He was recently diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders & Sensory Integration Disorder. Cameron has delayed speech which I thought may have been caused by a temporary hearing loss from re-occurring ear infections. Maybe he was just one of those kids who would be a late talker. I decided to get him speech therapy through early intervention. At that point I didn’t think of Cameron being on the spectrum. Just delayed speech….In addition to his delay in speech, I was noticing “different” behavior changes; lining up his toys. Anything he could find to line up from his sister’s nail polish bottles, my lotions, spoons, to pulling out kitchen drawers, etc….He runs extremely close to whatever it is he lines up and looks at the objects out of the corners of his eyes. Cam, who is oversensitive to touch stimuli usually wipes of a kiss or pushes away someone to avoid closeness. If he is affectionate by giving me a kiss it’s usually on his own terms, but is a HUGE deal! If he gives his sister & brother a hug or kiss, we make such a big deal about it :). Cameron is a picky eater which is one of the characteristics of Tactile Dysfunction. He avoids certain foods because of texture. All his foods have to be the same temperature and texture. Daily routine is so important for Cam. If his environment changes he gets so upset. His brother, Joey is a baseball player. When Joey was out of town on 2 different occasions for more than three days, Cam was so upset by the change of his brother being out of his daily routine or environment. Cameron is receiving speech therapy, occupational therapy & behavioral therapy through Early Intervention. They are the most amazing therapists and are blessings to us! 🙂
Autism means unique perceptions, special talents, and weird humor. A society that aims to remove all the variables that make human life so fascinatingly complex is not a society I want to live in.
This is what SID feels like:
You find yourself making a normal family dinner. Using your eyes, you look around the kitchen and see your pots and pans and all the ingredients for your meal. Your ears hear the ringing sound as you open the refrigerator door and the crackle of the onion peel as you unwrap it. Your skin senses the smooth, hard handle of the knife and the wet texture of the onion as you chop. Your joints and muscles sense the weight of the cleaver and your body position as you move around. Your nose senses the aromas, and as you pop a slice of bell pepper in your mouth, you enjoy its sharp flavor. And, though you are unaware of it, your body senses the earth’s lug of gravity. You might savor all these sensations or you might be oblivious to them because they’re so, well, common. Because your nervous system is functioning normally, you are processing all the sensory input well. Little pieces of sensory information are flowing into your brain in the form of nerve impulses. How do you derive meaning from all these tiny bits of sensory input? You bring all the parts together to make a whole. It’s kind of miraculous, as if a multimillion-piece jigsaw puzzle scattered around your home suddenly transformed itself into a recognizable picture. Sensory integration allows you to focus on the “big picture” of what you are doing: in this case, preparing dinner.
Now imagine that your senses aren’t working efficiently. The fluorescent light gives you a headache, and you can’t find the chicken broth in your crowded pantry. The lettuce in your hands feels slimy and repulsive. The smell of onions makes you queasy. You don’t hear the boiling water on the stove, and it bubbles over, flooding your pilot light so the stove won’t relight. You bump your head on a cabinet, trip over the dog, and spill the salad. By the time dinner is on the table, you’re a nervous wreck and you’ve yelled at everyone around you. All you want to do is crawl into bed and go to sleep.
What if you were to experience this dreadful dinner scenario every night, and no one seemed to understand. After all, everyone else is able to see the can of chicken broth on the shelf and the dog on the floor, so why can’t you? Strong smells don’t upset them and flickering, harsh lights don’t give them headaches. In fact, they can prepare dinner under all these conditions without missing a beat, dropping a spoon, or feeling a moment’s discomfort. And, when you try to describe why you are so stressed out doing such tasks, people think you’re being ridiculous or difficult or lazy. If you can bring yourself to suffer through this unpleasant cooking experience again, the next time you decide to make the exact same meal because as difficult as it is, at least you have some experience making it. You definitely don’t want to try something new and risk even more unpredictable annoyances.
This is what everyday experiences can be like for a child with SI dysfunction. Getting distracted and annoyed by the environment and your own body’s response is the norm. To make matters worse, the sensory input received isn’t consistent, and neither is nervous system’s response. The world seems like an unpredictable, frustrating, even dangerous place, and yet people expect you to happily go about the business of learning and focusing, and doing what Mom asks the first time she asks. No wonder kids with SI dysfunction are often highly agitated, anxious, or irritable. They may shut down and tune out or throw tantrums when yet another unpredictable stressor comes into their lives-a change in school routine, an unexpected cancellation of their plans for the morning, a favorite Elmo sippy cup unavailable for afternoon juice. They might become controlling and demanding: the Elmo cup must be found or else! ~ Unknown Author.
Children with SID have difficulties making sense of the world.
I LOVE YOU SO MUCH, CAM XO