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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

THIS is what sensory processing disorder looks like

As great as Raya's PT session went last week, that's how bad it went today. She was NOT interested at all. It was really strange the way her temperament changed like a light switch was flipped. Right before her PT got to our house, I flushed her J tube with about 10-15ml of water just like I do a few times a day. I don't know if that's what did it or if she would have been like that anyway, but she just immediately wanted NOBODY to touch her. She's been doing really well the last month with being somewhat cuddled when she's being held, but as soon as I flushed her tube this time she wanted up and then she didn't want me to touch her just like she used to do. I'll be holding her and she's leaning away from me and if I try to give her a kiss or hug her, she arches her back and pushes me away.
Anyway, once that behavior started, I knew PT probably wouldn't be too pretty today. She wanted NOTHING to do with her PT and it was funny to see the lengths she was going to in order to avoid touching her. Especially when Raya was sitting on her lap while the PT put shoes on her. She somehow managed to get off of her lap and stand up without her hands touching her PT. :) Since she wasn't cooperating very well we thought she might like to go outside and walk down to the park. Ha ha. She cried when I said, "Let's go bye-bye Raya!" Usually when I say that she gets excited and walks to the door or wants me to pick her up but she just stood there and cried. I picked her up and took her outside and then her PT took her and did some neck exercises for a few seconds. We put her down and started walking down the sidewalk and this is what happened:

And that, my friends, is sensory processing disorder. She's fine when she's on the flat sidewalk, but once she gets to the driveway part that slopes to the side and one foot is higher than the other, her brain just can't process what's happening to her body. She tried to avoid the activity that was uncomfortable for her by walking on the rocks next to the sidewalk. When her toe accidentally crossed over the line to the steeper slope of the sidewalk, she acted like she had stepped on hot coals. Once she realized she was going to HAVE to cross the sloped part, she just shut down and stopped altogether. Other times that we've walked across this same driveway, she's gotten to her limit about halfway across and just sat down and cried.
This is just one example of how SPD affects Raya. There are SO many other things like this. Luckily most of the things that bother her don't upset her as much as walking on the sloped sidewalk or else if they do, they are things that she is able to easily avoid. It's scary as the parent to watch as your child has an extreme reaction to something that other kids don't even blink an eye at. It's hard not to wonder how they will be able to live a "normal" life when they can't handle something so simple as walking down the sidewalk. The thing that keeps me from worrying about it is that I have seen her learn to be okay with things that she's reacted to like that before. She used to absolutely freak out and panic when we tried to sit her on a big exercise ball. Even if we sat on it with her in our laps she hated it. Slowly over time, she got to the point where now she likes it. I'm sure that the day will come when she is able to walk down the sidewalk without even thinking about it. By then, there will probably be something else that freaks her out. It's all a process of learning and growing and being very, very patient.

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