ABC’s of SPD: A is for Attitude

Round 5 of Blogging through the Alphabet is starting this week on Ben and Me. I have said a few times I wanted to participate but never jumped on board, so here I go! I wasn’t sure if I would pick some random topics or try to stay within a specific topic. You can probably tell by my title I chose the latter.

We have three family members with SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) – our daughter, youngest son and myself. Our oldest son who is on the Autism Spectrum has sensory challenges as well. So I have decided to walk through the next 26 weeks sharing insight into SPD and the journey we walk.

A is for attitude

ABC's of SPD Attitude

For someone with SPD attitude is something that can be easily misunderstood. I mentioned this in one of my posts about our daughter and how people were really missing out on the sweet, loving little girl that she is. It’s definitely not just this situation, though. It’s very common for those with SPD to be misunderstood.

It doesn’t mean they have a “bad attitude,” it just means they are having a hard time coping with the situation. Young children especially don’t know how to express themselves when they feel overloaded, so they do the only thing they can in that moment – whatever it may be. Some cry, some yell, some run to a room where they can be alone, some hit, some throw. There are even those who have behaviors that are unpredictable. Their reaction is based on what causes the meltdown.

Does it mean that these behaviors are OK? No, but we have to acknowledge that it isn’t a bad attitude and shouldn’t be treated as such. It’s like telling a person not to cry when they are sad. That is their reaction to a situation. Sure they may be able to suddenly switch off their tears, but even most “sensory normal” people can’t snap from one emotion to stable immediately, so think how much more difficult it must be for someone who feels like their world is out of control. They just want to get back to “normal,” but they may need help – or they may need to be left alone.

Being alone is often my only reset. Otherwise, I am short-tempered and really anxious. If someone asks me a question, I may reply with a sharp “What?!” Does it mean I have a bad attitude because I feel those things? No, but as an adult I am able to acknowledge them and control them better. Even so, I still need a reset, too, or I just can’t gain composure. I just can’t. It continues to build.

I guess because I have SPD it’s easier for me to put myself in their little shoes and think how they must be feeling – even though SPD is different for everyone that has it. I think of our four year-old who has a speech delay and how upset he gets because he tries to communicate what he wants or needs but just can’t. It just gets so hard for him when he’s in overload. I understand, I sympathize and I do discuss behaviors after he has calmed down and is ready to take it in and understand.

Sure there are times when kids’ behavior is just their behavior, but it’s important to understand you can’t assume they have a bad attitude based on a behavior you may not understand. It’s not an attitude, and it shouldn’t define them.

Join the other bloggers as well who have linked up to Blogging through the Alphabet! There are a wide variety of topics from completely random to very specific.

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  1. My son has Asperger’s Syndrome so I understand your heart. It’s hard to explain to some people. I look forward to reading more of your Blogging Through the Alphabet series! 🙂
    Laurie Messer recently posted…A is for Anna (Women of the Bible)My Profile

  2. I look forward to reading this series. I think it is very important to remember that is it not always easy to recognize the WHYS of children’s behaviors and that we need to be so careful not to judge- the child OR the parent! We all need to have more grace! Great post!

  3. I am looking forward to the information you share in this series. We’ve had a preemie with learning delays and my littlest one has issues with the sense of touch. It’s all a learning experience, but while I don’t understand it all, they are thriving.
    Whispered Abundance recently posted…{Still Moments} Sooo Many Pictures!My Profile

  4. So very, very true! The attitude I often have trouble with is my own! I know that my little bowls of “Alphabet Soup” can’t really help their reactions (we’re working on “appropriate reactions to situations” but it’s a work in progress), but I need to work on my reaction and try to be less frustrated when meltdowns happen.
    Meg recently posted…Follow the Ball!My Profile

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