October is Sensory Awareness Month. As I thought about what to write, what to tell you about sensory processing, I recalled a lot of technical information regarding our senses, our brains, and how the two work together. Didn’t want to bombard you with that, at least not today.
I also thought of the many posts I’ve written about my personal experiences raising a son with dysfunctional sensory processing, which provided you with examples, analogies, and information about living a sensory life. But, I wanted to do something different. It was then that I decided to write about my son, not about his SPD, but about him. To let you know who he is.
This is O. He is adorably handsome (looks just like his daddy), super-smart and loves learning. He is curious about many things, most of all trains, although he is recently enjoying constructing buildings, farms and other assorted structures. He loves riding his bike, wrestling with his dad, and even playing “house” with his big sisters.
He loves his friends, and is excited to share in their ideas and their interests. He is frequently amused by his friends and tells countless stories of the funny things they do. Like his friend R from preschool who, on picture day, said, “Chuck-E-Cheese” when it was his turn to have his photo taken. That cracked him up. I love watching O being amused! His whole face laughs. It’s one of the only times when you see no indication of fear, just laughter, pure enjoyment.
And, although he may not always want hugs and kisses – just because they don’t feel good that day – he tells me he loves me countless times each day. He misses me when I’m away from him. And, in addition to being able to share his fears and concerns with me, he also wants me to share in his enjoyment of trains, Nick Jr, obstacle courses, and all other things O.
Most of all, I want you to know that he doesn’t want to have SPD. He doesn’t want to freak out over seemingly insignificant things. He wants to behave. Of course, like any other four-year old, he has his moments of stubbornness and misbehavior. But, he ultimately wants to please. This is the boy who, after a particularly difficult bath time, was so upset about not “doing it right” that he kept asking me if he could “try it again.” That’s O.
So, just be aware. Be aware when you see a kid “acting up” in Target or hiding in a corner covering her ears. It’s not always bad parenting or an oppositional kid. Maybe it’s SPD. Or maybe it’s just a bad day. I know raising O has changed my perspective of those people.
And, why do we only expect those who look different to act different? Don’t judge a child more harshly because he looks normal. Be aware of the differences and challenges we all face on a daily basis. Not just for O, but for all of us.
I have no pink or blue ribbon to wear. I only have my story to share.