Have you ever had a jacket that is just a smidge too heavy for the weather but you’re too cold if you take it off? Maybe you’ve had a shirt that comes down past that magic perfect spot on your waist, or shoes that pinch or let the foot slide? While these issues may be tolerable, the clothing isn’t completely comfortable.
Kids with processing disorders might be feeling this type of irritation every day. When they get easily upset, those who don’t understand this may think they are just being difficult. However, to them, that soft t-shirt they’ve worn three days this week is where comfort lives.
Understanding this discomfort and making an effort to accommodate it lets them know that you understand them and are willing to help. It’s hard to go out and conquer the world of fifth grade if all you can think about is how your sock is rubbing on the top of your foot!
Food is another space where many children with sensory disorders may be especially particular. For example, my child refuses nearly all vegetables except the occasional broccoli or stray green bean. He also won’t eat any fruit. It was an exciting day for our family when he added rice to his lineup!
When our son was five, we took him to feeding therapy. In one of his sessions, the therapist helped put his hesitance, even disgust, around some food in perspective for us. They posed, “If you were presented with a plate of worms, would you want to eat?” That’s how he feels when we try to get him to eat something that has the “wrong” texture or smell.
I must remember that my son is not giving me a hard time. He’s having a hard time. If I can meet him where he is, honor these differences as best as possible, we are going to have a happier day. One filled with more peace than if I insist that he wear that cute shirt he got for Christmas or wear the other pieces of clothing he thought he wanted, but just “don’t feel right, Mom!”
I get it. I don’t want to wear pinchy shoes and eat worms either, son. Let’s find something else. In the grand scheme of things, who really cares if he wears the same thing every day? Who cares if he thinks there’s only one kind of breakfast cereal to eat? There are bigger things to do out there.
Person-Centered Thinking has suggestions to help.
Over the years, parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs have told us many stories about dealing with bias, unfairness, racism, ableism or discrimination against their child.
Categories: Family Support
As the parent of a child with mild Cerebral Palsy, I learned that the word “hurry” doesn’t apply to my son, Jason. With motor planning difficulties, hurrying just wasn’t something he could do. I learned to adapt and accommodate our schedule to allow extra time. However, when I found myself in the situation of caring for elderly parents & parents-in-law, and our son, I struggled to find the patience I once had with Jason.
Categories: Family Support