Oh Sweetest Song
takes us together like a violin's bow,
which draws one voice out of two seperate strings.
Upon what instrument are we two spanned?
And what musician holds us in his hand?
Oh sweetest song. - Ranier Maria Rilke
Satch had a minor melt down during a play date last week. We were all sitting cross legged on the floor playing a game, but his friend was sitting with her legs splayed outward in a large V formation. Her foot kept touching Satch and he asked her to move it. It happened again s0 he moved her foot. It happened again and he blew his top and yelled. I asked him to switch places with me and he refused and began to cry. He truly wanted to sit next to his friend. He didn't want to move, but the touch of her foot was too much for him. I asked him to go upstairs and jump on his trampoline for a few moments and then come down when he felt better. While he was upstairs, I explained the situation to his friend's mom.
If you never heard of SPD, you might think that my son over reacted or was being "difficult". But that couldn't be farther from the truth. To you and me, the slight touch of a friend's foot may register as a 1 on a scale from 1-10. However, for Satch it registered as a 10 and so he responded with a 10. To "discipline" my son for his response would be the equivalent of poking you with a tack and then reprimanding you for jumping, yelling OUCH or STOP! A visceral response does not warrant discipline, but rather understanding. And I'm so thankful that I now understand what the world feels like for my son so that I can respond accordingly, so that I can be his advocate, so that I can know what warrants a consequence and what does not.
The occupational therapy not only helps Satch, but also helps us understand our son. We will watch his progress and adjust accordingly. If necessary, when he starts school, we will alert his teacher and ask that he's given adequate space during circle time or when walking in lines. We will do our best to insure that he is not shamed. We will try to foster awareness so others can learn to be respectful of our differences.
(photo during an OT session - it's fun!)
In truth, I think Satch handled the situation to his best ability. It could have been far worse. Some children with sensory defensiveness, would respond more aggressively by hitting or pushing the person that is touching them. Satchel's SPD is not severe and he understands that it is not okay to hit or push. Still he makes it very clear that he does not wish to be touched by anyone except his family, and that's okay.
*In other news, the always inspiring, Ninabeana interviewed me on her blog o' goodness yesterday - how sweet is that?!?!