I’m posting my Blogging through the Alphabet late this week. In case you’re just joining me, I will be Blogging through the Alphabet with Ben and Me and many other bloggers who are offering a wide variety of topics. I will share a new topic related to Sensory Processing Disorder each week as we blog through the alphabet.
B is for balance
The word “Balance” can mean a few different things when talking about SPD – balancing time, physical balance and emotional balance. SPD and Balance is a tricky task! I’m going to talk about all of them!
Balancing Time when you have SPD or have children with SPD can be challenging. We have to balance our time wisely, but the truth of it is, it can be unpredictable. I make sure I have a specific amount of time for homeschooling, housework, devotions, church, recreation and my blogs and freelance jobs. When they start therapy again, I will have to balance that as well! More often than not, though, something during the day is going to knock it out of balance.
Why can’t we follow a perfect schedule? It’s what most people with SPD prefer. While it is important to have a schedule it’s unrealistic to expect every day will go exactly as planned. I may have a perfectly balanced schedule that would allow me to get everything done on my list and one of the kids may need extra attention and *only* wants mom, we can’t go somewhere because somebody is having a hard day, or our homeschool day takes longer than planned because one of the kids is having a high sensory day and is having a hard time. I go into sensory overload from being out where there are a lot of people and don’t feel like sitting down to do my work that I so carefully balanced with everything else for the day.
Despite a balanced schedule, there will always be uncertainty. It’s part of our life, and while we try to balance the best that we can, we often have to roll with the punches. What is most important is to keep our priorities straight. We may have a day where our SPD or our childrens’ SPD weighs down one side of the scale and there is hardly time left for work. Remembering our priorities (and plenty of prayer) can help us feel at peace.
Many people with SPD have a poor sense of balance. In fact, we just look clumsy most of the time. This can be due to Hypersensitivity to Movement or Poor Muscle Tone and/or Coordination. It could be a combination of both as well!
Hypersensitivity to Movement means we jump or flinch at the slightest movement – particularly when it’s not expected. We often physically feel “off kilter.” As someone with SPD I am often noted to be clumsy, easily “spooked” if touched from behind, and even feel a little dizzy if I use an escalator or elevator. I also have a fear of falling even when it doesn’t make sense to anybody else.
All three of our children have Poor Muscle Tone and/or Coordination. Balancing is very difficult for them. Our oldest, in particular, has a very weak “core.” At 8 years old he is still unable to ride a bike because even with training wheels he tips it over from his weight leaning too far to one side. As part of occupational therapy we do at home we work on improving the core muscles in hopes of helping them gain better control.
Emotional balance is almost a rarity for those that have SPD. In fact, many people with SPD feel emotions very deeply. One thing our youngest two children and I have in common is that we are very emotional. Our empathy is extreme, and sometimes our emotions change based on what others are feeling. Of course, we’re also prone to feeling overwhelmed particularly in high sensory situations. As an adult, I can better control my emotions. I recognize when I’m starting to get overwhelmed and try to calm myself. Even I, though, can get irritable, frustrated or exhausted quickly.
Imagine as an adult feeling that, how much harder it is for children! Children with SPD will often cry easily, have meltdowns, get easily frustrated and change moods quickly. As they get older (and with the right help) they, too, will learn to better control their emotions. We often practice deep breathing and make sure each child has their comfort object.
I hope this provided a little more insight into SPD, and I can’t wait to continue this series and have you walk through this journey with me! Don’t forget to check out 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.