I once knew a three year old child that couldn’t leave the house without sunglasses. A car passing by sounded like the roar of a locomotive. Food lightly seasoned exploded in his mouth like jalapeño hot sauce. Tags in his clothing felt like razor blades. If anyone around him had a strong emotion, he would have that emotion as if it were his own. He would melt down, throw himself to the floor and cry and scream in shear panic. He couldn’t be consoled. He would resort to banging his head against the wall repetitively in an effort to block out all that was causing the pain. His mother took him to all the right doctors and the prognosis was always the same. Depending on how well he was coping that particular day determined where he fell on the autistic spectrum. His mother refused the diagnosis, refused to predetermine his future with labels, refused to mainstream him with the help of medication.
Instead she researched alternative methods of managing the symptoms and followed his lead as to what he needed that day, that hour, that minute. She gave him the time to learn how to cope with the abundance of information he was taking in. That child is now thirteen. He attends the local public middle school without assistance. He’s on the basketball and football team. He has many friends and just went through his first break up with his first girlfriend, the teenage rite of passage. It’s recently dawned on him that he might be really smart, that if he put some effort into it he could probably make A’s instead of B’s and C’s. Today, his mother watches as he passes a mirror and checks himself out for the 1oth time that day. He does this little nod of confirmation, as if to say, “I got this”.
I know this child because he’s mine and yes, my son, “you got this”. He’s worked incredibly hard in order to look in that mirror with confidence. I wish they gave out medals for overcoming sensory processing disorders. I usually don’t even mention the rough start. It’s now just a memory. But when I do, people look a little confused, like he must have been misdiagnosed.
Don’t be afraid to think out of the box, follow your intuition. Let your children tell you what they need. Being called “New Age” isn’t the worst thing in the world. Find the alternative methods that work for your child. Yes, it takes longer than giving them that pill. But one day that pill won’t work anymore and they’ll have to take two and three pills. Those will lose their momentum and they will eventually have to learn to cope on their own. Wouldn’t you rather they did this while you were there to guide and support them through it?
Research sensory diets; throw out the nitrates. What exercises help him/her feel more organized? Look into energy healing with Reiki. Get on Google and research Indigo children. What does your child need access to everyday in order to self regulate? Put in the time. Why? Because every child deserves to be able to look at life and feel like…“I got this”.