Jsack's Mom's Blog

Welcome to my blog where I share my special needs parenting journey with my heart, truth, and love, one story at a time. ❤️

Sensory Processing Disorder in the classroom

My son has had a long journey in his five years. He was born a month premature and didn’t open up his eyes for his first five days on the earth. Even back then he knew he was sensory overwhelmed with his welcome to the world. Most Moms have babies crying when they make their exit from the spa into the brightness of a hospital OR. Not my son he was sleeping in my OB’s arms as he was brought over the sheet to check his vitals. 

From that day forward he found his voice and expressed himself fully with the power of his lungs. He was a cuddly baby that never like to be put down to sleep and was rolling back and forth at 4 days old! Then he grew into a bash and crash toddler that scared me with his antics of climbing up a five shelf bookshelf and jumping onto the couch. Now he’s grown up so much I wish time could slow down and I could swaddle that sweet baby he used to be. 

He’s 5 now and recently diagnosed with autism and co-morbidities to watch out for, and attending kindergarten and I have routine  that I do for him in the morning to prepare him for the day. He’s not a morning person after two years with obstructive sleep apnea so every morning is a little more jarring to his central nervous system. We start slow and easy in the morning with the routine of wake up, eat breakfast, get dressed, and get his backpack ready for school. All shown with his visual pictures to keep him on task. 

Regulation 

 He needs to be emotionally and physically regulated with his central nervous system before he steps into his classroom so I have a morning cuddle with him and give him a deep pressure massage to wake up his senses slowly. He then gets fed, dressed, washed, and then coat, shoes, backpack are put on. If he’s feeling antsy I have him jump on his minitramp for 1 minute. That amount of time can balance him out and then crab walks to the door with some heavy work to prepare him for sitting. 

Stimulation

Now that’s he’s awake and ready to start his day he can become overly stimulated by what he sees around him. I help him focus by putting on his glasses so he can single out each object. His classroom is a busy place so I know this cuts down on all the visual distractions. Noise and commotion are difficult input for my son to process so he has his noise cancelling headphones in his backpack to block out the overstimulation. If he doesn’t wear them he will stim and compete with the noise with his vocal power to cancel out the offending auditory trigger. 

Oral Fixation

My son tends to chew on his sleeves, cuffs, collar of his clothes so after he’s dressed I make sure he has his chewlery. He’s a shark and ocean marine life lover so he has his shark on a cord and wears it as a necklace. He doesn’t always like to wear it but I tell him that sharky’s there to help if he feels nervous. It saves his clothes and gives him the sensory input he needs for his low muscle tone in his jaw. 

Motor Planning

He has difficulties with  transitions so I make sure that I use visual supports to keep him on task. First we use his visual picture cards so he can see his morning routine. Then I draw them on the white board in a 3 step format of first, then, after. As he completes each task he erases it feeling accomplished and ready to start his day. 

Zones of Regulation

Each day my son and I will go through the zones of regulation where he will tell me what each colour is to express a feeling or action. When he’s unable to express how he’s feeling verbally he will tell me a colour. 

  • Blue is feeling sad or tired. 
  • Yellow is feeling scared or nervous. 
  • Green is happy and smiling.
  • Red is angry and frustrated. 

Verbal Diahrrea 

My son enjoys talking so I need to show him how to take turns with having a conversation as his receptive language skills are severe. He can have tunnel vision and want to be the only one talking and expressing his thoughts. I have a Popsicle stick that he coloured with one side is red and the other is green. He holds the stick and when it’s green he’s a go for talking. When it’s red then he has to stop and let someone else talk, namely his teacher. 

The visuals keep him on track and help with his slower processing time. We all know the adage it takes a village to raise a child. When you have a child with special needs that village grows. Now we prepare for him to be assessed by the school psychologist so he can qualify for an aid in the classroom. It’s not an easy process because sometimes my son doesn’t want to be organized and given direction so it becomes more of a dance. He takes a step and we each take turns leading. One thing I know that everything we do is to prepare him for success in the classroom. 

Welcome to the Sensory Blog Hop — a monthlygathering of posts from sensory bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution  . Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about what it’s like to have Sensory Processing Disorder and to raise a sensory kiddo!

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Sensory Processing Disorder and me-friend or foes

I’ve shared a lot about what it’s like being a parent to children with SPD. One is an avoider of sensory input and one is a seeker and can’t get enough input in his bucket. He keeps emptying his bucket over and over throughout the course of the day. Whereas his brother after a long day of school has a bucket that’s overflowing and can’t take one more cup of input. This is when Mom becomes the referee and I need to separate my sons before World War 3 happens! I do my best to keep them emotionally regulated but it becomes a full time job and I wind up exhausted and depleted. Like my oldest son I also have SPD Sensory Defensiveness in particular. Loud, sudden high pitched noises bother me, more than one person talking to me at a time is like chaos for my brain and body. My central nervous system processes sensory input most of the time effectively. Then there are those days when the world is too busy, loud, bright, and overwhelming. Sometimes I feel so hypersensitive to the world around me I can hear the energy crackling like a campfire. 

Those are the days I put up my hood and read a good book with a cup of herb tea or escape to my bed with my soft, fuzzy blanket and put on my headphones and listen to my meditation music. I need comfort in those moments when my ears feel like they’re bleeding from listening to my children squabbling over the iPad while three different TV’s are playing in the background. I have to resist the urge to bite my fingernails with the anxiety I feel inside. All I want is to chew on something soft and rubbery like an eraser but I don’t because my kids have gnawed on all the pencils like a couple of beavers. In those moments when I feel like the world is closing in on me and I can’t breathe I rock myself gently and I sing. Whenever I was a little girl my Mom would hold me on her knee and rock and sing with me. She’d rub my back and give me deep pressure Mama bear hugs. I’d give anything to go back to those memories and pluck her out them so I could have her in my comfort zone. But unfortunately that’s not possible as she travels a heavenly path while I’m earth bound. My Mom never made me feel like I was wrong or different. She told me I was a special child of God and my “quirky” nature made me uniquely me. When I was a child I spent a lot of my time reading the Classics like Shakespeare, Dickens, Louisa L. Maycott, and Lucy Maude Montgomery. 

I related so much to those characters who thought out of the box and wrote stories and climbed trees like I did. The poetry and beautiful descriptive writing of William and Charles made me want to write like them and capture the worlds interest with my words. So I wrote getting lost in fantasy worlds, epic battles, and fascinating history. This is when the world was a quiet place as I scribbled away in my notebooks filling pages with my prose and poetry. I’m still like this as an adult where I require quiet time daily and my sons are forthright about asking for their private bubble to decompress in. The stress chemicals can build up throughout the day and we need to release them or end up sending our central nervous systems into sensory overload. No one wants that to happen so we give each other the space that we require. Now you add in a few more letters of the alphabet like ASD, ADHD, ODD, and OCD you’ve got a melting pot of hot soup that no one can handle. Those are the times where I ask my children what they need to make their bodies feel better. Or how fast is your engine using the zones of regulation, of which my youngest son has a thorough understanding of this concept. 

Since facial expressions can sometimes confuse him and his recessive language with conversational verbal fluency is severe. He will then tell me what colour he is or ask me what colour I am. It’s an excellent way for him to communicate and be receptive to others feelings.  A breakdown of the colours and their meanings:

Blue- feeling tired or sad

Yellow-feeling nervous or scared 

Red-feeling mad and angry

Green-feeling happy and smiling

With my oldest son who has a better grasp on receptivity I have a diagram of a thermometer and I will ask him how fast his engine in his car is, and he can tell me or show me using the zone regulation colours. Sometimes are tempers are short, our explanations are long winded, and our bodies not regulated  and we react to the stress and pressure of the hot soup and we blow up. That’s when it’s important to remember forgiveness and our brains are just wired a little differently. It’s amazing what love, a deep pressure hug,  and a cup of hot chocolate will accomplish when words fail to save the day. That’s when I feel that even when SPD appears to be a foe when dealing with the chaos and it’s just too much ; I take that moment to breathe letting myself inhale the positive and exhale the negative and realize that it’s my friend after all guiding my family and I to better days ahead filled with love and patience.
Welcome to the Sensory Blog Hop — a monthly gathering of posts from sensory bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about what it’s like to have Sensory Processing Disorder and to raise a sensory kiddo!

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My Mommitment journey and car decal giveaway

A year ago I was suffering from a major judgemental spiral. Being a special needs parent I had more than enough stares, disapproving looks, and snide comments. It was always when my son was reacting to his environment of being too loud, busy, and over stimulating. I still remember a very public sensory meltdown that ensued when we were in a McDonalds. After a day of travelling for hockey I chose a quiet place to have his happy meal than an amped up hockey team pizza night. Well little did I know that the town was going to see a spectacle in that quiet venue. 

It always starts out innocently enough of they didn’t have the toy he wanted. So we go for plan B and they don’t have that either. After those options we decide to eat our meal by this time I have an upset child running up and down on the bench. To any outsider this looks like my son is spoiled and I’m a passive parent. When really it’s an impending feeling of doom for him struggling with preservasive behaviours that his mind is telling him he needs. 

We always have a set routine at our McDonald’s, but this isn’t our local one so making do is our only option. That’s when the judgement bus comes rolling in and I feel hot, stifling, embarrassment and then a instant cup of angry for my son being judged. I ended up overreacting and gave those diners quite a show of what it feels like to be prisoner in a sensory overloaded moment. I left that restaurant feeling defeated as I had to pick up my son and go back to the hotel. 

I brainstormed, wrote a blog, and had to think of a way to change this negative to a positive. So I prayed on it, I always believe when the student is ready the teacher appears. That’s when Mommitment came into my life. Now I judge less, and ignore more, I spread awareness of Sensory Processing Disorder than anger, and I love and forgive myself and my son because life can be as unpredictable as how his central nervous system and senses are. Today a year later I’m still a work in progress but I stick to my Mommitment mindset and proudly wear this decal on my vehicle. This is my check in for the day, week, and month to remind me of my Mommitment and now that I know better I do better. 

  
Without further ado here is the Giveaway details. Follow the Rafflecopter guidelines from Tues, Feb. 23 rd to Tues, March. 1 st. Two winners will be chosen for a Mommitment decal that you can proudly display. 

What can you do to support a Mom in your life and community by showing compassion and non-judgement? 



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Living in a sensory overloaded world 

Life isn’t always easy and I make the best of it that I can. I don’t think my life is any worse or any better than anyone else’s, it just is what it is. I have never possessed the Staples magical easy button, but if I did look out world! I do daydream about it occasionally to come up with a working model with creativity and a little wishful thinking on my part. 

I’m a product of my own environment and a lot of time spent in my childhood was loud, confusing, and overwhelming. I came into the world and lived in an incubator for a week while I recovered from being sickly and jaundiced. My Mom had a cold and as a result the Dr took extra precautions with me. This was back in the 70’s when it was perfectly acceptable for Mom’s to stay in the hosiptal longer. Going through my own birth experiences I believe whatever emotion, feeling, thoughts, and drugs for pain management are passed from Mother to baby. 

Without having any personal recollection of my time in the spa I can let my imagination wander and say I must’ve loved it. My jaundice was being taken away under the phototherapy lights, I was warm, comfortable, and it was quiet. As I got older I was a child that thrived in peace and quiet because I saw that my Mom did too. She could fill a room with her twinkling laughter and tell a great joke but she loved the quiet of sitting with a good book and enjoying a nice cup of tea. 

We spent many hours enjoying each other’s company with me wrapped up in a world of make believe with my dolls, Sesame Street, Mr. Dress up and The Friendly Giant as my favourite friends. Whenever it would get noisy with having my siblings home I would retreat to my bed and hide under the covers. I had some certain spots for my quiet time up in a tree, in my blanket fort, and when I was very young I was found one time in the dryer sleeping in the warm and cozy laundry. 

When I needed a sensory break from my environment being too cluttered and confusing I would climb. I was confused for being a monkey on many occasions when someone would ask where I was they would see me climbing the tallest tree or onto the horse stock rack then onto the roof of our house!  I was quite blessed by the hand of God that I didn’t fall off and break my neck or worse! 

Now I’m an adult who still loves to climb and build blanket forts with my kids. I have Sensory Processing Disorder and so do my son’s. It’s not anything I could’ve done to change that outcome since it’s neurological. I’ve read enough in the last two years to help me understand my children’s brains and have seen myself on every page! I was quiet, yet boisterous at times, I preferred to read and write stories, or climb trees, and scrape my knees. Just like any other typical child, yet if my world was to loud, bright, crowded and confusing I’d hide away. 

I read that birth trauma particularly placental complications, is known to be a cause of Sensory Processing Disorder according to the book Out of Sync Child by Carole Stock Kranowitcz. If you’re new to this term and haven’t read my blog I will kindly provide you with a definition. 

Sensory Processing Disorder is Sensory processing (sometimes called “sensory integration” or SI) is a term that refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioral responses. Whether you are biting into a hamburger, riding a bicycle, or reading a book, your successful completion of the activity requires processing sensation or “sensory integration.”

*this definition is provided by the website SPD Foundation.*

There are a lot of different processes with SPD where people are affected in certain ways. I’m very visually stimulated and auditory and tactile hypersensitive. Loud noises bother me, I take everything in while scanning my environment, and there’s certain textures I just won’t touch. I’ve lived with this my whole life and  this is known as Sensory Defensive Disorder. My son’s each have the Sensory avoidance and Sensory seeking behaviours.

 I explain it as follows as we each have a bucket that gets filled with each input throughout our day providing for our eight senses to our central nervous system to our brain.  These senses of touch, taste, smell, hearing, seeing, proprioception, interoception and vestibular. 

Proprioception- meaning ones own individual sense of the relative position of neighboring parts of the body, and strength of effort employed in movement. Yes My youngest son isn’t aware of his body in space, and where that begins and where it ends. So crashing into the wall, toys, or his brother are common, and he’s not aware of it until after the fact.

Interoception -is the sense by which one perceives pain, hunger, bowel/bladder control and the movement of internal organs. So in layman’s terms potty training is a bust as of late; my three year old has awareness but no sense of urge control or the urge to eliminate.

 Vestibular- is the sensory system that provides input about movement and a sense of balance. The brain uses information from the vestibular system in the head, to proprioceptive throughout the body to understand the body’s dynamics and kinematics, which describes the motion of objects or groups of objects, without the consideration of causes of motion. Translation meaning when my youngest son is “stimming,” (stimulating all his senses to seek input in his environment) he will spin for an hour if I let him. I prefer swinging-on actual swings- to regulate my vestibular sense. 

 He’s a “seeker”of all kinds of sensory input. Think of it in terms of having a bucket of water with a hole in the bottom, and it constantly needs to be filled up. The clinical definition is Sensory Modulation Disorder. My oldest son has Sensory Defensive Disorder like me. He has a lot of defensive issues with receiving too much input. 

Picture it as a bucket of water that’s constantly filled, and it’s pouring out all over the floor. His issues are predominantly with auditory, visual, and olfactory senses. It’s a full time job keeping all of us sensory and emotionally regulated, but it’s one I do gladly with the help of noise cancelling headphones, regular occupational, physical,  and speech therapy. 

The one thing I’ve come to realize of this journey in our sensory overloaded world is that it does take a village to raise a child, and if there’s special needs involved it grows in size and heart to provide them with success. I do believe that God only gives me as much as I can handle. Sometimes those days are long and difficult and other days are filled with fun and laughter. I’m blessed that they’re also filled with a lot of love, patience, and kindness, and a strong village. 

Welcome to the Sensory Blog Hop — a monthly gathering of posts from sensory bloggers hosted by  Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about what it’s like to have Sensory Processing Disorder and to raise a sensory kiddo! Want to join in on next month’s Sensory Blog Hop? Click here!


  

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The Climb

Life can be an uphill battle where you climb the highest mountain and struggle not to fall off. It also has a funny way of working out, and sometimes you get more than you bargained for. I gave birth to my son a month premature after a very stressful period of grieving for the loss of my Mom. My baby and my other son became my whole purpose of surviving that dark, depressing time. His brother was only four when I had to tell him yet another person he loved had died.
Having a premature baby means so many mindblowing things. First, you have to wrap your brain around the fact that your child is really here! Next, you need to devote every waking minute of getting them healthy enough to take home. I had a son at home to raise and a newborn and he belonged to the hospital until he was a healthy weight. I remember that time like it was yesterday how joyous and stressful it was. The sleep deprived days and nights that followed, as well as all the trips back and forth to the hospital when I was released but my baby wasn’t.

My baby was heavily jaundiced and very sleepy so it was difficult to keep him awake long enough to give him a full feeding. I remember having to test weigh, feed, burp, change his diaper, feed him , then test weigh him again. It was a routine that we followed for nearly two weeks and all I wanted was for my baby to be healthy enough to take home. He never did receive phototherapy even though I saw babies before him able to. It drove me mad with anger as the whites of his eyes were yellow that he was so jaundiced.

Back then all the signs pointed to the fact that something was amiss. He would cry if he wasn’t held snugly skin to skin with me. He loved a tight swaddle but his hands and his feet had to be free. He was undoing his blankets and the nurses kept on saying I wasn’t wrapping him tight enough. I replied “this isn’t my first rodeo so I know how it works.” Little did we know my baby was rolling in his glass bassinet and unravelling the swaddle!

He was only four days old and he still hadn’t opened his eyes. I watched him closely as he didn’t resemble a helpless newborn as his strength was astonishing! He would thrash about in his tiny little home and he seemed happy with the thud it would produce in sound. When he was sleeping he would sleep so soundly I would check to see if he was breathing.

I would venture to his crib side and just sit there in the rocking chair watching him and marvelling at his beauty. He would wake up roll towards me and put his hand on the glass. He didn’t like the bright lights or loud noises that would generate with a room full of babies and people. He thrived on being held snugly and loved to be burped as he would release the biggest and loudest full grown man gas bubbles!

I was in awe and scared for my son as he would get his jaundice test daily and one time the nurse had me hold his leg while she lanced his foot! This was the worst experience as he would thrash about and I would beg her to put him under the photo lights in the incubator. He was strong I was afraid he would hurt himself, yet my pleas fell on deaf ears. Everything pointed to the fact that he was a sensory overloaded child. He would be so quiet then wail for hours. It was almost as if he loved to hear his shrill cry.

The day came where I could finally take him home and he had to pass a few tests before leaving. I remember feeling anxious, excited, and scared of the prospect of taking my tiny baby home. When the maternity health nurse arrived the next day she gave him a thorough exam. She had asked me if I had any concerns or comments because it had been four years since I had a baby at home. I replied:

“I only had one and then I said watch” while I placed my baby on the floor with a blanket.

We then proceeded to see my newborn 11 day old baby roll back and forth from right to left! She was in awe as much as I was and I asked her was this “normal”behaviour for a tiny baby. Her response was:

“we always advise parents to keep their baby’s belted and secure on the change table. Even placing one hand on them just in case. Your baby is not the norm he’s the just in case I spoke of.”

Life with my son’s added up to long days and longer nights and plenty of love. My baby wanted to held 24/7 and I spent a lot of time sleeping in a rocking chair. He also was pacifier dependent and would eat every 45 minutes in a given day. If he was cluster feeding it was less and I was shedding my baby weight quickly. He loved the deep pressure football nursing hold while he was snug to my body. Soft fuzzy blankets rubbed on his skin made him coo, and the feeling of a tremendous “man burp”, and being shushed beside his cheek would lull him to sleep.

When it came to time to introduce solid foods to him he put up such a fuss. Everything had to be mixed with carrots or sweet potatoes. I made all my baby food and he would turn his nose up about the stews, squash, and peas. When he got older and ventured into cubed finger foods he would refuse certain vegetables and fruits. He ate a lot bananas and carrots as they are the only foods he wouldn’t cry over. By the time he was 18 months he was eating five foods and saying two words strung together. By two he had a very limited vocabulary and a small assortment of foods he would eat.

I made the call of getting him assessed for his developmental milestones. I read and researched a lot and came across some information on sensory disorders. I made the referral to a child development agency and found a developmental Pediatrician. That led to the discovery that my son fit the profile of having Sensory Processing Disorder. In particular Sensory Modulation Disorder and was seeking out sensory input to gather the messages in his daily environment from his central nervous system to relay it to his brain.

I had heard of SPD as my close friends daughter was diagnosed with it as well as autism. Now it was affecting our lives as my son was rapidly giving me grey hair with his seeking behaviours. By climbing five shelf bookshelves and jumping onto the couch, then jumping off stairs falling, cutting his head open and crying because of the blood running into his eyes! I took on the role of Mom PHD while I researched ways I could help and to stop him from hurting himself.

His pain threshold wasn’t something I could understand at all. As his older brother could have an injury like a stubbed toe, and you could hear him for miles with his reaction. My youngest son is now a preschooler with a diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder and Global Developmental Delay. He now has a therapy team in place with an OT (Occupational Therapist) PT (Physical Therapist) and Speech and Language Pathologist (SLP). I discovered in all the research that I’ve done that early intervention is the key to coping and strengthening neuropathways to form new information and skills in the brain.

He also has an Educational Aid that works with him at preschool. In the course of a two months he’s had a ploy sonogram, genetic testing, EEG, and next week an MRI. He was found to have severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea, and I’m currently awaiting the results of his EEG. He has endured it all like the fighter he is from birth. He’s taught me more about what matters in life and they are  family, love, and acceptance. And what doesn’t matter judgement, deadlines, or a neat as pin home. I know whatever trial we have next to face we’ll solider on through it, and the climb has been worth every moment to helping him live a better more balanced life.

Welcome to the Sensory Blog Hop — a monthly gathering of posts from sensory bloggers hosted by  The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about what it’s like to have Sensory Processing Disorder and to raise a sensory kiddo! Want to join in on next month’s Sensory Blog Hop? Click here!

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My SPD Superhero

  
I don’t sleep a lot I haven’t for a long time. It started out as a child staying up late with my Mom watching old black and white classic movies and grew into an insomnia diagnosis when I was thirteen. Fast forward to my life as a parent, I gave birth to babies that didn’t sleep through the night until they were almost two! Cue sleep deprived Mombie living on caffeine to survive those long days of daylight. I’ve always been comfortable with my company being me and the moonlight but months turn into years and I yearn for a solid nights rest. 
We are a sensory related family my son’s and I all have Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). I have written about it before on my blog, this is a recent Post.  This leads to having sleep, eating, and feeling comfortable in our skin issues.  Nearly two years ago my youngest son started snoring. Now for a toddler who hasn’t slept through the night consistently this was alarming. He has an open mouth posture, oral fixation, and hypotonia of his jaw but snoring was new to me. I started on a long journey of finding out the why, what, where and how of this new path. 

I went through the channel of seeing my family Doctor who referred me to an ENT (Ears, nose, and throat Doctor) who told me there wasn’t anything he could surgically do for my son because he had a long tongue and he couldn’t see him using a CPAP with a sensory issue! I didn’t take to this lightly and spoke my peace and moved on to seek out other help past the no I was given. There is nothing to make you feel more helpless and hopeless than watching your child stop breathing in your arms! 

I moved away and after a lot of research, prayers, and sleepless nights I found a sleep specialist and a Center that treats children. I’m happy to share I struck gold with this Doctor! I learned more in a twenty minute consult than I did with any other professional. We’ve been seeing her for a year now and she’s been working  amazing feats with my son and has led us on a path to health with a medication regimen, sleep therapy training for his SPD, and now a poly sonogram sleep study. 

  
My son has superhero powers to live with all the conditions he has and more that we’re discovering since he was given the diagnosis of global developmental delay. Which is leading us to a referral for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to a neuropsychologist.  This sleep study was not easy to prepare for even with a social story to create an expectation and outcome. I didn’t know what to expect even with research done, because I had never experienced this with my son I was so grateful that our sleep technician at the clinic was amazing and walked us both through it.  

As he was seated to get outfitted with sensor pads, the glue that had to be dried with an air compressor, (which wasn’t tolerable for his auditory hypersensitivity) and the extensive amount of wires he was hooked up to, he was as patient as he could be at the age of four. I held my hands over his little sensitive ears and sang really loud over top of the noise. Those wires became connected to a electronic box that became connected to a computer. It was comical to see me running down the hallway to the bathroom  as he was connected and tethered to the portable box. He was mischievously running fast just to see if he could make me trip. My little boy is quite the practical joker!

  I was glad to share in his giggles because it was masking my fear. The worse part was watching the nose clip go up his nostrils and the plastic piece that would hold his mouth open to measure his oxygen saturation. He didn’t like the clip that was placed on his finger so it was changed to something else. He was taped, wrapped with a belt to hold sensors in place and pads were placed on his legs to measure his limb movements and determine if he had restless legs syndrome. I explained all this was being done to help him sleep better and give him superhero powers!

   I pulled every trick out the book I could think of he was dressed as Batman and I wore his mask as Bat Mom. Our sleep tech gave him an Avengers pillow case to sleep on and I gave him his medicine for the night. I told him I loved him and it hurt like hell when he told me he didn’t love me. I knew it was pain, discomfort, and his fear talking but that didn’t make it hurt any less. We read stories until he got drowsy and then he had a bathroom break and off to sleep he went.

  
I stayed across from him listening to every sound he made while our wonderful sleep technician showed me all his vitals on the screen and what was being monitored. I barely slept that night even though I was in the safest place and situation where I could. The next morning he woke up in a great mood considering it was 6 am it was shocking to me! My son is very sensory overloaded when he awakes but he knew he was safe and Bat Mom would be there at his rescue. 
   One of the staff brought in doughnuts and I let my no sweets for breakfast rule slide. He earned those doughnuts and Timbits for all that he endured in one evening! I let him pick what he would have for breakfast and we went to our favourite restaurant for pancakes. He was in his Batman costume which drew some hard stares. I just smiled, I knew they were all looking at how awesome my son, my SPD superhero was. I love him so much and I’m so proud of him. Now we do our best to make sense of his sleep study results of Obstructed Sleep Apnea (OSA)  and seek out another course of action towards sleep filled nights for us all. 

 

Welcome to the Sensory Blog Hop — a monthly gathering of posts from sensory bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrumand The Jenny Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about what it’s like to have Sensory Processing Disorder and to raise a sensory kiddo!  


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Wearing my heart on my sleeve 

I’ve always been an emotional person the wear my heart on my sleeve kind of gal. There’s times where I think I need to have a thicker skin or put my heart away so I don’t get so easily hurt. It comes part and parcel with being empathic I feel people’s feelings, and I can “touch” people’s energy. I know when someone isn’t good for me or my loved ones and I can stay clear. 

I do my best to give people the benefit of the doubtand not judge a book by its cover. It will still happen to me and someone I love, that’s the way of the world unfortunately. Today was just like any other day before preschool filled with excitement an anticipation.  My son loves going to school and he wears and shows his feelings with his whole body. He was so excited to stomp up the stairs and count with me. He loves seeing his teachers and playing with his favourite toys there.  For the last month him and I have considered this a safe, fun, and educational place. Today though something happened and I’m still trying to process it. 

I have something brewing in my mind and my heart. If I don’t get it out I think I will combust! I was sure as I mulled it over to see how I could’ve handled it differently it would evolve into a blog post at some point. Today I was waiting with my son for preschool to start. There was a couple of families there and a little girl was staring at my son. He was standing there stomping as it’s his new thing that he does to feel comfortable in his environment, to gain sensory input. It’s an eclosed narrow hallway so his stomping is quite loud with its sound vibrations. 

I asked him to please quiet his feet inside and a classmate of his looked at him and announced to her Mom that he was crazy. The Mom (who did not acknowledge me besides with nervous laughter) said to another parent at that age crazy is good. I stood there stupefied, angry, and hurt for my son. I told him you’re awesome and don’t let anyone change that! My son isn’t crazy he’s very busy and full of kinetic energy and must move to learn. He has Sensory Processing Disorder #SPD and this how his eight senses react to sensory input. 

We all know we have our five basic senses of touch, taste, sight, hearing, sound, and smell. There’s many more types of senses but I’ll focus on the other three I was referring to:

  1. Propriocepetion- gives you the ability to know where your body is in space within your environment in relation to your other body parts. Think of the song Head, shoulders, knees, and toes. 
  2.  Equilibrioception- relates to our vestibular sense that’s found in the inner ear. This sensory sense is all about our ability to balance and have agility. 
  3. Interoception- relates to our body’s sensory system to know when we’re hungry, thirsty, or the urge to eliminate. 

My son is constantly seeking sensory input as all these senses build up inside his brain, body, and central nervous system and cause a traffic jam. Some of his senses are strong and some are weak and how he needs to seek out input looks different to everybody.

 This misguided observation we encountered didn’t bother my son at all. He doesn’t see himself any differently from other kids. He continued stomping while I stood there stewing in my furiousness for this hurtful remark. He made music with his feet, all be it loud music and made a little girl dance. Then that started a chain reaction and another classmate started twirling and he was still smiling and stomping. 

Although I saw his happiness I felt my heart crack for my child. He’s not different he’s different abled and is receiving therapy from his team so that he can function better in a world that can at times misunderstand and judge him. On Oct. 8 th it’s Sensory Processing Disorder Awareness please spread the love, awareness, and educate for SPD. 

   
  

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#1000 Speak Compassion-nurturing 

 At this moment in time I could use some nurturing. My heart has suffered from being judged, my body from pushing it to the limit of injury, my soul from putting myself last on the list of life’s priorities. It’s been my own doing, I put myself out there and recieved ridicule and embarrassment. I allowed it to hurt my heart and make me feel cheap, dirty, and ashamed. There is a thing about being too honest especially on social media.

I started a new workout routine as I’ve been living with chronic pain for the last five years. And slowly it’s grinding away at all the wonderful things I’ve accomplished over that time. The nurturing place where I housed my children and now my back is full of white hot pain if I do too much. Lifting my child who is showing all the signs of a sensory meltdown as he runs through a parking lot. Carrying him to bed after he’s so wound up from seeking sensory input all day he crashes in my arms on the couch.

Picking him up and cradling him like my little Joey and I’m his kangaroo Mama keeping him safe from a world that’s too loud, busy, bright, and at the same time beautiful in it’s simplicities and complexities. I exercise to keep myself fit, healthy, and fabulous. I started a new workout routine and matched the instructor for move for move. No matter how fast or extreme it would be in the long run. What the end result was an aggravated old back injury from a bulging disk, and not being able to walk properly for three days!!! What was I thinking I asked myself as I had to hobble around with a cane and parent from my couch?!

I wasn’t thinking about my age that’s for sure. I was thinking of who I was before when I was the fitness instructor with seventeen years experience. Who gave those intense workouts and also participated in them. It’s been a humbling experience as I recently started a fitness challenge and I’m on the sidelines cheering everybody on. I have an invitation to start a free one week bootcamp in my town. I look at each day mocking me and my lack of flexibility. How is it possible after ten years of teaching I could become so inflexible? Easy enough I allowed my mind to become that way being a right fighter, and my body became rigid and immobile.

I need to nurture that part of my myself that makes me feel whole again. I write, read, whine onto my digital paper and drink copious amounts of wine to dull my pain. Who knows of this push and pull existence that I put myself through time and  time again. It’s you my dear readers who have followed along with me on my journey through heartache, grief, self loathing, and sometimes redemption. I lay myself bare and venture out into the world when it seems to be less cold, hard, and judgemental. This is my life as a Mom with children with special needs.

You can’t see my son’s conditions but if you push them to the limit they’ll bleed through with their reactions to noise, over stimulus, and disapproving stares. One has a disorder called Sensory Avoidance. I refer to it as his needs are like a bucket of water and everyone puts in a cup throughout his day. When he’s home from school his sensory bucket is overflowing. and he needs to empty it out and self tegilate with calm and quiet time. I give him this time to decompress as I know it’s essential to his psyche and mental health!


My other son has the opposite disorder he is a seeker of sensory input and it’s referred to as Sensory Modulation. His condition I refer to as having an empty bucket that he fills with cups of water all day long with every interaction, noise, and stimulus. Each time his bucket is almost full he dumps it out and has to start all over again. So this is the push and pull of my son’s existence. One wants to avoid all contact until he’s regulated and able to fill up his bucket. The other is constantly dumping it out and finding new ways to fill it!

They both empty my patience bucket on a regular basis, and I need to fill it back up again with things that help. Like quiet time to myself, being able to read, write, soak in a bubble bath until  enveloped in the softeness and luxury. Closing my bedroom door each night and cuddling into my love my husband, my soft place to fall. He holds me and nurtures me and my hearts love bucket is full of self worth, respect, consciousness, and unconditional love. And I’m refreshed and restored and able to face another day. Whether it’s full of fighting, auditory hyper sensitives, food texture issues, sensory seeking, or sensory avoiding.

We all need to be loved, respected, accepted, loved, and nurtured. Please take that time to give your body, mind, and soul are crying out for. Don’t be like me who pushes and pulls into the core of my existence till my broken, weary, sleep deprived shell of a human body can’t take it anymore. Find those ties that bind you to the ones you love, absorb their love and strength, full that love bucket, and be more than, better than, stronger than the pain that threatens to grind you down. Love, nuture, take the steps to self care, and truly cherish that reflection that stares back at you from the mirror of your life.

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