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Wednesday
Apr022014

Autism & Sensory Processing Disorders

 

If it's not one thing, it's another. I'm not complaining, just sayin'.

A couple of years back, after much prayer and reflection, I realized that all that was put on my plate was for a reason and I began viewing trials from a different perspective—I realized that with each challenge a great and beautiful work was being perfected within me, my son and our family. My heart overflows with gratititude for my son and the joy he brings to my life each day. It overflows for my husband who has stood by my side through it all. It overflows for Little Man's big brother who has been a stellar friend to his bro and his mamma. And it overflows for each person who has supported us along the way.

For those who have followed Little Man's Story, here's a mini update.

Our boy is now six and a half. For six years now we have worked on diet and have spent many dollars on supplements and biomedical treatments. We have seen specialists, gone to physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy.

Has it helped?

Most it has. But looking back, finding the right path was not easy.

For disorders such as autism, there still is no clear cut road map or formula for healing. Perhaps that's because as Temple Grandin puts it, "if you've met one autistic, you've met one autistic." No two are the same and their needs can be vastly different.

As a parent I have learned the importance of being in tune with my child and seeking professionals who can help me do that. Have I always excelled at that—maybe not, but I have given it my best effort. If you are just starting out on this journey, I urge you not to be afraid to get help and seek support. Your sanity and your child's future hinges upon in.

Temple's story is profound. Her TED Talk (below) is worth the watch as is the film Temple Grandin—a testament to a mother's love and determination. 

I have always taken the stance of avoiding labels unless the application of them is necessary to obtain therapy and services. Little Man has never been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. Is he autistic-like?Perhaps. But the best we've received are fuzzy diagnoses. The one thing we know for sure is that Little Man is bright, inquisitive, and reads at a second grade level! Behaviorally—well that's another story and and it all seems to stem from his sensory processing challenges. 

Here is a great film to check out if you have been told your child is autistic-like, but not autistic. I have just ordered it—this is the trailer:

I was talking with one of Little Man's teachers the other day, telling her how from 1-3 years of age physical therapy was what he needed most. From 3-5 it was speech therapy. Now that he is 6 we are seeing that his most critical need is for occupational therapy. Leaving the quiet and predictable environment of home and entering school has really shed light on the fact that we are dealing with Sensory Processing Disorder. Thankfully his teacher knows that his behavior is not malicious and that it is rooted in his sensory issues. 

Resources

The following resources are ones I wish I had been armed with early on. When you sense something is not right with your child and you visit your child's pediatrician and are left with questions unanswered and very few suggestions for how to proceed, perhaps these will help:

  1. My child is young and something is not right, where do I start? Read this book.
  2. I need to find a doctor who really understands my child's condition.
  3. I want to read about adults with autism and what my child's future could look like.
  4. I want to see Sensory Processing Disorder from a child's perspective.
  5. I need to hear from parents of kids with Sensory Processing Disorder.
  6. Another definition of Sensory Processing Disorder?
  7. My child may be autistic-like but I don't think he's autistic.
  8. The difference between "supporting" your child and "fixing" your child (folks, this is where we are now!!)
  9. I need a good source for omega-3's and a probiotic.
  10. Show me how Occupational Therapy can be simple but so effective!
  11. I need a movie to watch this Friday night.

 

Reader Comments (7)

Thanks for shedding more light on a subject that needs more attention! My son who is nine and a half, will be starting OT on April 25th. He is also in vision therapy right now and has had some PT as well. It has been a long road to say the least but so well worth it. He has also done biomedical stuff too. He was diagnosed with ADHD-combined type, but I really feel so many of his issues are sensory related. We are prayerful that the OT will help him immensely and make daily life a little less stressful for him. I wish you and Lil man the best in your new OT endeavor. Keep up the awesome work, warrior mom!

April 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobin

Lex, you are so amazing for sharing your story and this will surely become a great resource page for many.

April 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlisa

I do have a 21 year old son with autism and have been dealing with this for 17 years. He has been wheat and gluten free before it was cool. Going on 15 years. Jack has sensory issues as well . A good probiotic we use is called Innate response formula: Flora 5-14 complete care along with a co-biotic. A good source of omega 3 is Salmon as I am sure you know. I mix chia seeds in with some stuff also. This has been a journey that has lead us from our home in Ohio to moving to Boston and most therapies from listening (Tomatis in Washington) to Dr Greenspan. And when the Dr in Cincinnati told me "We have hit a brick wall we don't know what to do" we moved to Florida to the Dan Marino Center " where we learned ABA.
I guess with all this what I am trying to say is never give up .Always look to see what you can do . There might not be a cure but by God we can make it easier hopefully for our boys.
I love your blog and recipes and want to thank you for all you do.

April 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDiane M Knight

Thank you for the great post and resources! My son has aspergers, sensory processing disorder, oppositional defiance disorder, TIC disorder, and epilepsy. I wish I would have had these resources when we first got the diagnosis of PDD-NOS (since changed) 5 years ago. I agree with you about not labeling our children, but we had to get all of the evaluations and a diagnosis to qualify for therapies and to help pay for medical expenses after several ER trips, MRI's, EKG's, etc...

Your little man is lucky to have you as a mom! I read all of your posts and you do so much for him. I really appreciate all of the information you share and your recipes :) Keep up the great work!!!

Thank you so much for reaching out and sharing your family's story. If I had only had medical doctors to turn to for help with our health issues (tourette syndrome, neuropathy, and more) I would have been sunk! I am so grateful for people like you who take the time to share what you have learned.

April 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGalina

When my son was failing 2nd grade we learned he had Sensory Integrative Disorder. Today he is a thriving 16 yr old in high school. The therapy that changed his brain was found through www.sensorylearning.com. It changed his life! I followed that up with occupational therapy. But a therapy I did on my own corrected his attention span problem. It was a tire swing. A tire swing rotates & revolves all at the same time creating changes that are absolutely amazing! He also had to do vision therapy. We went through sensitivities to soaps & foods but he is virtually free of all that now.

____________________________

Hi Liz,

I want to thank you for sharing your experience ... not only is it helpful to
others reading but it is helpful to me! :)

We live just up the road from Boulder. Did you take your son there for
treatment?

My husband and I have decided to do as much as we can this summer to get
him ready for 1st grade. We are doing movement therapy, installing a small
gym with swing, tramp etc in the basement. This Sensory Learning program sounds
very interesting. I have put a call in for more info and will let you know
if we do it :)

Thanks so much again for sharing.

xoLexie

April 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

Very nice post! Thank you for sharing :)

April 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAllergy Cookie

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