As a society we encourage our children to be different and that being different is a good thing. When different comes with a diagnosis though, we long for them to share the same simple joys in life as other children, at least I do.
Since finding out about SPD, realizing my son has it as well as having an OT and Pediatrician agree, I have done a lot of research. Throughout the research I have seen the term “special needs” being used to refer to children with SPD. For my son, I don’t see that. To me he has EXTRA needs and has had these extra needs since the day he was born.
We have to take extra time picking out his clothes, from buying them to actually wearing them.
We have to take extra time during a haircut to get the fallen hair off of him.
We have to take extra time going to the bathroom, making sure there isn’t toilet paper in the toilet since the sight of wet toilet paper makes him gag.
We have to take extra time getting him ready for any activity that involves a group of people since he gets very nervous and anxious in a large group, especially one of his peers.
We have to take extra time reassuring him that being nervous is ok and that everyone gets nervous, that mommy and daddy wouldn’t ask him to do anything that would hurt him .
We have to take extra time during a temper tantrum, which is quite often, because it takes him a lot longer to get back to his ‘normal’ self again.
We have to pay extra attention to him when we are out for so many reasons. He gets easily distracted which causes him to be impulsive. He will let other kids push him around because he is too shy and nervous to speak up for himself.
We have to give him extra opportunities at a confidence boost since at only 4 years old his confidence level is usually so low that he says terrible things about himself.
These are just a few examples, everything we do takes extra time, extra attention, extra love, extra affection, but most of all extra patience.
Please understand that the intent of this is not to say that children with SPD shouldn’t be called special needs. It’s just a personal choice my husband and I have made to say that our special boy has extra needs.