Sensory Issues. I shared with you information about my son Michael, who is Hyper-Sensitive. Now I would like to share what I learned about Everett, who also had some Sensory Issues/Auditory Processing Issues. Everett is Hypo-Sensitive. Meaning, while his brother, being too sensitive to stimuli, feeling too much, his brother, Hypo, didn't feel enough. The stimuli was there for him, but his system failed to take it in and organize it properly enough so that his brain could say, "okay, I'm good",
Here is what it looked like for Everett. Everett has always been high strung as well. To an extreme. If you watched my son in a room full of his peers, this is what you would have seen. He was the loudest kid in the room. He would be touching, leaning, bumping into other kids over and over again. Navigating his environment included tripping, falling, bumping, rubbing ...into, and onto everything. Person, place or thing. He loved sitting on my lap. Sitting in a chair was painful to watch: fidgeting, turning around and around on it, hanging off to the side of it, falling off of it....can you see the visual?. TOUCH. Everett seemed to require a lot of it. In any shape or form. From any person place or thing.
Pain threshold. While his brother cried bloody murder at the mildest infraction, Everett seemed to feel little or no pain at all. He very rarely cries out in pain. I've watched him take hard falls, falls where I would have cried..not him, nope. Everett would fall, appear to barely notice, pick himself back up, and keep on going. One time I came home from work, and he had a big gash on his toe that looked like it required stitches. When I asked him what had happened, he responded, "I don't know, I didn't know it was there." Huh? Geez. One time, at about age 3, during a doctors visit, his doctor noticed so many bruises on his shins that he ran a test for leukemia. I knew he was fine, but I let him run the test and explained that Everett's mind/body connection seemed to have a disconnect. He would kneel on very hard edges that would make any of us yelp out in pain and seemed to not feel a thing . Over time, I just chalked it up to the fact that he just had a very HIGH pain tolerance.
When he was a baby, I was always combating diaper rashes. Why? Where his brother cried immediately when his diaper was soiled, Everett was content to just sit in it for ever. I learned to be very vigilant with him because he just never let me know.
Another quirk: Everett does not seem to feel the temperature changes. When it's hot, he is never hot. When it's cold, it is a battle to get him to wear a jacket. The other day it was 40 degrees outside and there he was, outside looking very content. "Aren't you cold?" I would ask, "no" he would reply. Amazing. Middle of winter, this child will sleep in shorts with no shirt and sometimes no blanket.
When it came to any form of stimuli, Everett just loved it. Climbing high places, jumping from high places, trampolines, jumpies....if he got good physical feedback to his body/brain, he loved it.
Emotional Control: Non-existent. He was very low on the spectrum and not reaching the milestones that other kids his ages were developing. He was impulsive, over-stimulated easily, difficult to control, prone to temper-tantrums, and had no social awareness at all.
He looked like a poster child for ADHD.
He looked un-focused, (because he was always looking for the next sensory input), easily distracted, in constant movement. Sitting for a book was impossible, so teaching him ABC...123....was difficult.
Food. Another quirk: Eating was interesting. A. He was always missing his mouth. B. When he did get the food in his mouth, it was always big heaping spoonfuls and I was always waiting for him to choke. Thank god he never did. If you gave him gum he would put jam 3 pieces in his mouth when I wasn't looking. Fruit roll-ups for example were just crammed in and swallowed. We would laugh, the kid was a coconut. Just Everett being Everett.
All the pieces of the puzzle back then, meant nothing to me.
Tuesday's Child. An intensive program designed to help parents with kids who are having behavior problems.
It was there that I gleaned my first insight in understanding my child.
"I think Everett has Sensory Issues". The psychologist said. She then proceeded to go thru his sensory profile that she had done. Huh. Hypo-Sensitive. Everett. All those little quirks, the odd behaviors we did not understand. The eating, over-active behavior, low emotional control, high pain threshold, needing to touch, bump and grind into everything. Not ADHD. Huh. I cried. Not sure of more fears or relief at the moment...but definitely of gratitude. Somebody understood my child.
Off we went to Arlington Pediatric Mgmt. Arlington Pediatric Mgmt He was tested again, and the same diagnosis. Sensory Processing Disorder: Hypo-Sensitive along with some very mild Auditory Processing issues. (I'll talk about the Auditory another time).
Along with his brother, he too started the therapy. His therapist was great. She was very intuitive and "got" Everett right away. The good news was that his issues were mild. He went twice a week. He responded very well and after about six months, he was released. He was still a bit high strung, but his Auditory processing was now age appropriate. This improvement lended itself to greater comprehension, memory input/recall which allowed him to better following directions, express himself, which lead to better self control. Everett himself noticed the difference and he was proud. As well he should be.
Down the road, Everett encountered some more hurdles, which eventually lead to a PANDAS diagnosis. This was the final piece to the puzzle. (I have a post on PANDAS).
I am happy to report that Everett is doing exceptionally well. He is truly a different kid. He is sensory integrated. He is calm, focused, self-regulating, socially aware, and doing well in 1st grade.
I am so grateful to all the excellent professionals that were sincere, diligent, and worked so hard to make Everett's world a more happier, well adjusted one.