Do you have some weird ticks about you? Do you have to have your clothes washed a certain way? Are there certain foods you won’t eat because of their texture? Are certain smells or sounds overwhelming for you? To some extent, all of us have a disorder. A Sensory Processing Disorder. But the majority of us learn to cope with it and become well-adjusted adults. For some, this disorder interferes with the ability live a normal life.
When James was an infant, I knew something wasn’t quite right. We, and others around us, labeled him colicky, strong-willed, stubborn, picky, clingy….you get the picture. It’s like he has always been out of sync. Despite the reassurance of well-meaning relatives and friends, I still saw behavior outside of the normal range. And I haven’t been able to let go of the nagging feeling that there has to be something that can help James get through his issues.
Here’s an article that Time ran about this disorder. Some of James’ symptoms include:
- Distressed by taking a bath or shower
- Severe separation anxiety
- Extremely fearful of the sound of a vacuum
- Extreme difficulty accepting changes in routine
- Requires excessive help from caregiver to fall asleep/go back to sleep
- Distressed by clothes rubbing on the skin, refuses certain items of clothing based on their texture or his perception of how tight they are.
- Distressed by medium to large groups of people, will resort to tantrums/meltdowns if he isn’t allowed to escape group situations
These all sound like the typical two year old…unless you actually see the severity that James exhibits. If you’ve ever had to wrestle him to the ground just to change his clothing, then you’d see what I go through every day. If you had to wait for Toby to get home to physically hold James down in the bathtub to bathe him, all the while listening to his desperate cries of “It HURTS! Water HURTS!” then you’d know something is definitely wrong. And if you saw the screaming and crying we go through just to get him to sleep, you would identify that he has an issue with self soothing.
Toby and I feel so blessed to meet someone here in Southern Illinois who works for Early Intervention and is helping us find the resources we need to help James. Pray with us as we will be meeting with a developmental therapist and an occupational therapist to evaluate what specifically James needs help with and how we can help him get past his sensory issues. Any time your child struggles with some area of life, it feels like a big responsibility as a parent to help him/her deal with that struggle.