Faces of SPD ~ Meet Gabrielle
As strange as it may seem, I was so glad when my daughter was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Two years prior to her diagnosis we had seen five different behavioral therapists and the diagnosis was always the same … ‘There is nothing wrong. As she gets older she’ll mature.’
I knew I was blessed with an intelligent, loving, outgoing, and active child but I also knew something wasn’t quite right. Why was my child the only one crashing and bumping into things and people? Why can’t she run across a field without falling five times? Shouldn’t she stop chewing things at around age two and she’s now five? When will she ever sleep through the night? Why is she saying she hates herself? What am I doing wrong in my parenting?
Then, after my daughter scalded herself in the shower badly and told me the hot water felt good, I knew something was really going on. She doesn’t feel pain! That would explain why she has never once cried during a shot or catheter and could not sit still for first aid and a bandage. This can’t be “fine.”
I started endlessly researching the internet for answers. I spent countless hours on-line reaching out to behavioral coaches, therapists, and anyone who would answer my questions. I finally was pointed in the direction of Sensory Processing/Sensory Integration by Kirk Martin at Celebrate Calm. After researching SPD as he suggested I thought, “This is it!”
I conferred with our last behavioral therapist and she was in agreement. So what now? I was told Occupational Therapy would help. More time and more research spent to find an OT in the area. They are not easy to find! We were blessed with a fantastic OT who confirmed the diagnosis of stand-alone SPD at the age of five.
Gabrielle will be eight years old this month. She completed two years of OT and is an amazing child! She is loves gymnastics, dancing, and team sports, too. She is learning to play the piano and is doing quite well. She is a fantastic student who made honor roll last year (she was almost kicked out of preschool twice!). She excels at swimming. She enjoys river rafting and skiing with us. Camping is one of her favorites! Her memory is beyond amazing. She got up in front of our church a couple of months ago and did a full recitation of Psalm 23. I can’t even do that! Truly, there is no limit to what this child can and will do.
Although she has ‘graduated’ out of OT we still have our days. Sometimes piano lessons don’t go well (we know within the first two minutes if it is one of those days). A scrape can bring swimming to a halt. She doesn’t always fit in with the crowd. Fortunately, God blessed her with an amazing smile and a personality that draws her peers in (and pushes them away sometimes). Still, I wouldn’t change a thing about her.