Sensory Processing Disorder and Developmental Delay was something I never expected to hear as a first time parent. Having studied child development and receiving my degree in Psychology, could not have prepared me for parenthood like I had expected. I could tell all about what I had learned and write pages on research, but applying to my own child was near impossible for me.
I completely forgot everything I had learned and was in panic mode.
Why wasn’t my baby babbling or my toddler talking?
Why did he scream when I tried to vacuum the house or suddenly become hyper and “mean” in big crowds?
By 2 years old, I was convinced my son had Autism or some delay, and decided to get him tested and see a professional. Little did I know it would take 6 long months to see someone, and we failed to receive early intervention for him.
At 3 years old, I felt that I had failed him as a parent not doing “enough” or possibly not being honest enough with the professionals. I left our doctors visit with two book suggestions and 10 occupational therapy sessions. I immediately ordered The Out-of-Sync Child and held off on the other one. I thought to myself, “What could this book teach me that my psychology books couldn’t?”. In reality I had only heard of Sensory Processing Disorder from one other parent, and never in any of my psych books; hence why it’s not a real disorder. Now here are a few reasons why this book made me a better parent.
I Understand Him Better
I finally get why he can’t sit still at dinner, and why he is so wild after school. He focuses so much at school, and is well behaved, that at home he can finally let loose and go crazy. I finally understand there is a difference between meltdowns and tantrums. With a meltdown, you CANNOT console Jaxon, no matter how hard I would try to bribe him. With tantrums, they end as soon as they get what they want. I understand why he craves some stimuli, and avoids others, I finally understand his wants and needs. The one time we went on a boat and he had a life vest on, he was around 18 months. I thought he was just throwing a tantrum because he couldn’t go into the water. Now I understand he was probably overstimulated by the crowd on the boat, the loud speaker, and the life vest being on his body.
I Became More Patient
This one is something I still struggle with. I had to admit I lose my patience with him more than I’d like to, but then I realize not everything he does, he can control. I get frustrated when he won’t try new foods, or “overreacts” to mint smells or tastes, but then I realize that he isn’t making it up, – his olfactory smell and taste is so much stronger than mine. When he is literally bouncing off the walls, doing cartwheels and punching the crash mat I realize he just needs that tactile input or craving vestibular input. For a second I have to step back as a mom, and think as a therapist would. I’m extremely annoyed at his behavior and the fact that he can’t sit still or isn’t watching out for the pets or his little brother, but I can’t even imagine how hard it is for him to focus.
The Differences Between Seeking and Avoidance
Jaxon has overresponsitivity to some stimuli, and underresponsivity to other stimuli. He avoids some stimuli such as loud noises, mushy textures, and mint flavors, but seeks out tactile input and other stimuli. He has poor body awareness, and struggled with fine motor skills for the longest time because he didn’t like the way it felt when he held the pencil or crayon.
Another great reason I love this book was that it gave me pointers for disciplining Jaxon as well as how to empathize and have REAL expectations for him. At the end of the book it even has pointers for you child at school and learning to be an advocate for them. After 3 different daycares and preschoolers, we finally found a gifted Pre-K that was a perfect match for him. I am SO thankful for this book, and how it’s open up the doors to understanding my child. If you know someone could use this book, I would advise you to PLEASE share it with them. This book was the “ah hah!” moment I needed in parenthood.
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