My son, now 11 years old, has sensory processing disorder. There are many theories on what causes this. One is the lack of stimulation in today’s environment. Babies’ world is all smooth plastic and cotton. It’s safe, clean, and sterile. Before plastic, it was wood, porcelain, wool, cotton, hay, leather, and dirt; many, many textures.
Whoa, 15 days later and I found this post half written and unpublished, not what I wanted to write on today, but still an important topic. Lets see how fast I can finish it out as the the baby is starting to still this morning and, since she didn’t wake for her 2 AM bottle, I don’t expect her to play in her crib before crying to eat this time. Maybe I’ll get to my ‘New Adventure’ post later today, maybe not. I was excited to have alone time this morning, but that moment has passed. Then again, daddy my have to wake & care for baby as I post from the bathroom since IBS-D has been plaguing me the past week and it is from there I post (I know, TMI). Camping with the boyscouts this weekend should be lots of fun.
So Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD, previously Sensory Perception Disorder) what is it? And not to be confused with Autism, although they commonly go hand in hand. Many Autistic children can function very well once their sensory issues are addressed, often times their fear and anxiety are the result of sensory. Sensory refers to our five senses-taste, touch, smell, hear, and temperature (I think, the fifth is alluding me). Processing is just that, how our brain processes this information. So, in SPD, we have a disorder of how our brain processes sensory information. Either we over-process or under-process the information. Sounds are either too loud or not enough. Touch is either to harsh or not perceived enough. So, for my son, he developed anxiety of crowds before he was 1 year old because the noise was over-stimulating, and certain sounds (like a ferris wheel) would send him into fits of screaming. At the same time he craved the touch of certain textures (chenille of course) and hated tags on his clothes, hates the waste band on his underwear and seems in his socks. Occupational therapy is great for all this. Music Integration Therapy was the best for his sound sensory. There are several places for help, contact your local school board to start, they can refer you out. Here in Florida there is a referral hotline, under 3 years old, they go to Early Steps, after that the school board. Elks Lodge treated my son. Then he went to All-Childrens. At the time CMS was a huge benefit, but now they’re just an insurance like Medicaid.
Now that I’ve covered what it is, how do you prevent it? All babies are born with sensory, because they haven’t experienced the world, everything is new, their skin is sensitive, their ears are used to loud. Even us adults develop sensory as a lack of sleep, you know the morning after when the sun is like God’s Flashlight shining in checking on us. Everybody experiences sensory processing disorders off and on. So we can help our babies not develop life-long disorders by introducing them to a variety of textures. What did they use before plastic? Think old school. I’m learning this as I go, and I’m learning from my new baby. She doesn’t want to chew on her pacifier or that new teething ring, she wants to chew on my faux leather purse strap. That’s when my mom tells me that babies used to chew on leather straps when she was little. Oh really, I have a leather scrap kit… where did I put that. So I tied the leather strap to Camo Puppy. She chewed on it one day, then chewed on my purse strap. And she chews on the diaper bag strap, and big brother’s back pack, and anything but what I give her to chew on! She also had an old-fashioned clothes pin, that she likes, on of those wooden ones. You can find the on Amazon, they’re called space-men because the teachers use them in school when the kids learn to write for proper spacing in their sentences. They’re just hard to find unpainted.
whew, made it to the end and baby just started crying.