The Busy Boy Mama

The adventures of learning to be a loving wife and mom; while working and raising two amazing, very busy boys.
Parenting SPD

The Out-of-Sync Child, The Book That Made Me a Better Parent

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.

** This post was NOT sponsored but does contain an affiliate link **

37 Comment

  1. I read this book many years ago and it helped me so much with my life with my sweet little boy too… Now even 17 years later I sometimes still go through it…

  2. This sounds like a great book. Thank you for the suggestion i will check it out for sure. I am open to anything that will help to open the doors of communication with my kids.

  3. I can’t believe that autism isn’t in psychology books. 🙁 That’s disheartening since autism seems to be such a common diagnosis these days. I have a friend whose daughter is autistic, I’m not sure if she’s read that book, I’ll have to share this with her.

  4. My son was diagnosed with autism – which comes with processing delays and sensory motor integration issues. He was 11 years old before we caught it because no one – not even doctors in my area – knew what it was at the time. You haven’t failed him as a parent. You have caught the issues and are actively working with him. That makes you a good parent. There will be those days… but my son is 26 now. He lives on his own (with my assistance). He still has sensory issues, but sees the world in his own special way. I wish there had been books like this when my son was a child.

  5. I just added this book to my reading list. I am currently finishing Smart But Scattered. I know exactly how you feel. We felt we had failed as parents. We didn’t an official diagnosis until our son was 7. It was a crazy ride and we are still learning things each day. My sister in law who has a Psych Degree had no idea about the things we would talk about. Hang in there Mama you are doing great.

  6. Last week I gave one of my colleagues a lift and he mentioned that his elder son suffers from sensory processing disorder. It seems that they only discovered that he was overstimulated after the younger son was born and he freaked out every time the baby cried. I will see if I can find this book for them. Thank you for sharing.

  7. I imagine it is so scary to not know what’s going on with your child. And really overwhelming. It’s great that you have a platform to talk about your experience so you can help other parents going through the same thing. I’d never heard of sensory processing disorder.

  8. Patience is sometimes I have to work on too. I always hear the saying that in reality your kids are raising you to be a better parent, and in a way that is true.

  9. Wow! What a great book. I definitely will be checking it out. I’m learning to be a bit more patient with everything in life. Thanks for sharing

  10. Parenting books are great and it’s good that you found one that will allow you to understand Jason better. I think there are so much more to learn as the years pass by.

  11. This is SO great as a resource for parents, especially when the kiddos are young and have varying needs that leave the parents exhausted and wondering what to do! I’ve had many moments like that when my boys were young; this is a great reading recommendation for friends who are still going through this journey.

  12. Thank you so much for sharing your story and for the book suggestion. We had a similar wait (10 months) to see a specialist. I think that’s another important take-away. These doctors are so difficult to see. Make an appointment as soon as you see something as you’re going to have to wait. I think you sharing this story will help others know what to expect.

  13. I might need to put this on my list! It sounds like it’s been a really great resource! It is really helpful when we can start to understand the why behind some of our kids’ behaviors – definitely helps us be more patient and understanding!

  14. My nephew was diagnosed as being on the spectrum with he was a little over 2. It was such a stressful time but with therapies, he is doing amazing. I’m not sure if my sister and her husband read this book, but they did work with my nephew’s therapists to help understand his needs and continue to work with him today and with his teachers, etc. to help him thrive.

  15. Love your post! I love this book. I’m so glad you found some more understanding in it for your little boy! It’s so hard as a mom when you can’t understand your child. Keep going mama, your doing great. 🙂

  16. It must have been so difficult for you as a parent but I am happy that you are able to understand your child better now. Please don’t think that you failed him, you are a wonderful mother!

  17. So glad you found a book that works for y’all! I will definitely keep it in mind if my little guy ever needs it or even for a friend. Thanks for sharing your experiences Momma

  18. Sounds like a really great book! One I will have to check out myself! I’ve read many books over the years but not this one I don’t believe!

  19. I’m so glad this book helped you. I haven’t heard any other reviews on this book but yours definitely has me wanting to pick it up. My girls are absolute opposite and it’s been surprising to see just how different my two year old is than her older nine year old sister.

  20. It’s great that even after all your schooling you were open to other books and diagnosis’s. I’m glad to hear you also have a deeper understanding of your child’s behavior.

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