Part 3: Celebrations!! … Our Family’s Personal Journey with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)
Post Contributed By: Amy Svensson, MA, CCC-SLP
” This day is a journey, this very moment an adventure.” ~ Rebecca Pavlenko
For whatever reason, I keep reading Part 1 and Part 2 of this blog series. Writing this series has been so therapeutic for me as a mom to document the SPD journey our family has been on the past 4 years. Oddly, I read these posts with a smile ear-to-ear. So strange! Perhaps I am smiling because I am celebrating how far our daughter has come over the past 4 years.
Our daughter is getting ready to celebrate her 10th birthday in just 2 weeks! She will never be in the single digits again! This makes me both happy and sad. I am a sentimental sap! I think about all that our little ‘bean’ has gone through since the day she was born. I firmly believe all of this has helped her develop into the determined and hard-working young lady she is. Nothing has come easy to her, yet it is all she knows and therefore does not get discouraged at the uphill climb. She has an incredible drive, intense amount of motivation, and is ambitious.
Although this is the 3rd and final post of this blog series, it by no means is the end of the long and windy road of SPD our daughter will travel on in her lifetime. Every day is a new day and each will bring on new challenges and celebrations. SPD is something she will always have, but at least she now has coping tools to manage to live a happier life and have more inner peace.
Earlier this week, once again, I had to pull out my infamous ‘black binder’ that holds every report, Explanation of Benefits (EOB), and various handouts listing treatment strategies. This time it was for the Student Support Team at our daughter’s school. Our daughter’s anxiety and SPD are starting to affect academic progress in mathematics which the neuropsychologist thought would occur as our daughter got older and different stresses would get placed upon her. At the end of the meeting, it was decided by the team that our daughter will be formally evaluated by the school district to determine if an ‘Other Health Impaired’ (OHI) classification for accommodations is warranted. I spent multiple hours on the phone this week with our daughter’s pediatrician’s office, researching Naturapathic Physicians who specialize in pediatrics (got that appointment made), looking into Tween summer social groups, researching good youth yoga programs to re-start that bit, and met with her PE teacher to discuss ways in which we can assist with our daughter’s coordination skills as it aligns with the curriculum. More phone calls. More appointments. More stones to turn over.
The journey continues.
We still celebrate though because we have accomplished so much! This is just par for the course. We celebrate because today (unlike 4 years ago) our daughter …
… loves to ride horses.
… goes on the high-beam in her weekly gymnastics class.
… goes on slides and high playground equipment.
… goes through airport security without panic.
… wears jeans.
… eats a variety of foods and textures.
… plays in the sand at the beach.
… self-advocates in loud environments such as in gym class with the whistle blowing. Her PE teacher knows not to blow the whistle super loud near our daughter.
… can tolerate large crowds.
… likes the company of others.
I know I am missing things, but these come right to mind.
This is all possible thanks to the intense therapy she has received, the reminders we give whenever needed for her to ‘Check Her Engine,’ school counseling, yoga, gymnastics, eating a raw and organic diet avoiding all dyes and high fructose corn syrup, promoting a structured yet flexible home environment/schedule, and encouraging outings and travel to continue exposure to new and exciting things, i.e. promote the unknown and although that can be scary, there is so much benefit to taking chances and risks.
My husband and I were recently out on a ‘date’ and my husband asked me if our daughter will be OK. I looked at him and confidently said, “YES!” Our daughter will be just fine. We just need to continue to make sure she feels safe, healthy, happy, loved, and SUPPORTED.
She will always have Sensory Processing Disorder and the anxiety but she now has the tools and interventions in place to help her succeed at her maximum potential. We know in our hearts as her parents we are doing all we can to make this happen. We will continue to celebrate each and every day. ~A
Resources that we have found helpful and are worth sharing:
“The Out of Sync Child – Recognizing and Coping With Sensory Processing Disorder ” – By Carol Stock Kranowitz
“Late, Lost, & Unprepared – A Parent’s Guide to Helping Children with Executive Functioning” – By Joyce Cooper-Kahn, Ph.D. and Laurie Dietzel, Ph.D.
“Quiet – The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” – By Susan Cain
“Raising Happiness – 10 Simple Steps For More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents” – By Christine Carter, Ph.D.