When a child’s sensory issues are severe enough to interfere with learning, socializing, and functioning in her world, a parent can’t help but wonder what the future holds. What limitations will the child with SPD have? When a child is first diagnosed, even if there are no other comorbid conditions, parents will often experience a sense of relief (“THAT’S what’s going on! There’s a name for it!”) but also a sense of grief, because their vision of a “perfect” child has been shattered. We are told what we can do to help–get the child to a pediatric occupational therapist who is trained and experienced in helping children with sensory processing disorder, set up a sensory diet of activities, and so on. But what about down the road? How effective will interventions be?
I believe that the moment you choose to develop sensory smarts and address your child’s sensory issues is a crucial turning point in your life and the life of your child. From that moment, it gets better. And you may be very surprised by what your child is able to do with love, patience, encouragement, a sensory diet, OT, and any other therapies or accommodations she needs. Here’s an uplifting story of a girl whose tactile issues due to SPD nearly kept her from achieving her dream but who, with the help of her parents and some accommodations, was able to reach her goal of becoming a ballerina.
So often, we are forced to see our child’s problems but rarely are we encouraged to look at their wonderful qualities. Kids with SPD have challenges, but their perseverance, creativity in finding solutions, and can-do attitude can be deeply inspiring to all of us. Yes, they have bad days like everyone does, and they doubt themselves, but when it comes to finding a way to make their dreams come true… you just never know what they will pull off.