10 Things Parenting a Child with Sensory Processing Disorder has Taught Me…

I’m the first to admit, this sensory parenting thing, is THE hardest thing I have ever done.  And I’ve done a lot of big things in life.  But this one, has been the hardest.  It’s a rollercoaster, one minute you are up and the next second you are down, way down.  But, through it all, I have learned and grown so much.

10 things parenting a child with sensory processing disorder has taught me...

…to go slower. I’m learning how to take life slower together with my sensory child. Grading and force is something that is turned up in her system. I have always been someone who doesn’t slow down. Together, we are learning the beauty and success in moving at a slower pace in life. We plan more time to get ready in the morning because it’s better that way then in a rush.

…to make life simple. The simpler things are in life, the less chaotic everything else seems. When my house has less and my life has less, my stress level is lower. When everything has a place, everything else falls in line.   Life seems lighter and I am less overwhelmed.  And let me tell you, I am the queen of stuff so if I can do it, you can!

…what is really important in life. More often than not, parenting a child with sensory processing disorder feels like a crisis. When you live in crisis mode you learn more about the things that are really important in life. The family, the friends and the relationships around you. You let go of the things that are less important, for the things that are.

…this disorder is not my fault and it is not because of my parenting. Sensory Processing Disorder is a lifelong gig, I can get her all the best therapies. But this is a part of how she is and it is my job in life to help her learn to cope with it. I will not be able to cure her of this and it is not my fault that she was born with this.

…to make life interesting. We do a lot of therapy that becomes like a secret language, OT, PT, SLP. And, have you ever seen a body sox? It’s something that, let’s face it just makes you giggle a little as a parent. Watching your child waddle around looking like a little blue stretchy alien. You also do crazy awesome things like put a ball pit in the middle of your living because it actually makes life more sane.

…you must be able to laugh at yourself and your family. Sometimes the chaos of a sensory child is something you have to shrug your shoulders and laugh a little bit at. Like how, I buy 20 pairs of the same pants because it’s the only ones that get worn.   Even though those pants will only get worn outside the house, because the second she arrives home they get left by the door.

…life goes on after meltdowns.  Meltdowns are a combination of all the world ending movies in one tiny body. I’m talking the Armegeddon, Twister and 2012 (confession: I have never seen any of those movies but that’s seriously what a meltdown feels like as a Mom). In tradition of all great movies, life goes on. After the meltdown subsides and the feeling of the world ending releases. Life in fact goes on. Even after meltdown after meltdown, eventually it is bedtime.

…to find joy in the odd and unusual places. Parenting a quirky kid comes with unexpected moments and achievements that sometimes are a little different then the neuro-typical population. Some successes include wearing pants and not licking non-food items and they fill my heart with joy.  Bonus points for wearing pants when the weather is 20 below!

…to listen to your child. When your neurological system functions fully as a parent and you have a child who’s doesn’t, sometimes it’s a challenge. A lot of times sensory challenges often look like it’s more of a behavior issue. But, sometimes if you stop and listen and look beyond the behavior your child can tell you what is going on their body and what is bothering them.

…to embrace different. Parenting a child with sensory processing disorder means parenting differently. It means you don’t punish your child when they don’t want to put shoes on to leave the house. It means finding shoes that feel just right. It means finding the “just right” for them in everyday situations, the right socks or the right food texture.  Because when you hear that sigh of relief from them and you both know that it’s all going to be ok, that is the greatest thing to achieve as a mom.