WE ALL HAVE SENSORY ISSUES! No, I’m not yelling at you, but I am trying to get my point across. Everyone has sounds, tastes, feelings that they love or hate. I remember the OT’s first words when we were discussing my son’s diagnosis, “Everyone has sensory issues. To understand what your child is going through, think about your own sensory issues.” Those words ring in my head every day. I find myself more mindful of not only my son’s sensory issues but also my own sensory issues in an effort to truly understand what he is going through.
I can remember when I was a child how I had to have my shoes tied tightly. If they weren’t, I was upset. My mom tells me often of how I had to have my socks perfectly even or again, I was upset. I remember having very dry hands because if I had even the slightest feeling of dirt on my hands, I had to wash them. While I didn’t have “meltdowns” over any of these issues, they were things that bothered me. As I got older, I never even thought twice about these sensory issues until we received my son’s diagnosis of sensory processing disorder.
As an adult, I still have sensory issues. I still can’t stand the feeling of dirt on my skin, especially my feet. Wearing flip flops to the ball fields is almost unbearable. Every time a microwave beeps, my right ear pops. It pops with every single beep. I hate the sound of microwaves going off. I remember sitting in the doctor’s office with my child as he scooted across the leather couch. The sound was so intense that then and there I decided we will never have leather furniture. I like to sleep with a certain blanket. I can fall asleep without it, but it sure makes it easier if I have my special blanket. I love the feeling of a hot shower. You might be thinking who doesn’t, but I’m not just talking about enjoying a hot shower. I’m talking about a scalding hot shower that can completely change my mood or a moderately warm cold shower that will put me in a REALLY BAD mood.
When I first thought of all of my sensory triggers, I wandered if I had mild SPD as well. As I continue to learn more about sensory processing, I know that I do not have a form of SPD, rather just things that bother some of my senses. So while not everyone has SPD, everyone is extra sensitive to different sights, sounds, tastes, feelings. So if you are just starting out on this walk through sensory park or if you can’t seem to understand what your child, grandchild, student, loved one is going through, please consider your own sensory issues and how they make you feel. The first step to truly understanding your child’s sensory triggers is to understand your own. And if you can’t think of one, then imagine the sound of someone scraping their nails down a blackboard, because I don’t think anyone likes that sound. If so, then you definitely need to let me know.