Shoppers are staring. Spaghetti sauce is covering aisle 6... (sigh) and my shoes.
Michelle Kemper Brownlow: His siren-like scream has moms from three counties speed-dialing Child Protective Services. He flails his body, hits his head, and screams louder. The moms who haven't called for backup are giving me "that look." Admit it, you would be, too.
There goes my Mother-of-the-Year award, and all because of three simple things: the squeaking wheel on the cart, the tag in his shirt, and his feet dangling out of the basket of the cart. My name is Michelle, and my 4-year-old has sensory processing disorder. Not many people have heard of SPD. I hadn't until three years ago.
According to the Diagnostic Manual for Infancy and Early Childhood, approximately 5 to 10 percent of children who have no other issues have sensory processing disorder. Most of us have no trouble interpreting the world around us using our five senses. A child with SPD, however, has difficulty responding to everyday sensations because those sensations are magnified exponentially. The result appears to be horrendous misbehavior, but in reality, is a "fight or flight" reaction that borders on fear and terror.
Imagine the squeaky wheel of the cart sounding like an air horn, the tag on your shirt being as sharp as a needle, and the sensation of your feet not touching the floor resulting in serious instability. Would you be able to function?
If your child has trouble coping with what you feel are normal situations, if his transitions from one activity to the next are increasingly difficult, if he seems to seek rough and dangerous activities or shy away from touch and eye contact, you may want to have him evaluated by an Occupational Therapist. Ours saved our home life and my sanity! Thank you, Chris!
|Michelle Kemper Brownlow is a freelance parenting writer, artist and popular mommy blogger who holds nothing back at My Semblance of Sanity. Michelle's unique but gentle parenting insight paired with her quirky sense of humor works to her benefit as she writes and illustrates children's picture books.|