Sometimes Parenting’s Difficult? Although true, not the meaning in this case. Remember how Justin and I were called in for a teacher conference the fifth day of school? And she said she thought Robbie had sensory issues? And I wanted to ignore it and pretend it was from moving and being in pre-school instead of daycare? Well, two weeks later, here we are. At SPD – Sensory Processing Disorder.
Yesterday, I filled out a questionnaire about Robbie and a friend who is an occupational therapist scored it. The results speak for themselves. As I read the questions, I found myself recognizing idiosyncrasies that, alone, did not add up to much. But, all on a page like that? Overwhelming. Accident prone – he’s hit the same spot on his forehead 20 times; he trips over his own feet; he falls off chairs and stools. He likes to spin in circles – but panics if someone spins him, especially upside-down. He doesn’t pull up pants that are sagging, which lead me to the discovery that my child should be able to dress himself. But he can’t. Panicking when he gets his hair cut. Never opting for a quiet activity. All the difficulty and frustration with potty training. There were pages and pages of questions, and I found myself checking “frequently” and “always” much more often than I had hoped.
Part of me feels an immense relief that there is a reason for all of this. In fact, as I realized all the symptoms Robbie had been presenting, I felt as if someone had just handed me the answer key to the past 18 months of my life. Robbie’s aggressiveness isn’t because he is mean. His inability to focus and calm down isn’t because he has ADHD (a common misdiagnosis of SPD, which I have learned from my crash-Internet course in the subject). And, even better, there is something we can do about it. Robbie will start occupational therapy as soon as possible. I have to be honest, it feels nice to have an explanation (which is not an excuse) for his behavior.
The other part of me wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. How could I not notice all of these signs? And if I had, what in the world would I have thought they meant? Had I done something wrong to “give” Robbie these sensory issues? Too much TV? Handing my iPhone over too often at a restaurant? Drinking caffeine and using aspartame while I was pregnant? (Again, from my crash course, the answer here is no.)
After I finished worrying about myself, I focused a little more on Robbie. Justin and I will have to work with his teachers (who are, blessedly, onboard with anything we suggest and determined for Robbie to have every skill necessary to be successful in kindergarten) and therapist to be consistent in implementing recommendations and strategies. But, what else could it mean for Robbie? I don’t want him to be the little boy no one wants at their house because they don’t feel they can watch him (to quote Zhining, “Must watch this boy every minute. Always so busy.”). Or the boy no one wants to be friends with.
Here I was, the woman who lectures her husband about getting all the information and processing one set at a time, nervous that my child would have an IEP before he could even say the word kindergarten. And, although I pray early intervention will be enough to get him through this, he may. And that’s OK. Some of my favorite people in the world have IEPs and they all turned out pretty fabulous.