Pushing the envelope with sensory processing disorder

2011-08-22 10:36:27 by Sarah Sanford, Patient Family, as posted on the inside.akronchildrens.org blog.

The learning curve on this sensory processing disorder thing is wide. I’m still learning. It’s trial and error.

At a cousin’s Pump It Up birthday party, Baby Jude had a complete shutdown, but no meltdown. That’s a victory in my book. At a trip to LakeSide, where there is lots of sand, Jude had a complete meltdown, then a complete shutdown. He only rested after he “walked” barefoot over the sharp-as-nails mulch like it was clouds. He craves deep, big sensory input in his feet, hands and core muscles.

If Baby Jude could talk, he would beg you to rub his head and put a stocking cap on it, and then top it off with his knitted blankie to cover his face from all specs of light. I hear the words complex, complicated and dual from lots of smart docs and therapists. More often than I ever thought possible in regards to the babe. He is complex. He is complicated. His sensory needs appear to be dual.

But to me, he is just Baby Jude. The Baby Jude with a few kinks I am trying to work out.

SPD is a touch-and-go thing. Sometimes sunglasses, ear plugs and lots of movement can get Baby Jude through crowded, loud, BIG situations. Sometimes none of it works. He can go from 0-60 in a heartbeat. Bad peripheral vision + folks behind or to the side surprise him and that equals a freak out. His hearing can cause the same.

Last week we attended a party at Chuck E. Cheese. It was important for us to go. It was Jane’s Pre K classroom mixer. I knew it was a bad idea for Baby Jude going into it, but I didn’t have a sitter and this little lady needs acclimated to her new friends sooner than later.

So, J, J and I went. Epic failure. We went an hour early to get them both accustomed. Jude had all of his bells and whistles activated, working through the maze of “ding, ding, ding” sounds, blaring lights, screaming kids running around, and giant mechanical mice, ducks and other rodents singing on stage. We gave it a whirl.

Jane had a little fun, but it was a bit too much for her, too. Then I looked at Baby Jude, batting his face, banging his head into the stroller seat, and saw sheer panic in his big, sweet eyes. Time to go, Pre K party or not.

The thing about SPD and other sensory disorders is it’s important to try. It’s important not to keep your kid at home every day. It’s important to try to integrate your child into any and every environment he may or may not be in some day, to push through some of the tough times, to hope he can communicate how upset he is and to be ready to respond quickly.

It’s important to try with SPD - cuz it is not the end of the world. It’s doable. It’s manageable. But it appears to be here to stay, for now. So more than anything, I guess, with any little one, SPD or not, it’s more important to know when the meltdowns, shutdowns and giant mechanical mice are just too much.

But the better lesson as we got home came as my lovely little Janey Bug says, “Well, Sarah, I guess you pushed the envelope tonight.”

It’s a good thing she’s cute and keeps it light around here!

P.S. This is not the 1st time she has used that phrase on me and I am gonna keep on trying with him and for him.

Grateful, Prayerful & Hopeful.

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