My daughter has been diagnosed with SPD, or Sensory Processing Disorder. What this means in a nutshell, is that her Sensory system is all out of whack. There are many faces of SPD, some are more extreme than others, and some are more difficult to manage than others. Many children will have different areas present themselves. These areas are: tactile, auditory, olfactory and oral defensiveness, as well as proprioceptive and vestibular dysfunction. My daughter has some auditory, olfactory, proprioceptive and vestibular. What this means is that what works today to calm her might not necessarily work tomorrow, or in 5 minutes for that matter.
Often her sensory issues will present themselves in behavior problems. This is particularly difficult, because, it isn’t completely her fault that she’s acting this way, but I can’t allow her to continue the bad behavior either. This leads to frustrated momma and child.
Lately she’s been on what I call a “Sensory High”, where she’s been extremely overactive. When she’s on one of these, she’ll act out constantly during her awake times. She’ll also tell me that she hurts- my back hurts, my toe hurts, my eyes hurt…… etc… everything hurts at one moment or another. Her clothes have to sit on her a certain way, and often the seatbelt will be particularly bothersome to her. We can be driving along and she will suddenly burst out in a scream because her seatbelt is bothering her. Try that for distracted driver! It’s difficult to deal with at best.
The acting out is bothersome, but the worst part is that she often goes for danger. Sunday morning at 4am I heard the back door close. I got up to see if one of the older boys was letting the dogs out or something and my 2 year old daughter was in the back yard back by the trees! Talk about a heart attack! She never went back to sleep. When she’s on a high, often sleep doesn’t happen like normal. Before I knew what was going on with her I would jokingly say that the only child proof room for her was a padded cell. This is, unfortunately not far from the truth. She’s almost 3 and still puts everything in her mouth, and often times it’s something yucky. I’ve learned to let go of most of my fears of her eating something bad because I just can’t watch her constantly. I’ve got to give it to God and do the best I can. And she’s fast. Whatever she’s doing, particularly if it’s something she’s not supposed to, she’s super fast.
All of these things make us on constant alert with her, and that’s hard. It’s exhausting. It’s frustrating. I feel like a terrible mom. A Lot. But the absolute worst part-
My daughter will often go days without peace. You know when you see your child playing by themselves and there’s just a peace about them? You know when babies sleep how they look so peaceful? Often she will not have that. Even when she’s sleeping her eyebrows are raised, her body is tense. It’s awful. I mean just awful. I can’t do anything to give her that peace that she needs so much. I can only try the things the therapists recommend. And what works today might not work tomorrow. What works tomorrow might not work later that day. It all depends on what sensory system is being set off.
I know there are times when I’m out in public with my daughter and people are staring because she’s acting out. I’m sure they’re thinking one of two things- either that kid needs a spanking, or geez that mom needs to take a chill pill! That too depends on the day.
There is nothing more defeating than not being able to help your child.
So, I do what I can. Of course we pray constantly that God will heal her heart. We are grateful that she doesn’t have other lasting consequences of the drug exposure. And, I try to have the conversation with her often that I love her even when we’re having a bad day. Today I decided to start something new for just she and I. I told her I will love her always and forever no matter what. Then I told her to put her finger to mine and we’ll say together, “Always and forever”… That will be our sign that no matter what, through thick and thin, we’ll always be there for her. I also tell her that I love her just as much when she’s disobedient as I do when she’s obedient. Yes, she’s 2. But I’m telling you this kid is S.M.A.R.T. and she KNOWS what I’m saying.
So, if you think about us, say a little prayer for us that we can find some consistent ways to give our daughter a little peace in her heart.