Ever have a conversation with someone and spend most of the time thinking that they look different? “Hmmm, she looks different today. I wonder if she got her haircut? Or maybe she got it colored? Something is definitely different today.” So at the first chance you have you ask, “did you do something different with your hair today?” and your friend says, “my hair? no. I got new glasses though.” and suddenly it all makes sense. Yes, those are new glasses. The rest of the conversation flows easily and you no longer have a nagging feeling that something is “different” but you just can’t put your finger on it.
That was me. Only it wasn’t my friend… it was my son. And it wasn’t just a nagging suspicion during a conversation… it was an overwhelming fear in most of my daily interactions with him. I began to notice something was “different” when at two and a half Jacob still didn’t have age appropriate play skills, got overly excited when around other children, had a hard time with other children’s personal space, still mouthed many things, spun in circles, walked on his tippy toes, never seemed to pause for very long, chewed on his clothes and had a variety of other “odd” behavior. The big red flag came when he started getting excluded by his peers. When older toddlers and preschoolers were noticing that he didn’t interact the same way other children their age did and didn’t want him playing with them or sitting next to them. That hurt. I didn’t want him to go through life being awkward in social situations.
So I called Early Intervention. When it came time for the initial consult the woman from EI mentioned that maybe Jacob had Sensory Processing Disorder. I had heard of that but from what I knew about SPD it was people that didn’t like loud noises, strong smells, and things like that. People that avoided sensory experiences. That was NOT my son.
He was evaluated by therapists and we were told that was, in fact, what he had. Then I learned about the other end of Sensory Processing Disorder- the sensory seeker. It all made sense. THAT WAS MY SON. Suddenly his crashing, and chewing on things, and throwing toys, and all the other things that he did that just made him look like a BAD kid and made me look like a BAD mom…. now I knew there was an underlying reason for that behavior.
I was happy for a diagnosis because now I know what is “different” with him. Now I can get him the help he needs. Now I can adjust how I parent. Now we can move forward.