and how he had moved passed his early childhood issues especially when he became involved in sports.

She meant to tell the story to make me feel better.

It didn’t.

I was still devastated and I was still pissed off.

“Happy Early Fucking Birthday to me,” I thought.  My 3.5-year-old was kicked out of school for pushing and kicking another child because you know, kids don’t do things like that.. .

Months later it still bothers me that she asked me that question, but I no longer bear a grudge towards the school or the staff.  This was the first stumble of a step on a very long, very hard and tearful journey towards helping my child.

To be continued. . .

Puzzled

It felt like my world was falling apart
I kept trying and trying
But I couldn’t even start
To pull it all back together again

A million pieces
laid out on the table before me
So many colors I couldn’t see
What the picture was supposed to be

On instinct, I reached out
For help from a friend
Who put things in perspective
And set me on my way to mend

Pieces were missing
From my puzzle of life
That’s what was causing me
All of the strife

My problem has now been identified
And I can breathe a sigh of relief
I no longer have to hide
All the feelings of failure I’ve kept inside.

The road will be long
Filled with mountains and hills
But just knowing
Provides me with so many skills

And new friends have been made
To share in my new campaign
As together we lift spirits
To ease each other’s pain

And my eyes have been opened
To a brand new world
There is such beauty in pain
It’s a double-edged sword.

The future is less blurry
The colors are more bright
The puzzle slowly comes together
There is an end in sight

So, lend a hand this coming year
And place a puzzle piece
It’s only with the helping hand of friends
Our blessings will increase.

© 2016 -LRFB

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If you like poetry, check out more of my creations here.