I don’t know if any other parents of special needs kids have “Doh!” moments, but I do on a regular basis. I don’t know if I’m just not paying attention, or what, but often something that has been staring at me in the face for awhile finally dawns on me, and I feel particularly dense.
Since The Boy was a toddler, we realized he has some sensory issues. In facet, I was researching and learning about sensory processing disorder before I even thought autism was a possibility. Many kids are hyper-sensitive to sensory stimulation – too much noise, too much touch, too much everything. But The Boy was just the opposite. He loved to be crushed in great big hugs, and steamrolled, and tickled, and be in the water for great lengths of time. He needed more sensory input to regulate himself. As he got older, a few variations were thrown in, like aversion to fire drills and loud noises in general, which would be classified as hypersensitive, while still maintaining hypo-sensitivity to other sensations.
Fast forward to The Man entering our lives, and me noticing he doesn’t like to hold hands much. Or too much touching in general. Of course, there are times and places… ahem, but in general, if my legs are on his lap too long, he’ll have to get up and move, or if we do hold hands, it will not last longer than 20 seconds. I’ll admit it’s been a little tough for a touchy-feely girl like me, who was raised on hugging and cuddling, and all of that. It wasn’t until last night when I kissed him on his forehead and he almost flinched that the tumblers fell into place. He is probably affected by SPD, on the hypersensitive end.
He and I both have always suspected he may have ADHD – always on the go, doesn’t like to sit and relax, periods of hyper-focus (doesn’t like to be interrupted), etc. and sensory processing disorder is much more likely to be co-morbid with something else like ADHD or autism then as a stand-alone issue.
I’m not trying to diagnose him, believe me. But it helps me understand his responses without being hurt by them, and changes my perspective a bit, which can only help. And yet again, my experiences in life seem to be acutely tailored to the challenges I face. I’m just glad my brain can work this stuff out, even if it isn’t always too quick on the uptake.