Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Please don't judge......

I was fortunate enough to be interviewed recently for a local parenting magazine on the issue of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). The article I hope will raise everyones awareness on SPD and help parents understand that they are not alone in their struggle with the effects of SPD on their families and lives. I also sincerely hope that this article will help others to not be judgmental when you see a child having a tantrum or meltdown. Please don't think to yourself or whisper to your friends about how the parent should discipline more or take control. It is never that easy. It has on occasion taken us 90 minutes to help Eoin calm down and reassure him, when he is under or over stimulated. 

Perhaps this analogy will help - It's Halloween and you are going to the biggest scariest Haunted House attraction in your neighborhood. Your adrenaline is pumping before you even enter the house. You might be giggly, quite or over talkative. You feel jumpy and nervous because you don't know what is going to jump out at you. 

You enter the house and your brain is bombarded with noises, darkness and then bright blinking lights. Something touches you unexpectedly and you jump. Maybe you scream, maybe you grab the person next to you or maybe you burst into tears. You wish with ever nerve in your body that this experience would end. But you continue. You have no choice. The only way to have this whole experience end is to keep going. You skin is crawling, your ears continue to be bombarded with scary noises and your eyes and brain can't quite make sense of what you are seeing and experiencing.

Finally you make it out of the attraction and you hit the cool fresh air. Your heart stops pounding and you continue on. Maybe it takes you longer than others to adjust, maybe you have a nightmare later about the experience but for most you recover and feel ok quickly.

Now imagine that this is your whole life! Imagine waking up in the morning and everything and I mean everything in your day is like walking through a haunted house. Imagine the stress you must feel.

Kids with SPD often feel like they are walking through a haunted house all day. The seams on their socks or the tag on their tee shirt makes their skin crawl just like your did when a spider brushed up against you in the haunted house. Someone whispering in their ear feels like a scream from a ghost or a fire truck driving by them with the sirens blaring makes them want to burst into tears and hide.

An unexpected touch whether it be a firm touch or just a gentle touch on bare skin can make anyone with SPD want to lash out and stop that touch. Being asked to try a new texture of food or being expected to tolerate 'everyday' smells such as dinner being cooked can be excruciating  for those who have SPD.

So please don't judge. Please don't judge a parent when their kid is having a tantrum or meltdown in an over crowded, noisy, bright place. Please don't judge someone who is wearing sandals in the winter because sock seams drive them crazy. Please don't judge the child who is wearing headphones at an assembly or in a loud setting. Please don't judge a child who is literally jumping off the walls because their body needs more input. Please don't judge the child who refuses to give you a hug or flinches when you touch them. Please don't judge the child who is constantly doing cartwheels, tumbles or can't sit still; this love won't actually calms them. Please don't judge the child who hides under a dark table with their hands over their ears as the world seemingly passes them by. 

Please don't shake your heads and say "Oh Sensory Processing Disorder is just the new 'it' thing to have your children diagnosed with". For all these children and and their parents and adults,  Sensory Processing Disorder is a very real and impactful diagnoses.

Finding an Occupational Therapist who specializes in SPD can change your life. For more information and help please visit these awesome sites. :
SPD Foundation - http://spdfoundation.net
A Sensory Life - http://asensorylife.com/
UCSF Sensory Processing Research Team - http://anp.ucsf.edu/overview/spd
The Out of Sync Child - http://out-of-sync-child.com


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Spring Soccer


Soccer continues to be a huge part of Eoin's life. His skills have improved dramatically along with his ability to stay focused and think ahead while playing. His strengths are definitely as a defender, goalie taking corner/goal kicks.

Andy coached Eoin's team again this spring and they both had fun with their new team. Fall will see us moving up a level to U8's but we are still going to play recreational and not at competitive levels. I don't think any of us are quite ready to join the ranks of the amazing soccer families who travel every weekend for league games.



Owl Eoin

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Bike Park

This morning we visited Calabasas Bike Park. Eoin has been dying to go here for so long. He spent a good two hours building up his confidence and by the end he was shouting "I got some big air on that jump". Now he wants to earn a proper BMX style jump bike (oh and some gloves as he got blisters).