I haven’t blogged in nearly a week, as Trevor (and consequently I) haven’t been getting much sleep. I planned on writing a new Make-It Monday post today, but I think instead I’d like to step up onto my soapbox today. I belong to an online support group for kids with delays and someone commented on a post today about sensory issues and if OT for sensory issues is really necessary. This person questioned whether or not a sensory diet was just a “crutch” and maybe we should just force these kids to deal with their sensory issues on their own. As a mom of a kid with SPD I can tell you without a doubt that SPD is real, and it sucks. There are noises that physically bring Trevor pain. Some lights and other sensations also bring him physical pain. He also has a need (yes, NEED) at times to chew, so we offer him a Chewy Tube. Maybe the Chewy Tubes, noise-cancelling headphones, heavy work, strict adherence to his routines, etc. are all crutches of a sort. But my question is, what’s wrong with that?
Trevor is also globally delayed. At one time he needed to use a walker to help him walk. Eventually he got strong enough and learned to walk independently. But would you look at a child using a walker and tell them to toughen up and just walk on their own? No, you wouldn’t. These sensory “crutches” are no different than allowing a motor-delayed child to use a walker or a speech-delayed child to use a communication device. Hopefully one day Trevor won’t need these extra things. Obviously my greatest hope is that, like with the walker, he becomes strong enough to one day not need these assists.
But even if it turns out that he always needs a little extra support with sensory issues, I will never deny him what he NEEDS simply because sensory issues are misunderstood and not as obvious as not being able to walk or talk. As a mother my job is to make sure my child is happy, safe, and loved. If when he’s in school he needs to sit in a special chair or needs “sensory breaks” so that he can focus properly, then so be it. I want him to be the best Trevor he can be. And if that means providing him with a “crutch” so that he is able to “walk” through this world that is filled with sensory experiences he finds uncomfortable and distressing, then that is what I will do.
Whew…I think I’ll step down off my soapbox now and take a nap. Because I’m really, really tired.
Oh, and why am I tired? Because my son has issues regulating his sensory system and has been having a hard time winding down. He’s exhausted, but he CAN’T (not won’t) settle down and sleep. Now that I’ve refocused on some of his sensory needs at night he is taking less time to fall asleep. So again I say, SPD is real. And SPD can be helped with a sensory diet.
Take that, haters.