I could never seem to accurately explain Jude to people. Whenever I tried to describe Jude’s behavior my words would always fall short. He has to be experienced to fully grasp his “MORE THAN” nature.
Like most 5 year old children Jude is active, unaware of personal space, emotional, loud, and full of energy but there’s more to him than typical 5 year olds. Before we met with the occupational therapist and before we had a diagnosis I knew something was different. Even though I couldn’t explain it I could clearly see a difference in Jude’s social interactions, especially when he was with other children his age.
Then we met with an occupational therapist and even before his evaluation was complete she said she could tell he was a sensor seeker. She explain Sensory Seeking like this, “It’s like wearing a glove, you can still feel things but not the full sensation as when you are not wearing the glove. Jude’s senses are like being in a glove, they require more input to meet his sensory requirements.” That made sense to me. He is like most children his age just with a little “more”.
He needs MORE movement which is why he is always jumping.
He needs MORE auditory input which is why he hums when he is playing.
He needs MORE physical touch which is why he has problems with personal space.
He needs MORE visual stimulation which is why he likes bright lights.
He needs MORE physical/muscular stimulation which is why he likes to rearrange furniture.
He needs MORE body awareness which is why he is constantly running into things.
He seeks MORE input which is why we seem to have trouble managing his behavior. He wants to do the right thing but can’t seem to find a way to meet his sensory needs without breaching the boundaries of acceptable behavior.
What we initially thought were exclusively behavioral issues actually have a deeper root. However, in no way do we use SPD as an excuse for poor behavior instead we use what we are learning from observing his occupational therapy to alter our approach to help him meet his sensory needs and correcting his behavioral issues accordingly.
Jude is a very bright kid, he does very well in school when his social and behavioral struggles don’t interfere with his daily activities. Treating SPD with occupational therapy and adjustments to his “sensory diet” won’t rid him of SPD but it WILL help him learn how to properly meet his sensory seeking needs. He will learn to self-regulate and we will learn how to support him along the way.