Saturday, November 9, 2013

On My Sensory Son

Do you see the four spoons and the cup wrapped in a napkin sitting in a mug? That is how we eat ice cream around here because it's sticky, the cup sweats and the ice cream melts too quickly. I don't really mind accommodating my son's sensory issues as long as I find something that consistently works, which is often a moving target. Just when I find a groove that seems to keep us all happy, or at least the meltdowns to a minimum, everything changes.

What I work on the most is helping him to express what he does not like, because then we can fix it. Temperature? Texture? Appearance? Sound? Smell? He is getting better at telling me what's wrong, and he trusts me to fix it. He told me he doesn't like people coming over when he's watching a show because they are too loud and he can't hear his iPad. He doesn't like some people because of the way they smell. He is beginning to tell us what he's afraid of or what he doesn't like when he's anxious in social situations. He wore headphones during a family worship night at our church; my heart almost burst with pride. There he was, joining in with other kids, having a good time. As a baby, we couldn't even take him to church. This doesn't make his sensory needs go away, but it lets us form a plan. Once he knows he can do something about it, control some of it, he feels powerful, successful, less confused and overwhelmed. Slowly, slowly, we are learning about and teaching each other.

I call his extra-sensitive-senses his superpowers, which helps me to reframe them into something positive, for both of us. My heart was glad the day I overheard him telling someone, "I am a really good smeller." 

There are a lot of tough days, but then there are beautiful, amazing moments that we both savor, which only happen because he does notice and feel everything so intensely. A blessing and a curse.

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