When you are a first time parent you often wonder if you can really be instinctually correct and you tend to write childhood behaviors off as “normal” because well you don’t really have much to compare them to from the perspective of a parent anyways. I’ve had a lot of experience working with kids – and as I may have mentioned in the past I took several Early Childhood Development courses at the local community college toward a certificate.
I can’t say I really learned anything in that program about SPD because it was really never mentioned. I’d heard of Autism because of media attention that it has recently been getting but never SPD. So when the Habanero’s teacher at his pre-school did a “evaluation” of him at about 2 and half I didn’t think much of it. I’ve done every ASQ for the pediatrician and never had any concerns. What were these teachers going to find that was out of the norm? Nothing; I thought my boy is pretty typical.
Then my husband had a review of my son’s eval with the teacher and said they specifically mentioned him covering his ears in protest when other kids are singing and dancing in class. I thought huh that’s weird maybe he’s just being a grumpy pants so I started paying more attention to my son’s quirks and I quickly realized he was covering his ears at home too at normal household noises like the sound of running water or frying bacon. These things weren’t loud but to him they were incredibly disruptive.
When he was a baby the Habanero got pretty upset at the 4th of July when my husband set off some fairly tame fireworks and we thought maybe he was just startled by the unexpected noise. He has shown a significant intolerance for noises since very early on and I felt horrible that I never really noticed it or thought much of it.
And there were other things like the fact that my oldest son is still in our bed and can’t seem to fall asleep without the TV on or playing with my hair. The fact that he likes to lick us – which we thought maybe was just a kid thing. He doesn’t seem to show much reaction to incredibly sour foods. He is constantly moving.
We couldn’t go out to restaurants without help because he’d spend the entire time terrorizing the place. It’s not that he wasn’t well behaved for the most part it was more that he would be constantly interrupting others trying to enjoy their meal by touching their leg or be staring at them. In the end the biggest flag that went unrecognized was his clumsiness. It’s hard to call a toddler clumsy – really they are just getting better at walking and running. Our boy has a constant line of bruises on his chins. We thought it might be related to his club foot – maybe his feet were regressing and it was tripping him up so we wrote it off. As it turns out it’s actually a proprioception issue.
So we had our son evaluated by a professional and fortunately there are several clinics in the area to choose from but not many specializing in treatment of kids his age. Apparently SPD is more common with older children since the clinics seem to revolve their availability around them which is pretty frustrating for a parent trying to balance a full time job and therapy.
In any case… yet another hurdle to overcome presents itself. Challenge accepted.