Just a little while ago I heard Adrian talking to Derek in the living room and he said, ” I heard Mommy say ‘impossible’. That’s not even a real word and shouldn’t even exist. I heard that ALL things are possible through Jesus. She was wrong. So……..will you make me a bo staff that won’t hurt anyone but can hold all of my weight?” About 15 minutes earlier, Adrian had flown down the stairs, jumped in front of me and shouted, “Mommy! I need you to make me a bo staff strong enough to hold my weight but soft enough that it won’t actually hurt anyone.” So, of course I said, “Impossible!” and laughed. He revised it to, “well…..can you make it so it won’t hurt anyone REALLLY bad?” I said, “no buddy, it’s all or nothing with that kind of thing. Sorry.”
The verse that he was referring to “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”Matthew 19:26 . is one that we discuss often in our house although I suspect he was paying attention today at least for a few minutes and heard it. You see, today at church our pastor mentioned that he is trying to teach this concept to his granddaughter. Adrian was with us in “big church” because with his nervous system so out of whack these days, he just can’t handle it in his class. It’s also difficult in the bigger sanctuary but this was one of those days that for whatever reason it was functioning closer to normal.
One aspect of his particular brand of Sensory Processing Disorder is that he has modulation problems which just means that at any given moment, he can be under OR over responsive to things in his environment. Places like church or concerts or school have a lot of bright lights, loud music, tons of people talking, moving, touching him and that sort of thing which if he’s in an over responsive state can create havoc in his little body and make him feel like he’s in actual pain. On the other hand, he’s had shingles, an extremely painful illness, several times and cannot even feel it. In fact, most deep pain such as the kind you will get from a bad bruise are not painful at all yet if he gets a tiny scrape or light poke he will feel like he’s dying. This is because there are different types of sensors that go to different parts of our brains. One of those types, the light touch, is mostly over responsive while the other one that is connected to the “deep touch” is mostly under responsive. Just a side note here, I am not using any technical terms right now. It’s just easier to understand this way.
Another neat little aspect of this SPD is an auditory processing problem. We thought it was just him ignoring us for years and he would often get in trouble at school, church and home because of it. I’ll just add that to the list of bright shining parenting moments. (UGH! The guilt!) You can sometimes say his name over and over and he can hear you perfectly but just doesn’t “process” that the sound is his name. It also manifests when he’s playing with other kids or say taking direction from a teacher. Someone can give him instructions and he will hear the words and he’s extremely bright but they get jumbled in some way before he can understand what it means. The next step is that he doesn’t know that he isn’t getting the same information as everyone else but he does know that he is not “doing” it right or “following” through” etc. He sees that everyone else is on the same page but him with whatever the situation might be such as in a classroom, in a game or church group and then he sees the teacher or leader either annoyed or angry with him and then comes the next step, a meltdown of some kind.
Those feelings of stress and anxiety at not “getting it right” will often trigger some sensory overload and then oh boy, watch out. It starts getting ugly. Any of his former teachers can attest to this. It’s just very different now in that we know what’s happening and why. Before just a couple of months ago, everyone saw and treated it as a behavior issue. In the church and school classroom, it looks like disobedience, defiance and an unwillingness to follow through because sometimes he can process what you’ve said or follow the physical cues of others around him. Or he’s alone with you or in a small group and there are no problems whatsoever. This can be very confusing and even annoying to adults who are used to obedience and would often end in him being punished in some way.
I can understand that because I felt the very same way but the difference is that this is my child and I feel the weight of responsibility for his happiness and success. I won’t even attempt to go into any of the anguish I felt over not knowing what was happening to him over the years. That is another post for another day.
On this day, this post is about the possible. Right now, it looks impossible that Adrian will ever willingly go back into any type of classroom situation. It looks like negative or disbelieving friends and family will never understand him. It looks like a lot of other things that are simply not true. One thing, which Adrian himself reminded me of, is that ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE. Even Sensory Processing Disorder being a thing of the past. It won’t always be at the center of our minds when planning anything. Adrian WILL be happy and successful doing whatever it is that he was made to do. I’m certain of that because we have God who promised us that with Him all things are possible. For now, that’s all I need to remember for those times when I feel my faith start to waver or I start to have a pity party about all the things I could/should be doing better for all of my family. I have only to remember that it is not about what we can do on our own but what God can do with us and through us. And that takes a very heavy load off of this mama’s shoulders.