We knew Tempest was a little different from the moment she was born. From pretty much day one, she wanted to be left alone. She was the only infant I have ever met that didn’t want to be held. We had breastfeeding issues from the start because she pushed me away. She even learned to hold her own bottle at 3 months because she didn’t want me messing with her.
By the time she was 3, we had serious food and texture aversions and proprioception problems. She had Gravitational insecurities, dyspraxia (inability to coordinate movements), and hypersensitivity. She was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)
Alice had begun to show symptoms of SPD too. She was Hyposensitive and dyspraxic. She craved Vestibular activities (spins, hanging upside-down). It was clear that even though she was completely opposite of her sister, she also has SPD.
Those are some big words
There is a lot of terms I didn’t know or understand when we first started looking into SPD. Sensory Processing is how your body’s nervous system processes information, such as body awareness and gravity, and translates that into a proper response. In SPD, those processes have trouble connecting and relating correct information. Essentially, those with SPD might over or under react to stimuli or their reaction might just feel slightly inappropriate.
What we are focusing on
Mostly, we just keep going and try to understand and be patient. Their diagnosis doesn’t define them, but it does help us understand what is going on.
We are still learning, but our biggest take away is that she is going to have to learn hands-on and when they are interested. Currently, Tempest has no interest in reading and writing, but we spend a lot of time with numbers and science type stuff. Alice needs time to be creative and imaginative. Both need significant “loud” time and physical activity.
What it looks like
We still have big discipline issues with both of them. They both break things a lot (and I am talking everything, Not just their stuff). Tempest lacks impulse control, so we are working with her to be more mindful and conscious. In the last few months, she has really started to understand but is still struggling. A few months ago, in a matter of 3 days, she broke a towel bar, a shelf, and two wire cubes that her shoes were in, and pulled the toilet paper holder off the wall. All because she was trying to be a ninja. She also tore apart a foam pillow and picked a hole in her mattress (mindless picking and tearing is an SPD symptom). She ripped one of her sister’s books (on purpose) and colored on the wall and cut a hole in Opal’s pack & Play (sort of on purpose).
Alice runs into things and doesn’t recognize how rough she is being. She colors on herself every time she is close to a marker or paint. At least weekly, most of the time daily, I find bruises and scratches that we have no idea how they got there. She frequently runs into walls, doors, bookshelves, Opal’s baby bed (and wakes her up). She falls off the bed, down the stairs, and out of the car. She spins until she sends herself into an asthma attack and screams at the top of her lungs when she is upset.
It is tough for me because many times I know they don’t realize they are doing these things or why they are doing them. I don’t think they should be punished for doing things they don’t realize they are doing. I know there isn’t malice in their doing. But it is so frustrating! And it is hard to parent. All we can do is continue teaching them to recognize and learn.
What we are doing
We were in OT for about a year to learn techniques to cope with some issues. We are working to incorporate more sensory activities into our daily lives. It has been a challenge for us for sure. We have added Yoga and breathing. We also have tried to up her sensory diet because it helps. This means that we incorporate movements, activity, and physical exertion into daily life. We also make a point to include playdough, kenetic sand, and water play so they can experience textiles and manipulation.
Hey that sounds like us
If you are thinking that this sounds like your family and you want to know about SPD, here is a basic symptom checklist
Our 5-day challenge will start on May 20th. Each day you will get an email with a simple activity to try with your kids