Sunday, October 25, 2009

SPD Awareness Month and a Message of Hope

The month is already half over and I have yet to write a post about SPD Awareness Month. I have tried to think of topics, but have come up dry. I just haven't felt that motivated to write about SPD. Perhaps I burnt myself out last year with all the SPD-related posts. I'm not sure.

This past month, I have been thinking of the progress Danny has made. For any of you who don't know our story, Danny was diagnosed with SPD 4 years ago when he was 2 years old. Since then, he has been receiving Occupational Therapy, along with other services like Speech Therapy.

A couple of weeks ago, I took Danny and Charlotte to a candy hunt at a nearby park. It was completely dark, with just the light of some flashlights to guide us. We had a great time, and as we traversed the park full of kids and their parents, I realized that a year or two ago, I would have never taken Danny on such an excursion. I would have been too unsure how he would handle it.

In the past, we have avoided so many social activities, especially those that involved big groups of people or lots of noise. In those settings, Danny has a tendency to get overstimulated, which often means he acts really hyper and sometimes aggressive. He used to sometimes even have seriously horrible sensory meltdowns, which nothing seemed to ease. Thankfully, those have completely disappeared.

So many situations that Danny found almost impossible to endure a couple of years ago are now completely manageable. He has no problem going on multiple errands with me and rarely gives me any grief when we have to leave a fun place. Years ago, I used to dread going to the park because I knew leaving would result in horrendous screaming and kicking and flailing of limbs. He no longer seems to need picture charts and countdowns of how many minutes before we leave, etc. Danny's speech has improved tremendously and continues to do so. He is doing really well at school and his music teacher just told us this week that Danny is one of her favorite children. He is excelling in her class, which is another miracle. In the past, music used to be a wild card; we never quite knew what effect it would have on him, but it was often a negative one. Now, not so much, though he still seems to have a limit as to how much music he can listen to in one sitting.

He still has SPD, of course. I don't actually think kids are cured of this disorder, but it is definitely getting under control, which is something I never really believed could happen. It just seemed so difficult and his challenges too insurmountable to fix.

So, this is my SPD Awareness Month message: there is hope. It does get better! It really does. Not overnight. No, definitely not overnight. It will take a lot of time, numberless prayers, and levels of patience that will probably qualify you for canonization. It will take so much work, so many appointments with therapists and professionals. It will take amazing amounts of creativity and research, but in the years to come, you will see results that will have made it all worth it. So, hang in there and keep working. You are not alone.


goodfountain said...

Great post, Patty!!

I have kinda avoided SPD posting this month because it's not much of an issue for us anymore, but I think I will write a similar-veined post as yours with the same message -there is hope!

I'm ALWAYS glad to hear that Danny is doing so well!!

lonestar said...

What a great post! I needed to read this today... we've been struggling with a resurgence of sensory-related struggles with Bearhug (his autism is the mildest of my 3 boys but his sensory issues are by far the most severe) and yet this reminds me of how far he and our other boys have come. We have our days... but things are so, so much better now than when the boys were dx'd 5 years ago. I'm so glad to hear that Danny is doing well also :)

Amy Jane said...

Great post, Patty! It heartens me to hear about all the progress Danny has made. Way to go, all of you! :)

To answer your questions:
The school was collecting the drinks for its own use, at things like carnival, "Fun Friday", etc. Yes, the school seems to take very opportunity it can to give the kids candy, cookies, juice, etc. :(

As for what how I motivated myself when I was losing weight - that's a really hard question to answer. I don't know if there's any specific thing I can tell you (at least right now, off the cuff - I'll keep thinking about it!) I just know that I had finally had it with being fat, and didn't want to be that way anymore. And each pound I lost just galvanized me to keep going. It was so hard - still is! I'm having a few lbs. of "weight creep", and it's freaking me out! It's always a battle, but I think you just have to reach that point of critical mass (pun halfway intended) where you're so fed up that you just finally do what you have to do. Everyone comes to that point at a different time and for different reasons. Just hang in there, and know that you're doing the best you can. And you're not defined by, nor are you loved less or more because of, how much you weigh.

a Tonggu Momma said...

Great minds think alike! *grin* Although your message of hope was much more clearly stated.

As an adult with SPD, I do have to say that most things DO get better. And - with the things that will be a life-long struggle - the person typically learns coping strategies to effectively deal with them.

I face some challenges, yes, but life? Is GOOD.

Mama Zen said...

Excellent post!

B’s Mum said...

Hi Patty, its great to hear how well Danny is doing. Great to hear another mum focus on the positive rather than the negative angle! You are sooo right, it DOES get easier. As our children get older they learn how to adapt to a situation, something they can’t do when they are small. I also think that they know when they have a mum who is ‘on their team’, who will guide them and help them feel good about their life. One thing we found though, was that when a rare Meltdown did occur (after a long absence) OUR coping skills didn’t do so well.
Blessings, Sharon

Julie said...

I'm printing out your last paragraph and I'm going to tape it in the kitchen so I can read those encouraging words over and over again.

Thank you!

Mrsbear said...

Patty, that's so great to read. I'm so happy for you and Danny. I think it will serve as a great encouragement to others.