sensory problem

NEWSFLASH: Adults have SPD too

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:

NOT SURE IF FRY

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.

potty training

not relevant

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.

same person

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:

wut

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 FALSEanother 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.

helloworld

herrow

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.

xo kelly

Advertisements

Partying with SPD

Ask any person with sensory issues about how much they like going to parties.

Oh wait, you don’t have to, I’ll tell you for them. They don’t like it.

Large social gatherings are basically the OPPOSITE of the bees knees for SPDers (well, like 98% of us).

I was at a family/friends party recently. There were about 25 people there of various ages. I spent a lot of my time outside (because outside is usually better than inside because sound has no walls to bounce off of).

But then I came inside….for cake. Everyone was watching the world cup on the tv.

Of course, having impeccable timing like I always do, one of the teams scored a goal at that exact moment, and the house erupted in a roar of whoops and clapping. One of the party goers was clapping so forcefully that I felt as if he was slapping the side of my face with a piece of plywood. Oh yes, it was fun.

That was all I needed. I froze as my sensory system tried to understand what the heck just happened.

Picture 48

Things went downhill quickly. Thankfully, my mom was nearby and witnessed the trauma as it unfolded. She quickly removed me from the scene:

Picture 50

Meanwhile, my body moved zombie-like alongside her, unable to really process much of anything. Amazingly, I did not cry. AS usual, my body deals with trauma by zoning out, crying, and/or going full t-rex (which you can read about HERE). This time, however, I just zoned out.

Picture 63

Mom and I had to then walk down a very steep hill to get away from the noisy, chaotic house party. As we walked, she joked about when my t-rex arms would appear. So I started making dinosaur noises and humming the theme song to Jurassic Park.

Picture 51

It was all fun and games until we had to go from steep hill to steeper driveway. Mom was in heels, and it wasn’t pretty:

Picture 52

MIRACULOUSLY, we made it down to the street where we found a nice little path to walk on….a flat path.

The combination of the air, walking, and having my mom to support me (no really, she was actually holding me upright) started to make me feel less like I was going to die. She started verbally bashing people, parties, society, etc…and it was funny.

Picture 54

Even when we came across a barking dog, and I wanted to destroy him forever,  mom didn’t miss a beat:

Picture 55

(NOTE: I would never wish a dog to die, but when I’m overstimulated, I can’t tolerate anything and become a vicious beast).

As we made our way back to the party, I decided to sit on the front porch steps and mom said she was going to bring me some cake. She said it would make me feel better. She came out holding what appeared to be the majority of the whole cake squished onto a little paper plate:

Picture 56

Of course, she was right. I felt so much better after eating all that ice cream cake. Food for the SPD soul. This post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning that the cake had blue icing on it that stained our teeth bright blue, so we both looked like this:

Picture 58

 

So that’s my party story.

Moral of today’s post: If you’re going to a party, especially where there will be loud, obnoxious people who will unknowingly destroy your will to live, make sure you bring a SPD friend or caretaker, such as MOM, who can carry out to safety and give you large pieces of cake.

Picture 53

 

Thanks, Mom.

xoxo kelly