Wednesday, April 29, 2009
From almost day one we knew our Isaac was different than other children. Not so different that we didn't attribute it to personality. Isaac has always been active to the point of exhaustion for those around him. As a baby he was easily startled, slept very badly, and cried frequently. Ben and I were sleep deprived like all other parents with infants so we thought little of the extremes we were living with. We came up with coping technics to survive the first year of Isaac's life. Swaddling was a must, TV was used often and still is, staying outside constantly. Isaac didn't sleep for more than 3 hours at a time. Finally sleeping through the night (6 hours) at 10 months after weeks of letting him scream to sleep. When Isaac became mobile our lives turned upside down. There was nothing he didn't get into. Again from what we could tell this was normal but for Isaac, you couldn't redirect him. He wouldn't stop, slow down, or take quiet time. Getting him to take naps was hard to impossible without laying on the bed and holding him till he fell asleep. As we always joked he had two switches fast and off. Isaac requires constant attention. Not just to keep him safe but he demands constant affection and participation in anything he is doing. Being Isaac's parent is so time consuming that other responsibilities are lucky if they get done. There was a while before we learned what was going on that I just shut down, not being able to do anything because I was so tired of monitoring Isaac and Micah. Isaac is a very physical child. He bashes and crashes in to objects and people. He has no concept of personal boundries. He takes excessive risks, hurts himself frequently, and repeats these behaviors often. All of which sounds like a typical boy. I think the idea that I am trying to convey is that all of these behaviors sound like normal developing for a typical child. Ben and I just thought that we couldn't control our child. That somehow we were doing something wrong because his behaviors weren't changing as we tried to correct them. The more we disciplined Isaac for doing something the more frustrated he became and the more he would do the same thing over and over again. There is a level of desperation you reach when you feel you are failing as a parent. Watching your child being excluded from social situations because he can't control himself is heart breaking because you feel the blame is on you for not teaching him better. By 4 years old Isaac was fairly isolated from other children. Trying to coordinate play groups was exhausting. I had to hover over Isaac constantly to ensure other childrens safety as well as help Isaac initiate appropriate interactions. Having Micah only complicated things because I had to split my attention and wasn't able to constantly reinforce good behaviors with Isaac. In a time when I had thrown my hands in the air ready to give up Isaac started Preschool. Because of my religious beliefs I know that the Lord directed us to this Preschool. In the first 3 weeks they knew something was wrong. They asked if they could bring someone in to observe Isaac to see how they could help him better. With a resounding YES PLEASE I waited impatiently for someone to tell me how to help my child. When Sensory Processing Disorder was suggested as well as ADHD I read the suggested books and through it all I kept nodding my head and laughing as I found support and understanding. I have found other parents dealing with the same issues and what a relief to know I HAVEN'T RUINED MY CHILD! Sensory Processing Disorder is still not a recognized diagnosis by medical authorities but legislation is in process to make it a diagnosis so we can get the services that we need. Health insurance doesn't cover treatments and schools can not give services under that diagnosis. Luckily our school district saw the problem for what it was and has worked wonderfully with us due to informed specialists. There is no cure but we are working everyday to give Isaac and now Micah the ability to function in the world and find success.