This is an upcycled post. While Bubs was only 5 years old than when this was first posted, he still deals with coping issues.
I received a sweet email from a mom a few days ago desperate for support with her son who has Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Her letter cried out as she struggles to deal with the stares from people over her son’s “quirky” coping mechanisms when he is in sensory overload.
How I feel her pain. Just a few days ago I received a “look” from a very good friend.
I never doubted myself so much until Bubs was born. I realized around 18 months that normal discipline did not work with his sensory issues. Those well-meaning suggestions from family, friends, and strangers did more harm than help. Others simply didn’t get it. For that matter, I didn’t either. I didn’t know what to do.
Finally we started Occupational Therapy that focuses on Sensory Integration. I am 100% sold on OT with these SPD kiddos. The difference in Bubs is night and day. While he isn’t “cured,” we are both learning how to cope with his issues.
There are two things that I have learned through OT. First, Bubs needs a sensory outlet – jumping, riding a bike, running, carrying heavy things. Secondly, we have to train him to have “normal” and socially acceptable outlets. Not the ones that cause people to stare or walk the other way.
Let me give you an example: When Bubs has a meltdown, he yells – really loud. Yelling is not socially acceptable. So, we are training him to yell into his pillow. He also wants to throw things. He is learning that throwing his stuffed animals at the floor is okay. Throwing his toys at the door is not. Hitting is not allowed. We are training him to hold his hands together tightly or put them in his pockets. He is learning to trade his ugly anger with outlets that are acceptable.
Basically, he is learning to trade unacceptable behaviors with ones that are okay all while dealing with the turmoil of emotions which he is feeling.