Today’s NaBloPoMo prompt is “What is the sweetest thing someone said to you today?” Our 4 year old daughter is so incredibly sweet, and she tells me every day, many times a day that I’m beautiful, that I’m the best mom ever, that she loves me, etc. It is awesome! There is one problem, though. Most people don’t know this or they fail to see it. They truly miss out on the sweet little girl she REALLY is because they can’t see past what they assume to be different things. She, too, has sensory concerns, though they are different from our 2 year old’s Sensory Concerns it is still the same disorder. We finally have an appointment with Developmental Pediatrics this month so we can get her started in therapies as well.
Here are the most common situations I run into when it comes to the princess. I try to tell people how smart or sweet she is, and I get a response like “all she does is cry all the time.” Or she will have some kind of sensory meltdown, and people basically tell me she’s “sassy” or she “has a bad attitude,” and it makes me sad. I’m not necessarily sad because people make quick, inaccurate assumptions, but I’m sad because they are truly missing out on what a sweet blessing she really is!
I want to share again as in the post about our toddler that our daughter’s sensory concerns as they relate to SPD come from Sensory-Processing-Disorder.com, which has been an amazing resource for us for SPD as well as even our oldest being on the Autism spectrum having sensory concerns that are addressed on there as well!
You may notice she does have a few of the same sensory concerns as our toddler, though she also has some that are very different. So here is a little insight into her:
- Becomes fearful, anxious or aggressive with light or unexpected touch. Particularly if she’s already in sensory overload. NOBODY can touch her when she’s in overload or she will cry, pull away, and scream not to touch her.
- Bothered by rough bed sheets. She’s definitely sensitive to cloth textures.
- A raindrop, water from the shower, or wind blowing on the skin may feel like torture and produce adverse and avoidance reactions. When bathing it is REALLY difficult to wash her hair or get her to wash her hair because she cannot stand the feeling of water on her ears in particular or if a drop of water is running down her face. She will get worked up and demand to get out of the bath immediately.
- May overreact to minor cuts, scrapes, and or bug bites. I often hear “she’s a girl,” which is obviously true, but there is definitely more to it!
- Will be distressed by dirty hands and want to wipe or wash them frequently.
- Distressed by seams in socks and may refuse to wear them. This is probably our biggest concern because she has breakdowns over her socks and panties almost daily particularly when in her car seat where she can’t adjust her clothes, itch her feet, etc. (She always says her clothes are itchy.)
- Distressed about having face washed. Again, she doesn’t like the feel of water on her face.
- Continues to mouth objects to explore them even after age two.
- May be afraid of the dark.
- Always jumping on furniture, trampolines, spinning in a swivel chair, or getting into upside down positions. I think she’d be a wonderful gymnast! 😉
- Is a “thrill-seeker”; dangerous at times.
- Always running, jumping, hopping etc. instead of walking.
- Likes sudden or quick movements, such as, going over a big bump in the car or on a bike.
- Has poor body awareness; bumps into things, knocks things over, trips, and/or appears clumsy.
- Kicks his/her feet on floor or chair while sitting at desk/table.
- Loves jumping off furniture or from high places.
- Distracted by sounds not normally noticed by others; i.e., humming of lights or refrigerators, fans, heaters, or clocks ticking.
- Bothered/distracted by background environmental sounds; i.e., lawn mowing or outside construction.
- Frequently asks people to be quiet; i.e., stop making noise, talking, or singing. Or, as has happened a few times, cowers with her ears covered crying/yelling for everybody to stop talking when we’re in a crowded place.
- May decide whether they like certain people by the sound of their voice. She is much more likely to talk to those with “soft” voices.
- Reacts negatively to, or dislikes smells which do not usually bother, or get noticed, by other people.
- Tells other people (or talks about) how bad or funny they smell. (That can be embarrassing! haha)
- Refuses to eat certain foods because of their smell.
- Bothered/irritated by smell of perfume or cologne.
- Sensitive to bright lights; will squint, cover eyes, cry and/or get headaches from the light.
- Easily distracted by other visual stimuli in the room; i.e., movement, decorations, toys, windows, doorways etc.
- Difficulty filtering out other sounds while trying to pay attention to one person talking.
- Gets easily frustrated.
- Functions best in small group or individually.
- Variable and quickly changing moods; prone to outbursts and tantrums.
- Excessive irritability, fussiness or colic as an infant.
- Becoming too hot or too cold sooner than others in the same environments; may not appear to ever get cold/hot, may not be able to maintain body temperature effectively.
- Severe/several mood swings throughout the day (angry to happy in short periods of time, perhaps without visible cause).
- Unable to regulate appetite; has little to no appetite and/or will be “starving” one minute then full two bites later, then back to hungry again.
So those are most of her sensory concerns. If you put yourself in that position and truly think about how she may feel then I think it would be easier to understand why she may come across as “having a bad attitude.” If my environment was often overwhelming, and I was a (very petite) 4 year old I would probably cry often, be grouchy, etc. as well! Her difficulty in admitting wrongdoing can also be connected to the fact that it’s a way to control her environment. When everything else is “out of control” it makes sense that you would have some defensive tactics to gain some control. Well, it does to me anyway! haha
I guess I also do a lot of learning on subjects such as this because I genuinely do want to learn, know more, and raise awareness! She is also highly emotional, which is common among children that are more on the hypersensitive end of the SPD Spectrum. She may not always get along with her brothers, but if they are sad or hurting it breaks her little heart! Generally shy, she has yelled at bigger kids on the playground for upsetting her little brother! haha So yes, it can be hard sometimes, and particularly frustrating sometimes, but I wish everybody could truly just see the heart of our sweet little girl because they are really missing out on her true personality!