Some days you just gotta congratulate yourself because no one is going to do it for you! As a sensory parent, no one is hosting some grand dinner for you to honor your Outstanding Dedication and Perseverance.
My big win was this weekend at a birthday party. We arrived a little bit late and the place was in full swing. My 5yo took one sweeping glance at the “dance party” birthday and instantly insisted I sit with him for a while.
Initially I was thinking, why can’t my kid just join in for once without any drama? But then the drama didn’t come. He sat quietly and asked me to scratch his back. This from a tactile defensive kid. So he was trying to find a way to acclimate to the loud music and commotion. Hugging or cuddling would have been too much. But today the back scratching was just right.
Then he began to get into the groove. He didn’t jump into the group but stayed off to the side, having a great time doing what looked like a Jane Fonda aerobic workout.
He excused himself from the room twice, saying it was just getting too loud in there. And this was when I had my Aha moment. He’s finally starting to get when he needs a sensory break and acting on what his body tells him. Yes, this is where you break out into applause!
This is the moment we all work so hard for. When our child, even though he may still have sensory issues, is able to identify what he needs and then does what he needs to do to self regulate himself.
Now I’m not kidding myself. This child cried and cried and cried and cried when I picked him up from school last week before he had time to finish looking at a book. He was so upset he couldn’t respond to what I was saying or probably even hear it. So I drove the car with a sobbing child to OT. It’s what we have to do sometimes.
But then there are times like this weekend. When I can see into the future and know that even though I may not be able to fix my child’s sensory challenges, I’m able to grasp onto the very real hope that in the end he’s going to be okay.