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Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Sensory Day

One thing I have learned during the approximately 4 months since we received our diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder, is that fine-tuning and remaining diligent about my child’s sensory diet makes all the difference in the success and failure of any particular day.

Edward’s needs, like that of any child with sensory issues, change from week to week, and keeping up with home OT and diet are, at times, trying, exhausting, time-consuming and stressful.

This is not meant to be a “doom and gloom” SPD post, but rather a snapshot of how a day can go when I don’t keep up my part of the SPD bargain.  I supposed it’s fitting that this wretched day transpired smack dab in the middle of Sensory Processing Disorder Month.

Here’s a recipe for doom:

Wake up late–rush to drop three-year old off at PreK; drop in BK for tater tot and apple fry breakfast because you are out of gfcf bread and bagels and had no time for eggs.  Rush in to a 6-hour science camp filled with liquid nitrogen-dipped bananas, multi-colored (read Red dye 5 and Yellow Lake 3) marshmellows dipped in liquid nitrogen, 37 other children swarming each experiment and a scientist comparing everyone in the room to a team of 5-year-old geniuses who read at 3 and and now do Calculus.  (“But Mama, I read at three and I know all about the quadratic equation; why can’t I go to their genius class??”)

Your 2e child answers the question about Kelvin (absolute zero) and is the only person beside a 16-year-old in the room who knows the answer.  The Ph.D. genius-engineer-talent-searcher-person quizzes you about how your 6-year-old knows the answer.

And then he watches your 6-year-old begin to pick pieces of paper off the floor.  And then he comes over to you and says, “You told him the answer, didn’t you.”  “No, I did not,” I assert.  “He’s an avid reader.”

The Ph.D. smiles sweetly but condescendingly and moves on.  In his mind I’m just another mother who wishes her darling was gifted.  The problems is, my darling *is* gifted; he’s just also has other issues that affect others’ perception of his giftedness.

Then your SPD 6-year-old is dismissed and hurt.

And then you are in a free-fall toward a full-fledged meltdown.  Your sweetheart is the only person who knows some random answer about carbon monoxide (and he’s right) but the Ph.D. scientist demonstrator doesn’t hear him because, at this point, your overloaded 6-year-old is mumbling…sinking into his own despair.

Your SPD sweetheart grows increasingly frustrated when he is not called to participate in each experiment.  You swoop up this sweetheart, give big hugs, deep pressure squeezes, head rubbings, hand massages–anything to try to calm him down.  Finally you break for lunch.

Because you still have no gf/cf bread, you rush back to this wretched BK and purchase a “meat disk” and some of their apple fries.  These are scarfed down hurriedly in the van with no ketchup.

You, incidentally, break one of your own molars on a bone hunk caught in your own disgusting cheeseburger; you save the molar and bone pieces in hopes of somehow using them as evidence to either a lawsuit or at the very least a purely copacetic accident policy claim.  (At the very least you can use them during science class to look at through the microscope.)

Now you rush back to the science camp, against your better judgment.


Why not call it a day and dash off to the park to swing and work off some energy?  Why press this stressed sensory-overloaded child with three more hours of science camp?

Because you committed to watch over a few other friends’ children?  Because you wanted your own NT 8-year-old to garner this science experience?  Or because in your own prideful frailty you wanted that Ph.D. engineer science man to know once and for all just how gosh-darn bright your little fellow is even if he does have sensory issues.

My science camp day ended with my tiny sweetheart bolting out the door of the church, into the yard, and toward a busy street before I caught him.

He just could not take one more minute.  Not one more minute of sitting still.  Not one more minute of not participating in experiments.  Not one more minute of staring at some excessivly large clock which greatly upset him from a visual processing standpoint.

And you know who the culprit of this whole failed day was?


I knew better.

I pushed.

I learned.

Posted on 24 October '08 by , under Accidental Homeschooling, Autism Spectrum/Sensory Processing.

15 Comments to “Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Sensory Day”

#1 Posted by April ~ EnchantedDandelions (24.10.08 at 23:10 )

((SQUISHY HUGS)) for both of you!

I hope tomorrow goes a lot better!

(Yuck, yuck, yuck and YOUCH at breaking your tooth. I hope you are okay!)

April ~ EnchantedDandelionss last blog post..Wordless Wednesday – In Remembrance…

#2 Posted by Christine (24.10.08 at 23:57 )

I really enjoy you using Alexander and the no good very bad horrible day to demonstrate your day. It describes perfectly how wrong an easy day can go. I am sorry you experienced it first hand, and hope that tomorrow is better for you.

Christines last blog post..My New Yellowbox

#3 Posted by autismfamily (25.10.08 at 00:04 )

We have all done the same thing and later stressed over knowing better, but doing it anyway. If only the kids had a way of knowing we know and tried too hard to bypass it.

I know about the teeth issues, I wear dentures and when in a hurry bit into a chocolate bar and lost the front tooth, tried a home fix it kit, put too much cement stuff in and now if I wear them I look like I came from Hee Haw, so I wear the older warped ones until income tax time to get a new pair.

autismfamilys last blog post..Articles and Reviews pertaining to Sensory Processing Disorder

#4 Posted by autismfamily (25.10.08 at 00:06 )

I forgot to mention that we really like Alexander and his terrible no good day. Great movie, we taped it years ago from HBO family – when we could afford such luxuries. I think there is a book too, get it once in awhile from library.

autismfamilys last blog post..Articles and Reviews pertaining to Sensory Processing Disorder

#5 Posted by Tari (25.10.08 at 00:40 )

It seems that when you’re dealing with SPD and a day goes wrong, it REALLY GOES WRONG, doesn’t it?

Just think though, the older he gets and the more you work with him, the more he will be able to self-solve this stuff. He’ll actually be able to say “mom, I can’t take one more second so can we not go back after lunch?” Someday. Just keep at it!

Taris last blog post..He Will Not Rest, He Will Not Let Me Go

#6 Posted by Helene (25.10.08 at 00:44 )

Awww, what a tough day you both had!! I hope he’s doing better now!

I literally cringed when I read the part about your tooth breaking on a piece of bone in your hamburger. I think I have sworn off BK forever after reading that!

Helenes last blog post..My heart is so heavy over this…

#7 Posted by ashley (25.10.08 at 07:32 )

I am sooo sorry. I did not know about your tooth:( He will forget how RUDE the PHD man was!

It is the weekend – time to refuel. I am so proud of your perseverance! Isn’t is sad to realize we have these PRECIOUS children for only 18 years! Such a small amount of time. MUCH MUCH LOVE! ASHLEY

#8 Posted by Felicia (25.10.08 at 09:41 )

You have another award to pick up!

Felicias last blog post..A Few Baby Necessities at Great Deals! Forget the Bells and Whistles!

#9 Posted by Tess (25.10.08 at 11:35 )

Sorry to hear about your day and boo to those mean PhDs !

#10 Posted by hellokittiemama/MT (25.10.08 at 21:25 )

This is one of our most fav books, and not just because of the name (but that helps). We all have days like this, though when it happens you feel like you are the only one. Hang in there!!! Hope things are perking up!!

🙂 Or are you planning on moving to Australia?

#11 Posted by Danette (26.10.08 at 01:51 )

Aww, (((((hugs)))))… I can’t even count how many times I knew better and pushed anyway. Sometimes I succumb to the optimistic thought that somehow today will be different or that they’re “at a point now” where they can handle it. Sometimes I’m pushing a little on purpose to try to get them a little bit out of their comfort zone and stretch themselves in hopes that someday, they will be able to handle it. And sometimes (gasp!) I think I have every base covered and it’s all going to go smoothly, only to have something unanticipated happen that sends everything down the tubes. At which point I start beating myself up with guilt (how did I not see that one coming?, what was I thinking?, what made me think today might be any different from the usual?).

Sigh. You are sooo not alone on this one. I only hope his day (and yours!) got better from there.

p.s. what is up with that instructor? I would have been so irriated!!

Danettes last blog post..Quotes and conversations of the week

#12 Posted by Patty (26.10.08 at 16:39 )

Oh, I so feel your pain. I too have had days like these. And so often they could have been avoided or at least made better, if I had just listened to my son and his sensory needs. As you said, we learn from our mistakes. I know what you mean, though, about wanting to prove to others that our kids are bright. That PhD guy was rude! Hope your week gets better.

#13 Posted by Jessica Bern (27.10.08 at 13:32 )

do not blame yourself. You are human. I am having terrible problems with my kid and she doesn’t have a sensory disorder or anything close to it and I can’t tell you how guilty I feel that the divorce and everything i say and do is the cause of it all. She is five and my impatience and my strong personality are making for a bad mom, let me tell you. I keep hoping it isn’t too late to turn it all around.

#14 Posted by andreacook (27.10.08 at 19:45 )

Hi sweetie!
I have just given up on the sensory diet and we are no better with or without it all. Although, talk about tactile needs, you have to stop by crazy jugs today. It will totally make you laugh. Perhaps, if I had been better on providing more play dough time and other sensory toy playing this might not have happened, then again, it might have happened anyway. All you can say sometimes is, “VANPAN!” and smile b/c you know you aren’t alone in your struggles. And, God has a reason for all of this!
Smoochies EC! From AC, Life of a Juggernaut

andreacooks last blog post..Sunday Scribbling: I am CRAZY about myself

#15 Posted by GDJared (05.11.08 at 20:37 )