This post contains information that NEEDS to be said. Warning: the following may cause epiphany, sudden awakening of the soul, and Oprah’s “ah-ha” moment. Proceed with caution.
Approximately 93% – I just calculated that statistic in my mind – of all information on sensory issues, both in print and online, are geared towards children.
For a while, that knowledge left me feeling like this:
One of the main reasons I started this blog was due to the near absence of information and resources for adults with SPD on the web or in books. The only exception to this would be a few blogs, and Sharon Heller’s Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight, which has become the bible for sensory-plagued adults. Unfortunately, SPD adults often find ourselves reading sensory books geared towards children, and attempting to relate the information to our adult lives. It can be awkward.
Like many neurological disorders, sensory processing disorder does not go away with time.
A fun fact is that according to many medical “professionals,” children with sensory processing disorder just learn to live with their problems, or they simply grow out of the disorder.
At age 13, many people – including myself – were turned away from occupational therapists for the sole reason that we were too old to be treated for our sensory issues.
I remember asking my mom, with confusion, “What’s the difference if I’m 12 or 13? I still have the same disorder. I still need help for this.” Momsy didn’t know what to say, and she couldn’t have known.
Here is what I know: growing out of something is for clothing. People grow out of sweaters. People do not usually grow out of neurological conditions. They manage it and – in the case of SPD – learn ways to live within their specific limitations. SPD can regulated with various therapies (occupational, physical, or psychological), but there is no cure for it just yet. However, this leaves us SPD adults with many problems.
It leaves us feeling a strange sense of being “unwelcome.” Adults are not the target group, if you will, for awareness and research. SPD adults are very much ignored and neglected by the medical community. We often feel a sense of guilt for even asking for/seeking out help from professionals. We are given this look when we mention SPD to our doctors:
This is not Hogwarts, my friends. SPD cannot be sent away with the flick of a wand, nor does it magically vanish when we turn 18. It is not fair or right that adults with neurological conditions such as sensory processing disorder are left in the dark simply because they are adults.
As an adult with SPD, I can assure you that my sensory problems are here to stay (for now). I’ve overcome many of my sensory struggles from my childhood – yes. However, newer and more overwhelming challenges have reared their ugly faces into my life as an adult with this condition.
Due to the belief that SPD is a disorder of childhood – WHICH WE GENIUSES KNOW TO BE FALSE – another belief now exists that there are no adults with SPD at all. Because of this idea that adults don’t have SPD, it is not recognized by our society, and therefore, we cannot get help or respect.
SO WHERE ARE ALL THE ADULTS WITH SPD?
I’ll tell you where they are. They are struggling to find their place in a world that doesn’t work with their sensory system. Without acknowledgement from our community regarding this conundrum, we find ourselves turned off by the world.
Moral of the story is this:
Adults with SPD are out there. We are here! (Well, not really. We are actually trying to avoid the entire world while simultaneously being part of the entire world. It’s a tad complicated.)
Spread awareness and educate your fellow human beans that, in fact, adults with neurological condition DO exist. We need your compassion and respect in order to overcome our challenges.