Anything to do with “parenting” these days is big business. We all want to get it “right”! Because of this desire to be the best parent we can be, we compare, compare, compare and judge, judge, judge. Parenting is hard work and unfortunately instead of supporting one another we shame each other. Our culture is so fixated on being the “perfect parent” that we forget our goal is to develop healthy, happy children. Parents compare, parents judge, parents are often hopeless and feel helpless in knowing what to do with these crazy whirling dervishes we call kids. We forget there are no requirements or protocols for parenting. When you add a disability to the equation, you can easily feel lost, alone, and forgotten by the other parents around you because “they just don’t get it.”
When you have a “different” kid, judging can become severe. What another parent would do and what you do is usually the opposite. Parent shaming is nothing new, as we all know about it and strive to not do it. The challenge with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is the general public doesn’t know what it is and if they do, they think that the only children with SPD are those on the autism spectrum.
SPD is highly prevalent in autism but it is also an independent diagnosis in itself. In fact it happens in about 5% of the population. The children with SPD that are most often misunderstood and are a challenge to typical parenting strategies. In particular, “sensory seeking” children which are in constant motion and need to feed their nervous systems of sensory input. You see, “seeking” is just that; these children crave input because their bodies feel as if they are astronauts floating in space. They look for sensory stimuli to help them feel and know where their bodies are in space.
This often includes: Jumping off objects, running into things, excessive climbing, aggressive touch, constant shoving & pushing, cravings for high sugar & fat foods, novelty visual stimuli eg. video games, talking VERY loud, lack of awareness of personal space bubbles, and the list goes on! For more information about sensory seeking go to https://www.spdstar.org/
Sensory kids do these behaviors so that they can calm down and focus! These behaviors, specifically sensory seeking ones, can look like ADHD, which is often misdiagnosed in SPD kids. Parents like to tell