Faces of SPD ~ Meet Kheenan
Raising Kheenan is wonderful, challenging, heart-breaking, frustrating, and exhausting. He is almost four now and loves to play with his brothers, ride his bike, and “go very fast” on our boat. He is silly and funny and loves to pretend he is a super hero. From very early on we started noticing things were different for him and he was soon diagnosed as being sensory avoidant as well as a sensory craver. He smells everything and everyone and he still puts all kinds of items into his mouth trying to seek input. We have to be careful when we are out and we pass by a cork board because he will discretely pull off a push pin and put it into his mouth. I cannot leave hand sanitizer around because he will ingest it. Disinfectant wipes are stored away or else he will suck on them. We are constantly worried about his safety and the safety of those around him. On one side we struggle with his inability to feel pain so we are often finding him with blood, cuts and bruises with no explanation. He will climb to the highest spot and jump, climb over the tops of banisters, and ride his bike into large rocks. However, on the other side, he doesn’t like certain feelings and will panic if he feels his fingers are sticky or if you try to hug him when he isn’t ready for a hug. He is also a sweet boy with amazing verbal skills and will make you smile as you watch him play. But the reality is that his world is constantly teetering between feeling good and feeling unhinged.
If you have a child with SPD you know that there is a certain cry that they have that will break your heart in an instant. It is not the sound of a frustrated toddler or the sound of irritated siblings who aren’t sharing. It’s the sound of a wounded soul who feels confused and frustrated with his own body. He will often become very violent and angry when his body “isn’t right” and despite his verbal strengths becomes unable to express his needs. Eventually, the anger subsides and what’s left is a sobbing, confused, deeply sad boy. I can only imagine how angry I would feel if my body was constantly failing me For us, SPD is a family disorder because every day we are all impacted by its challenges. My dream for Kheenan is that he simply finds peace in his world and that he finds understanding with his own body. I am certain that we will have many more hurdles to overcome, but I know that by continuing therapy with loving and patient teachers and therapists he will have a bright future ahead of him.