One of the most interesting things for me to analyze is children who have some sensory issues and the way they deal with them. I admire kids who can recognize the problem, are able to verbalize it, request help from an adult (parent/ teacher), and finally successfully solve the issue and move on.
I guess after so many years of living with clouds of frustration quickly moving into meltdowns, knowing that little MeMe has something he needs to tell me but isn’t able to, and then the “cleanup” from the meltdown tempests, I get a surprise when kids can actually be emotionally aware enough to smoothly get through every day life.
One of my younger sons, all of six years old now, has been surprising me this way for a while now. I can see sensory issues in him. He hates feeling crowded, he hates noise, he loves being held tightly. I’ll never forget how when he was a two year old toddler, he loved when I wrapped thin baby blankets around his shoulders and waist and then secured them with a “belt” (actually a string from the Melissa and Doug beads-strings set).
He would also come over to me multiple times a day and say: “Hold me.” He loves being held so much that when he gets into one of his moods, I’ve learned that it isn’t the time for discipline, he simply wants to be held and hugged. Every night once my kids are finally ready for sleep, I make sure to check on him and see if he needs an extra hug to help him relax.
My four year old son has one signal that shows me his day is over and he needs bedtime now: he starts running around the house like mad, hyper like anything. After a bath, pajamas, and the rest of the bedtime routine, he has one little, sweet request: “Mommy, can you rock me?” I guess his vestibular system needs an extra wind-down.
He is also the last one to get up most mornings (except on the weekends, of course- then he’s up bright and early). On school mornings I have to coax him out of bed, trying not to be aggravated. Sometimes I actually dress him while he’s still sleeping but he doesn’t appreciate being woken up that way.
His favorite outings are when we go on the subway train. We could go nowhere and he’d ask to do it again. The only thing is that he remembers how much noise the train makes when it pulls to a stop so he stands next to me on the platform with his hands clapped over his ears as we wait for the train to arrive. Even if I manage to convince him that the train isn’t coming for another ten minutes, he won’t let go of his ears, just in case.
Oh, he also hates ketchup. And tomato sauce. Anything that changes his plate’s white color.
My seven year old has always been extremely literal. Not so long ago, he threw MeMe’s birthday present in the garbage as a result of a poor (I know now) joke I made. When I took us all off junk food years back, it seems I should have been less strict with him since he still insists he doesn’t want to eat anything unhealthy ever again. For a while that sounded great to me, even when he faced the crowd at his kindergarten graduation and asked for “just the paper” (diploma without the attached candy). But when he started to be really extreme about it without letting up even the tiniest bit, I knew I had to teach him to be more flexible, for his own sake. He is the only one of my children that I will try to get to eat junk food once in a while.
My three year old’s worst nightmare is lotions and creams. Her hands could be chapped and bleeding, and feeling like the enemy, I have to force hand lotion on her while she screams. She hates hates hates the sensation of it. I tried to do it in the middle of the night while she slept but she’d waken instantly and look at me with accusing eyes. Sometimes I just sit her down in front of a large pump-bottle of lotion and tell her to play. At first she wouldn’t even look at it but after a while she did actually get used to rubbing it on her hands. Now she has the choice to let me put it on or to put it on by herself.
While all of these things are sensory “issues,” they aren’t wreaking havoc on our lives so they aren’t considered a disorder.
Which sensory issues have you picked up in children without sensory processing disorder?