I absolutely loved Hartley Steiner’s blogpiece on what you need to do once you learn your child has sensory processing disorder. Over the years on the many online support group forums I’ve read, I’ve noticed that the typical chain of events is that the parent
1) knows something’s “off” or wrong,
2) seeks help,
3) gets told by well-meaning people that she’s “worrying too much” and second-guesses herself,
4) eventually comes across a description of SPD and thinks, oh wow, THAT is the missing piece,
5) stands there stunned, upset that there really IS something wrong, thrilled that she finally has some answers, confused by what to do next, sad because her illusion that her kid has no problems after all has just been shattered.
I always say that first, just take a deep breath and recognize that you are more empowered now than you were yesterday. You have more knowledge, and you’re going to build upon it. Your child is already benefitting from your hard work and diligence in finding answers. If you simply start there, feeling good about what you’ve already done to help your child, the fear starts to dissipate.
Know that there is a LOT of support. People can be incredibly generous in sharing ideas, giving feedback, and offering encouragement. If you can, join an in person support group for parents of kids with SPD (try The SPD Foundation’s Parent Connections). If not, join an online support group such as the ones through www.yahoogroups.com (SID_DSI_AllAboutKids, sensoryintegrationgroup, sensoryintegrationdysfunction, and SID_DSI). Heck, do both!
There are so many resources out there–don’t get overwhelmed. Learn just a little each day. Poke around my website, sensorysmartparent.com, and check my award-winning book, Raising a Sensory Smart Child: The Definitive Handbook for Helping Your Child with Sensory Processing Issues, coauthored with Lindsey Biel, OTR/L. Don’t feel pressured to become an expert overnight or “inhale” every book on the topic (as I did years ago–talk about information overload!). Focus on what’s most important to you: Your child’s tantrums in public or school? Her picky eating? Bedtime battles? As you start to implement some practical solutions (there’s a HUGE section on them in my book and lots of info on my site as well), you’ll start to realize you really can help your child with her sensory issues. And I promise, it gets much better!