Monday, May 04, 2009

Making sense of Sensory Integration

While I was looking forward to our SPD class this weekend, I have to admit that it exceeded my expectations! So I've been thinking about exactly WHAT I gained from this class and here's what I come up with:
1)Did I hear anything that I hadn't heard before? No.
2)Was any of the information earth-shattering or shocking in its revelations? No.

So why was it so good?
I guess for me, the instructor managed to put ME into the position of the person with Sensory Processing Disorder. To some degree. I don't think we can EVER truly understand without having the disorder itself, but any understanding that we can gain is insight........Insight into what it might feel like to have our head floating through space with no awareness of where are legs are......and being made fun of in PE class because we trip over everything. Insight into what it feels like to be so painfully aware of the clothing on our bodies that we can't step scratching ourselves......ever. Insight into being so overwhelmed by the smell of candles in the aisle of a store that I can't go back into that store ever again.

And I got to experience firsthand what it feels like to sit on a ball chair in class. Did it help me stay awake? Or was it distracting to me? I got to chew potato chips, suck warheads, drink ice water, drink hot drinks, play with a huge variety of fidgets.........all for the sheer purpose of finding out what helped ME stay awake and attentive in class, in order that I might gain insight into what helps others stay awake and attentive. And through it all, we watched videos of a huge variety of children with a variety of manifestations of the disorder, and how the issues were worked through with a cognitive, patient, step-by-step approach.

Most of all, I think what I came away with is a new and profound understanding that human beings truly are UNIQUE. While this is pretty obvious, its also a great reminder!! I can't take my own preferences for what I like to fidget with, munch on, sit on, etc. and project those onto Jennica! Instead, I need to be patient and let her tell me! If not through words, then through her actions and responses. What does she seek out? What does she ask for? And what helps her succeed?

So I came home with an increased desire to listen twice as much as I talk. Listen and watch. And the answers will come.

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