SPD Interview #1: Mommy Cracked

Here at the SPD Life we are going to have interviews on parents who have a child(ren) with SPD every now and then. We will ask them to share their story and answer some interview questions. This will enable us all to get to know each other a little better *and* give other tips and advice on how we each work with our kids.

So our first interview is Mandy from Mommy Cracked. Here is her story and her answers to our questions.

My Story:
When we received our son's diagnosis of SPD we were confused, a little sad for all he has gone through, but also elated to finally have answers to the many questions about his behavior that had puzzled us from the time he was almost 2 years old. We were almost resigned to the fact that our son was very strong willed and highly temperamental, but as an educator, I knew that these "quirks" in his behavior were not normal. Our pediatrician didn't think there was a problem until our son was 3 years old and still not speaking full sentences. I also happened to film a particularly draining tantrum of his with my digital camera and showed it to our doctor. He was immediately concerned and we were referred to a neurologist and speech pathologist for further testing. Our pediatrician suspected that he may have a high functioning form of autism but did not want to diagnose it without neurological testing.

It was the speech pathologist who was also trained in occupational therapy that diagnosed our son when his neurological exam came back fine. She was a pediatric OT and knew immediately what the problem was. After completing a questionnaire on our son's developmental and behavioral habits, she was able to schedule him for his first therapy session. After 8 months of occupational and speech therapy our son is now speaking in full sentences, able to handle motion like swinging, and thriving in a 3 year old kindergarten classroom. We still have our days when the meltdowns and tantrums are really bad, but we have learned how to help our son through these times and give him the therapeutic play he needs to deal with his sensory issues.

When was your child diagnosed?
He was formally diagnosed at 3 years of age. The symptoms appeared much sooner, almost by age 2.

What is your biggest challenge that you face with SPD?
The misconception that his behavior is deliberate and that he chooses not to learn things like potty training simply because he doesn't want to or that his tantrums are because we are lenient on his behavior.

What are some of the things you do with your child to help them during a meltdown or tantrum?
When a tantrum occurs, I first remove him from the situation and take him to a quiet place. I hold him tightly and sing and rock. Sometimes he doesn't want to be held at all, so I just have to let him cry it out when all offers of comfort are refused.

What are some of your child's symptoms?
He develops vocal ticks, he is very upset if his routine changes slightly, small things like fingernail clipping or lightly touching his arm cause him to complain of pain, speech delays, becomes very anxious around crowds and is upset by loud noises. He can also stay awake for very long periods of time. When he has tantrums, they can last for up to 45 minutes and he almost seems like he is in a trance when he is is very hard to get him to focus on what you are saying when he is this upset.

Does your child receive therapy for SPD?
He received almost 8 months of occupational and speech therapy. Due to insurance problems we have had to discontinue those therapy sessions for the time being, but we work with him at home on the same concepts he was taught in therapy.

How do you deal with your stress?
I have to be really empathetic and remember what he is going through. When I need a break, his grandparents are wonderful about taking him for a night or a few hours to get some respite. His therapist has been a huge source of support in helping us understand and handle his diagnosis. I also connect with other SPD moms online to get support and help.

What is something you want all parents of children with SPD to know?
I want them to know that the diagnosis of SPD is not the sum whole of their child. It's simply a part that makes them unique. The challenges are difficult, to be sure, but their child is still so full of potential.
Thanks Mandy, for your story and answers! We appreciate you letting us get to know you and your situation a little better.


Feener said...

wow, sounds all too familiar - thank you for sharing.

~Michelle~ said...

Thanks for sharing, Mandy! It's so nice to see other stories of parents with SPD. SO many of those things sound like my little man. It's nice to know we're not alone :-)

Mommy Cracked said...

I thank you girls for featuring our story! I look forward to reading more posts from others about SPD.