Tim and I have learned a few things about faith and struggle this past year. Life hasn’t been as we planned it to be. I know, weird. Fortunately, God has landed us at a rather amazing place and has issued reminders of his grace throughout our unexpected process. I’d be remiss not to give virtual credit to a God who has knocked our socks off.
At this time last year we were making the decision to send Dude to a local christian school and were pumped about becoming a part of that family. We figured our quirky little man would be the monkey of the classroom and his social being would emit joy. His teacher would notice his creative brain at work and would marvel at his level of understanding and intelligence. Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. He started out his Kindergarten year with gusto. We were so pleased with everything that came with his experience as a first time student.
About a month into his year, his teacher started pointing out areas of concern. Lack of focus, inability to finish work, not wanting to be touched, nervousness in loud or new situations, blurting out whatever is on his mind…..we started to feel bombarded with week after week of negative meetings. To note that we were caught off guard would be an understatement. These areas of concern weren’t foreign to us, but they were never severe enough to be concerning. School seemed to heighten his “quirks.” After a rather gut wrenching period of conferences and feeling incredibly discouraged and helpless, we were asked to fill out a sensory integration disorder profile. Come again? We had no clue what this language meant. It wasn’t until we started filling it out that it all became clear.
“Does your child tire easily? Does your child have a hard time carrying heavy objects? Does your child have a difficult time with more than 1 step directions? Does your child have trouble touching items with textures or messy foods? Does your child have a keen sense of hearing? Does your child flinch when touched unexpectedly? Does your child get easily distracted? Does your child express discomfort when having nails clipped, hair washed and teeth brushed?” Um….yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes and yes. Tim and I looked at each other in awe. We could see the light bulbs going flickering in each other’s heads.
At the end of 3 dramatic months of testing, praying, filling out paperwork, and endless meetings and research, our little man was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder and ADD. He tested off the charts in 3 of the 5 areas of sensory processing. What exactly that meant we weren’t clear on, but it became clear that our private school was not going to offer the resources to help our little man conquer his struggles. They don’t have funding for occupational therapists or aids and it was clear that his teacher didn’t know what to do with him. He could feel that tension. And that ripped at our hearts.
We toured our local public school and discovered that they’re all geared up for kiddos with sensory issues. It’s old hat. No bigee. We walked in to the meeting (I talked our way into) with the principal thinking we might consider transferring him the following Fall. By the time we finished the tour, we were in discussions of transferring him the following week. And that we did. Was it easy? Absolutely not. We were freakin’ out. But it was clearly what God was calling us to do. Dude confirmed that when he jumped off the couch after being told that he was going to a new school and shouted, “Thank you Mom and Dad! This is the best day of my whole life!”
One year ago we had never heard of Sensory Processing Disorder. We wouldn’t have dreamt that Dude would be attending public school. We couldn’t have imagined spending the amount of money and time we are for occupational therapy. But today, we’re growing in our knowledge of SPD and have met a lot of people who have experience with it. We’re loving our local public school. And we’re happy to be spending the time and money helping our Dude cope with what we thought were “quirks.” After a year of therapy, he should be in a place where he can function worlds better in a classroom setting and to the overload of the world around him. We hope.
It can be an overwhelming world for our little man. As his parents, we’ll go to any length to reduce the chaos he feels internally and help settle his little brain and sensory system. God is good people. In the midst of what you think is going to be a hopeless situation, the brightest light can become visible. Dude is our light and we’re so grateful that we’re finally able to have a clear understanding of what life is like through his eyes.
If you’d like information about what Sensory Integration Disorder entails, click HERE.