This month's #madeupmilestones is a little different. Sensory Processing Disorder is complex. The term itself encompasses so many various types of people. From the ones that like to be hugged, to the ones that run away at every cost, SPD affect everyone differently. While some love the smell of dirty laundry, others begin to gag.
Here Trisha answers our three questions; who has achieved their #madeupmilestone, when and where did the #madeupmilestone happen, and the fab part... what happened, as she tells us about her glorious and wonderful eldest daughter, who is Tactile Defensive.
My oldest daughter didn’t like to be touched. As a baby she would be perfectly content to remain in her swing or her bouncy chair all day. As a new mum, I wanted to hold her. I wanted to bond and cherish her and hug every teeny, weeny, bit of her. But wasn’t what she wanted. If I picked her up, she cried. When I tried to hold her, she wailed. No matter what I did, she did not want me to touch her. I cried most nights, convinced that my own daughter didn’t want me. It was hard believing that your daughter hated your guts.
Apart from not wanting to be touched, she met all of her developmental milestones on time. Early even. She rolled over at three months and was taking steps a few more later. When she was a year old she recited the alphabet. By 18 months, she was playing on the computer, navigating the screen with two little hands on the mouse. She spoke in sentences and did flashcards for fun. Her development seemed fine.
She continued to have tactile issues. At two years old she refused to wear diapers or pull-ups at night; I was changing the sheets every morning or steam cleaning the carpet as she frequently preferred to sleep on the rough texture of our cheap indoor/outdoor carpet.
I began to read as much as I could about Sensory Processing Disorder and even took college courses on the subject. I worked hard to fill my head full of ideas, brushing protocols, and brain mechanics. Many experts believe that the sensory system is set by age eight; so I knew I only had a short period of time to get her to regulate her system. Just a few short years to get her system totally adjusted for the rest of her life.
My favourite #madeupmilestone was when my daughter was two years old. I nearly cried the first time she asked me to cuddle her. Finally, after years of struggling with a case of the “pricklies,” she wanted me to hold her. At last I was allowed to hold my daughter. Of course these periods of time were brief, and always on her terms, but they were greatly cherished. The mere act of writing this brings me back to the exact time and place. I can recall the sweet smell of her hair, and the touch of her soft cheek.
And there have been many #madeupmilestones since; the first day she wore trainers (with socks!) or the first day she wore pants. The day she finally wore a pair of jeans (after hours of OT) or the day she tolerated cottage cheese (though she still doesn’t like it). Even the first time she wore a swimsuit that actually fit. We had so many uphill battles and she worked really hard to get her sensory system regulated.
It is in these instances, even today, that I hold dearly. I know that unexpected touch and sounds are still tough for her. I know that she struggles to “keep it together” every day at school, and that she may fall apart as soon as she hits the car. I know that sometimes it is okay to hug her and sometimes not. But she is, and always will be my baby. And even if it took her 10 months for her to let me hold her without crying, she is who she is, and I love her with all of my heart.
Trisha Katkin is a special education teacher in NH. She is the mother of three beautiful, and amazingly talented girls. She has been a guest speaker at the University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability in their Behavioral Workshops and at the Summer Behavioral Summit. She writes a blog at Trishakatkin.com where her posts consist of advice and tips. You can also follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.
This guest post is part of my #madeupmilestones guest blogging series. This is a monthly series celebrating the achievements of our kids that are special to us and them.
If you'd like to share some #madeupmilestones with us and our readers, please get in touch with me or send me the answers to the questions like this example.