As most of our family and close friends know, Jonathan was diagnosed when he was 3 with ADHD. We made changes in his diet, switched to mostly whole foods, eliminated artificial dyes, very limited processed foods and foods including preservatives. We saw great changes in the behaviors we though to be ADHD, and then slowly, we started noticing a whole new set of symptoms. Some have always been there, and others we have noticed in the past 6 months to a year. Some are symptoms are very consistent, and others are very inconsistent, but none the less, they are all part of our life.
For the most part, the average person with occasional contact with him, will probably not even notice anything out of the ordinary. And even for me somedays, I see everything he does as typical behavior for children his age, and think that the doctors are wrong. And everything is normal. And it is, just a different kind of normal. Because there are other moments, other days, where I know that this is not typical.
For he looks typical, walks normal, and carries on conversations.
But when you are pushing your cart with a screaming and crying 5 year old out of Target, the looks that you get are not normal. They tell you that you need to be disciplining your child, and your child should not be having a meltdown at that age. But he is. Because he needed vanilla milk from Starbucks. Once a meltdown starts, you rarely have a chance and making it out unscathed. Regardless of the cause. As your voice rises to discipline him, his emotions go in to overload.
Or when he is sitting in the movie theatre with tears streaming down his cheeks and hiding, because it is just too loud and too scary. Covering his ears when a toilet flushes, power tools are used, trucks drive by, people are singing at church, music is too loud, or leaves are being raked . .
Having to be carried over puddles becuse his shoes can't get wet, walking only on the dry spots after it rains. Yet, swimming in the lake, or splashing in the bathtub or shower is a lot of fun.
Changing a shirt or pair of pants immediately if a sleeve get's wet, or drop of water falls on his clothes. He goes in to a panic.
He's a runner. As in he will take off running. When you are at a busy mall, a crowded farmer's market, a grocery store. The lights are too bright, the noises are too much, the smells are everywhere, all at the same time. And he breaks free. So we try to hold hands, and we hold them tight (but it's hard to do when you are holding bags, pushing a cart/stroller, and also walking with a three year old).
He eats great. He loves fresh fruit, raw and steamed vegetables. But eliminates food from his diet, more and more. Because it is too melty, creamy, too hot, too spicy, not the right brand. He has always loved pizza, but now we order pizza withouth cheese, just sauce and pineapple. Because he does not like "cooked meat" or cheese anymore. Foods he use to love eating, now make him gag, or he will just plain out refuse to eat. Instead he fills his plate with carrots, apples, pears, and a banana. He's not just beng picky, or spoiled, but his tactile senses are out of sync. Anything with a "bad" texture, taste, smell, or look will not be eaten.
Only wearing shoes that can get tighter and tighter. And stopping to tighten them when they get too loose.
There is so much more to this, and I could go on and on, but I wanted to give a little insight in to a typical day.
Jonathan was misdiagnosed with ADHD. He actually focuses very well, when in the right environment.
He is excelling in school , and loving every minute of it (after 2 1/2 weeks of meltdowns each day as I walked out of the room). What he has is called Sensory Integration Disorder, a.k.a. Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Most of his symptoms are tactile and auditory. We received the diagnosis which is considered a neurological disability by a pediatric neurologist, and will received an additional evaluation by an occupational therapist as we begin sensory therapy. This may remain the sole diagnosis that we receive, but there could be more to come in the future.
But for now, we will do our best to help him cope with this crazy world in the best way possible, with the tools that we have available to us.
So please be patient with us, as we navigate this uncharted teritory. As we learn and grow, and find new ways to cope. Your senses direct so much of your every day life, much more than we realize, and SPD, effects much more than just what you eat, or how your shoes need to fit.
If you are interested in learnig more, I would suggest reading "The Out Of Sync Child". It's a great resource to actually explain what is going on, and how it effect's our child's life.