So what, you may be asking, has changed in my life to make time to start "Our Perfectly Imperfect Life..."? Well, to put it bluntly, nothing has changed, and yet EVERYTHING has changed. I am still haggard and harried, totally busy, and without enough hours in the day to do all the things I want to do. Our family life is still a non-stop whirlwind of activity. All of that's the same. The one big thing that is different for us is the recent diagnosis of my older daughter, C, as having Sensory Processing Disorder, or SPD.
SPD is a tricky disorder that is hard to sum up in a few short phrases. In a nutshell, people with SPD have a hard time handling the input they are getting from their environment through their eight - YES, you read that correctly, EIGHT - senses. Some people with SPD are overly sensitive to what the world is throwing at them, while others are less sensitive. Some people, like my daughter, are actually both overly- AND under-responsive, depending on which sense you are talking about. Each case is like a snowflake, unique in the shape and form it takes. The Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation has a great page that gives a more thorough overview of what SPD is, what it looks like, and how it's treated, to give you a bit more info on what I'm talking about.
SPD is NOT autism, or ADHD for that matter. Yes, lots of kids who are on the autism spectrum or have ADHD have SPD, but not all kids who have SPD also have autism or ADHD. The conditions do sometimes share some common characteristics and treatments, but they are not the same. This misconception frustrates me for many reasons, which we will get into in another post, when I've had time to digest what exactly drives me nuts about it.
Over the past few months since C's diagnosis, we've spent lots of time in occupational therapy (OT), reading lots of books in an effort to become overnight experts on the subject, working to help her teachers understand what makes her tick and support her in the classroom, and familiarizing ourselves with a whole new vernacular that includes "vestibular"... and "proprioception"... and "motor praxis"... and "sensory diet." I still don't think I can fully explain what's going on with my daughter with any sort of confidence, but we are getting there...slowly.
As we've been moving through this process, I have had this need to talk it out, figure it out, and share what I'm learning so I can better understand it myself. Having good friends who have been through this with their own kids, or who are just beginning this process for themselves, has been invaluable. Our family has been awesome, too. But I still needed another outlet, and that's how I have come back to blogging. Hopefully what I write here will not only be therapeutic for me, but also helpful to someone else.
Just like our family's life, the blog will NOT be entirely about SPD! This diagnosis is just a tiny piece to the very cool puzzle that makes up my daughter and our family. She is so very typical in so many ways, and like so many other kids with SPD, she looks and acts like any other kid a great deal of the time. It's the other times where she is just a little more sensitive to her environment, and over- or under-reacts accordingly, that set her apart just a bit. We'll dive into what we are doing to help her better navigate her world in future posts.
Anyways, that's it for now. I'm excited to be back at it - I hope you stop by often to see what's going on in "Our Perfectly Imperfect Life..."!