I’ve been very hesitant to write this post because I want to be sensitive to Jude but I also want to share information that other parents might find useful. So for now I’m just going to share MY story.
For years Joe and I have struggled with parenting Jude. He’s a very sweet, kind and fun-loving child but he has always been a little bit MORE than most kids. Both Joe and I are easy going laid-back people so to have a child that is outgoing and full of energy was a huge curve ball in parenting. We read books about parenting the “spirited-child”, consulted friends, and tried many different parenting techniques but little was helping us properly meet Jude’s needs. I began to feel defeated and like I was doing something wrong. I questioned every parenting decision I made and was consumed by trying to find something that would work for Jude. It became so overwhelming at times I would break down crying because I felt like a parenting failure. “Why was my kid having so much trouble with everyday kid emotions and interactions?” I was emotionally and physically drained.
Everyone told us that Jude was just “active” or “just being a boy”, which was of no help at all. Of course he’s being a boy, he is one. I’d fully expect a preschool boy to be running around full of energy. But when all the other little boys stopped running mine kept going. Why?
I feared that when he went to school they would try to label him and want to medicate him. So I started reading. I read A LOT. I read about ADD, ADHD, Autism, Spirited Children, Learning Disorders, Bi-Polar, Ect…. but none of those diagnoses fit Jude. It wasn’t until Jude started Kindergarten that I ran across an article about Sensory Processing Disorder. I’d heard of SPD but didn’t know anything about it. As I read about the “Sensory Seeking” child it was like someone had been watching Jude. I felt relief and a little overwhelmed.
What does it mean for a kid to have Sensory Processing Disorder? I didn’t know anything about SPD or how to treat it. Where do you start?
I talked with Joe.
I talked with Jude’s teacher.
I talked with my parents.
I talked with other people with children that have SPD.
I searched the internet.
I checked out books from the library.
For several weeks I studied SPD before finally deciding to call an Occupational Therapist. Even though I was convinced that Jude has SPD, I knew I needed to hear it from a professional. Before learning about SPD I didn’t know what an Occupational Therapist was. I didn’t know if I needed a referral from our pediatrician. I didn’t know if it would be covered under insurance. I didn’t know a lot of things but I knew I needed to do something, so I just called.
A few days ago Jude and I met with an occupational therapist for an evaluation. He took a few tests, played with some toys and talked with the occupational therapist. The test results haven’t been finalized yet but the therapist said that just by observing him she could tell he will certainly qualify for therapy and is a sensor seeker. I felt relieved and hopeful as we left the therapist’s office.
No parent wants their child to have a special need but to know that it’s more than just behavioral is kind of a relief. I feel hopeful now that we have a diagnosis that we can work together with the occupational therapist to help Jude. It’s going to be a lot of work but instead of spinning our wheels I think we’ll make some headway in the right direction.
Parenting is tough work ya’ll.