Faces of SPD ~ Meet Charlie
When we final learned what was going on with Charlie he had just turned 5. Up until that time, we knew there was something different.
As a baby he never fussed to eat, be changed or sleep. Everyone always said how lucky we were to have such a mild mannered and happy baby, who could also sleep whenever/wherever no matter the noises, and we agreed! As a career childcare provider, my concerns started to grow when by 3 Charlie still had no idea when the children around him were not playing with him, knew nothing about toileting, was unable to peddle a tricycle, and had no interest in art in any form. Often during outside play, especially, he could be found off on his own choosing to play imagination games or chattering away to any adult available instead of joining in with peers.
His first evaluation came at about 4 saying he could be considered on the spectrum with high-functioning Asperger’s but that he was still too young to confirm, or maybe he just was acting that way because he didn’t have a choice of peers because I cared for others in our home and that was why he was often choosing to play alone. They suggested that a better evaluation would be done if I were to send him to a local preschool. This seemed a bit odd to me.
A year later, we sought a new evaluation when at 5 he became very sociable with the same group of peers at my home childcare but still had no toileting skills, was unable to peddle, hold crayons and such correctly, handle scissors, or keep up endurance-wise while outside playing. He also started having meltdowns begging to stay home whenever he new we were going out anywhere. Academically he was far beyond where he should have been and conversations were more that of a 10 year old.
The new evaluation at 5 yrs old was with an OT not a developmental psychologist at a highly recommended therapy place. That was when we first learned about SPD. Her results came back describing Charlie to a T!
Charlie’s evaluation came back with over-responsiveness to tactile, auditory, and vestibular input issues, difficulty with proprioceptive and vestibular discrimination, postural strength and stability, and dyspraxia. We were blown away with all this new information. The OT who tested him, and to this day still works with him is continually amazed at how well Charlie has learned to cope with the bright
and noisy world around him.
All those times as a baby when we were amazed at how well he could “sleep through anything” started to make more sense the more we learned about SPD. Charlie is not an aggressive child so when faced with the old … fight or flight … situations, he learned quickly to tune out all that was around him and go to sleep. When Disney movies and children’s cartoons used to scare him, we started to understand how, in his own words “the colors were to vibrant”. When sitting at a restaurant that had those talking animated animals that were loud he never enjoyed them like most kids but really started getting antsy to go home.
Charlie now has OT 1x a week, and has been having PT 2x a week for over a year and there has been great progress! The happy, mild mannered baby has grown into a happier, better adjusted little boy that doesn’t always need to “take flight” to escape the world, just sometimes, but that is become less often. He can proudly peddle a bike, color, cut with scissors, and write when asked without too much difficulty. For now he has successfully made it through our homeschool kindergarten year and will be continuing 1st grade at home as well. He loves to get together and play with all his friends regularly!