Tag Archives: sensory processing disorder

Ouch, that hurt. Part two.

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I am a fully fledged glutton for punishment.  You’d have thought that after my experience on Tuesday that I wouldn’t go near my local Aldi again… just in case I ran into more people like the ones who upset me so much.  But I did.  Well, I had to.  You see, in an effort to keep it together for the boys and also for myself I completely forgot a couple of essential items when I was in there on Tuesday.

There’s something about Aldi nappies.  They’re awesome and they’re so incredibly cheap.  Master2 is still in nappies (so is Mr7 but he’s outgrown the Aldi ones) and I was running pretty low.  I decided I couldn’t let people upset me enough to change what I would normally do so I slapped on a smile and took the boys back there so we could get the nappies.

My husband had suggested that if I saw those “people” again I should take a photo of them in an effort to name and shame them – or at least shame them.  I had to tell him that in my sheer rage that they would speak to my child in the way they did I couldn’t describe them at all except to say one was male, one was female and that was if they were even human.  I knew one had two children with them and the other had three but that was it, and I only remember the head count because I was trying hard not to let the kids hear too much as I tore strips off their parents/carers.

So there we were, walking into Aldi yesterday afternoon.  It was a warm day and Mr7 was vocal about his relief at Aldi’s air conditioning – he let out a joyful screech and a laugh and jumped up and down a couple of times.  We had only taken about four steps in when I saw this trolley whirl around, a woman grab her bag and hiss at her children “Quickly, we have to go… NOW.” One of the children replied “Mummy, isn’t that the lady that told you off yesterday?” There was no reply that I heard as she slunk out of the store, taking care to keep her back to me so I couldn’t see her face.

I have to admit it, I called her a coward.  Okay, an f’ing coward… out loud… and I used the full f word.  It wasn’t loud enough to disturb other shoppers but I’m pretty sure she heard me.  And that’s okay, she was meant to.

See, the thing is she meant my child to hear the things she said to him and she meant to say the things she said to me but she didn’t expect to get called on it.  And she did.  There is no time or place in society for such things to be said to innocent children.  He was obviously melting down, screeching and sobbing in distress and trying to throw himself on the ground.  All she had to do was either continue to walk past me (and possibly think “Thank goodness it isn’t me”) or perhaps give the universal smile and nod of acknowledgement.  Instead she added more distress to the situation by demanding our attention and saying what she did.

So if she’s going to abandon her shopping part way through (and I checked, there wasn’t any refrigerated or frozen stuff in there or I would have alerted the staff) and slink out of the store like a whipped puppy then I’m not going to feel sorry for her.  My response obviously made an impact if just seeing me 24 hours later can cause a reaction like that.  I’m actually quite happy about it, it means that perhaps my words are having an effect on her.  I know my words were cutting… but maybe they’re cutting the poisonous part of her that thinks the way she did and clearing the abcess from her soul.  Or maybe she’s just ashamed.  I’m okay with either of those because what she did was not okay.

Ouch, that hurt.

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As much as I look on the bright side of life there are times where I am totally human and get dragged down.  This afternoon was one of them.

Mr7 is in vacation care quite a bit during school holidays, he is the kind of child that needs a certain amount of routine and his vacation care is at his school which is a place he adores.  The last couple of days he’s not fared so well and I have had phone calls to come and collect him as he’s been having meltdowns all over the place.  That’s fair enough, they’re a disability service vacation care but they’re not set up for one on one like he needs in meltdown mode… and it can be so sad and scary to watch him.

Today I got the call at around 1pm so I knew it hadn’t been a good day and was going to be a difficult afternoon.  We struggled along at home for a while and then he and I had to go pick up Master2 from kindy, visit Aldi to get a few things and come home.  The kindy pickup was difficult but manageable.  And then it all went to crap.

As the parent of a child with multiple issues I am used to the fact that we’re “on display” and apparently represent “Team Disability” and should therefore not only be happily willing but also able to answer anyone’s questions no matter how inappropriate the question or their timing.  I’m not happy about it but I do my best to understand it and if it means that someone else doesn’t have to deal with it then I’ll suck it up, smile and do my best.

But the one thing that hurts beyond belief are the nasty comments.  Not just unkind or thoughtless but truly, truly nasty.  We walked a 600 metre stretch of pathway and Mr7 was trying so hard to control his emotional meltdown but he just couldn’t.  I could see him struggling with it and was doing my best to reassure him as we walked along, talking quietly to him, holding his hand (and pushing the pram with Master2 in it with the other) and it was obvious to anyone that it wasn’t a silly tantrum but a real issue.  It still didn’t stop two people from saying the most horrible things to us.

How do you cope when a complete stranger suggests that you should have killed your child when you realised he wasn’t normal, like an animal does with their babies?  Or when another complete stranger says that if it was her kid he would be spending a lot of time chained up in the doghouse until he learned to behave like a human being and not a feral animal?

As a person who is usually looking on the bright side of life and finding the positive in everyone I have to say this was one of those situation where I was completely and utterly human and that I tore shreds off them – up one side and down the other, in fact.  I’m not exactly proud of how I reacted but then I can’t understand how they’d think what they said was something to be proud of either.

I’m great at seeing silver linings in clouds and rainbows in oil slicks.  Today I looked at the cesspit of humanity and I hope that the little sparkle I saw was simply a reflection of something good from me and not just another shard of glass under the grot and mud.  Surely those people have some redeeming features?  I know that Master7 was having a crappy day and I guess they were too… because why else would they say such horrid things to a child and a parent struggling to get through the next few minutes?

Fortunately I know that a quiet night at home and a good sleep means I’ll get up to face whatever tomorrow throws at me with a smile.  Here’s hoping it’s a brighter day all round.

PS  No pic for this post.  I could have resurrected my picture of a glass of wine as that’s about to come into play but I couldn’t think of what else to use that would be appropriate.

Introductions, part two

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Always Unique, Totally Intelligent, Sometimes Mysterious.  AUTISM.  No beating around the bush, that is just one of the diagnoses that Mr7 has, or a label he carries.  Actually, given that it’s him he might sometimes carry it, other times he’ll rip it off to explore it and most often he’ll just eat it.  Autism, Global Development Delay, Intellectual Impairment, Sensory Processing Disorder, PICA… or in the disability world it’s more like ASD, GDD, II, SPD, PICA and add in NV and NTT or Non Verbal and Not Toilet Trained.

At the end of the day, it’s all guesswork with a level of frustration and huge dose of humour.  We can only guess at what he can and can’t understand but we know that he responds to love, music, laughter and food.  Oh, boy, does he respond to food!  My second baby but my biggest at a very healthy 9lb 11oz which was quite a shock, the doctor was suggesting I’d be lucky to get an 8 pounder and that was at the appointment where we set the induction date.  I try to keep that in mind – he doesn’t do what is expected and quite often manages a rather interesting surprise.  When it comes to birthweight or well timed displays of cooperation in public that’s great.  When it comes to eating something I’d really rather he didn’t (and let’s not gross you out by going into that further!) or redecorating his room with the contents of his nappy… I’d far rather pass, thanks!

As difficult and frustrating as life can be, it is also a huge adventure where things can be looked at in so many ways and the world is just waiting to be explored one sense at a time… although it’s usually taste and sound.  Taste is obvious but sound… well, he can’t verbalise words but he can do the “Ahhhh” and “Eeeee” noises and he also likes to bang his hands against everything to see what sound it makes.  And when I say everything I do mean everything – walls, doors, his baby brother, the TV, the ground, me… the list goes on.  He’s also really, really curious at what is on the other side of the door, any door, and will open them and wander through to explore.  This means that we keep all doors locked when he’s home to keep him safe and to keep him out of mischief.  I still haven’t quite gotten over the day when Master2 was a newborn and I suddenly realised that Master7 was nowhere to be seen or heard… and we were the only ones home at the time.  Racing around the neighbourhood with a newborn clutched against me, phone in hand, frantically screaming his name… I swear I got at least 30 new grey hairs from that five minutes of pure terror.

Still, it’s not all hard work.  He is so loving and affectionate, cuddling up and giving little smooches and batting his very long and thick eyelashes over those big brown eyes… he’s learned that’s really quite effective on most people.  He has also learned to play with his siblings, even if it’s just taking turns on the slide or jumping on the trampoline with them.  He has relationships with people other than family and they appreciate him for the loving, unique and valuable person that he is and that’s something that I’m so grateful for – they look at him and see a small boy, not a collection of diagnoses.

A lifelong devotee of The Wiggles, someone who enjoys music and plays his own drum track wherever he goes, an apple connoisseur, a giggler with a very ticklish spot under one arm, someone who knows how to use his charms to the fullest, a paper shredder far superior to any cross cut shredder you can buy, mischief and joy and noise… all in the shape of a seven year old boy.  He might not be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is.