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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I'm a Sensory Gal

I knew I was different from other people by the time I hit third grade. I don't know exactly what event made me realize that fact, but I do know that I felt outside of the circle more often than not before I reached nine years of age. Perhaps it was... oh, I don't know... my:
  • inability to dodge motionless walls and road signs (Yes, I have the dubious honor of once walking into a Stop Sign. And yes, I am aware of the irony.)
  • stomach-churning dislike of swings, roller-coasters and anything that might possibly, even just once, induce vomiting (Yes, I include helicopters in this list. Of course.)
  • irrational fear of falling (And not the hitting the ground part. The hitting the ground part is like manna for me. It's the Falling-Through-The-Air-Think-I-Might-Float-Off-Into-Space part. Which I am aware is irrational: hence my use of the phrase "irrational fear of falling.")
  • avoidance of all clothing that touches my neck or underarms (And no, I don't walk around naked... at least, not most of the time. I'm a huge fan of tank tops alone or paired with over-sized cardigans.)
  • incessant use of the eloquent and elegant word, "huh?" because I have an auditory processing delay and also struggle to hear amid tons of background noise
  • failure to wear jewelry, EVEN MY WEDDING RING at times (I keep telling the husband that it's because I want to look available. For some reason, he doesn't find that funny.)
  • struggles with night driving, since I am like a moth that can't help itself as others yell out, "Don't go into the light!!!!" and I reply, "But I can't help it... it's so be-uuuu-ti-ful..." (I'm speaking of headlights, y'all... you know, from oncoming cars.)
  • extreme avoidance of make-up (Although I finally - at the age of 34 - found make-up I'm willing to wear because I truly don't feel it on my face.)
  • gag reflex when eating certain foods, especially those that look and feel like brains (cauliflower and broccoli) and ones that have a thin skin on the outside, but are mushy on the inside (beans and various other slime)
I could seriously go on and on.

And on and on and on.

But that would probably bore y'all, so I kept it brief. I share all of this to encourage those of you who parent children with sensory struggles. I did very well in school, was able to find someone to put up with my weird sensory self (thank you, God, for forcing encouraging the Husband to marry me), enjoy several close friendships and manage to function quite well in society. Of course some people in real life find me somewhat strange, but I'm able to look completely mostly normal in the blogosphere.

And that's saying something.

Also, if any of these sensory things sound familiar, check out Three Channel's list of blogs educating others this month about sensory processing disorder. SPD is like quirkiness through a megaphone. It's oddness, but with some extra oomph. We might be a little tough to live with (thank you Husband... and mom... and dad), but the extra effort is totally worth it.

At least... I happen to think so.

28 comments:

Aunt LoLo said...

Hmm...my mother used to get so mad whenever Dad helped my little brother get his shoes and socks on. See, my little bro found my Mom's scissors once and snipped all the seams out of his socks..leaving him with little tubs, which is something he WASN'T counting on. He just hated the feeling of the seams on his toes. (The tags on his T-Shirts met the same fate.) To fix this, my dad would hold little bro's foot by the ankle, rear back...and SLAP the sole of his foot as hard as he could. He could then put the sock and shoe on before his foot regained feeling.

Not positive a doctor would recommend this approach, but it worked for him! We just always called my little brother Very Tactile and warned him that if any of his girlfriends showed up to the house in a cashmere sweater, she would promptly be given a burlap sack to change into. :-)

happygeek said...

This is SUPER interesting.
So, if someone walks into things (far too frequently) and doesn't have SPD does that make her a geek?
I'm with you on the huh? It's a terribly noisy world and if one has any sort of auditory problem it's murder to carry on a normal conversation.

Dawn said...

I once ran into a handicap parking sign in the Walmart parking lot. And I don't mean that I ran into it with my vehicle. I hit it so hard that I "bounced" off it. So hard that I was actually dizzy and had to be supported by my teenage son who was, of course, absolutely HUMILIATED by the public spectacle. Then, of course, were the absolutely hilarious LIES I told everyone about the black eye gained by my little adventure.

Textures? I'm pretty much okay except for anything with a rubbery consistancy. Instant gag.

Mom to 5...Daughter of the King said...

I wonder if my youngest has some sensory issues, as well as myself. some of this sounds really familiar!

The Source said...

I'm the mom of the boy who wears the heaviest coat he owns when it's 40 degrees in the early morning...and then leaves it zipped to his chin all day long even though the temperature rises to 75 by recess time. Why? Because he can't stand the way it feels when the pressure of the coat is gone. The only alternative is to freeze all day.

McEwens said...

Pretty interesting, I dont wear my ring either, and I totally dislike things on my wrists! Cant wear a watch or have long sleeves

Misty said...

oh no. we might not be able to be friends IRL. i have this condition called being identical that has forever altered my idea of Personal Space, and thus my perception of others' lack of when i'm standing near them!! my sis and i had a friend in HS who refused to stand b/twn us b/cs we'd keep gravitating toward each other.. well you get the idea. i'm sure. i think the underarm this is kinda funny... but i can see how that would be very awful if you FELT it all the time!!! and i don't wear makeup or jewelry, but mostly just b/cs i'm lazy. :)now that i think of it, hope i didn't overload you w/ emails yesterday!

Queen B said...

Oh my! I seriously have many of those symptoms. I just thought I was a freak who avoided a lot of things....going to read more about it now!!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Funny you should post this today...I just had to take new clothes to my son after his gag reflex got the best of him. He just turned 10, and I hoped he'd grow out of it. Not yet, anyway!

Sharon said...

I can imagine they think it is VERY worth it!! You are ADORABLE! I am reading stephanie Meyers Twilight series to make sure I think it is okay for my daughter to read. Mostly its fine but its a little over the top with the romance. ANyway,,, the main girl must have this too!

I would love to hear more about that moment thing!! Mine are so confusing!

big hug to you today, missy!!

Heather of the EO said...

Now I'm sitting here thinking I have SPD. But thinking you have every disorder that you ever hear about is probably a different disorder.

Carla said...

Oh I knew I loved you. :) Once again, I know we'd totally get along IRL. On the Auditory Processing, have you ever heard of Interactive Metronome Therapy? It's interesting.

Cajunchic said...

Great post. I always thought I was odd growing up. I hated crowds, could not stand parties or bars because they were too loud, and did not like to be touched for the most part. Now I look at Monkette and realize that I more than likely have SPD.

Lisa said...

Great and INFORMATIVE post, TM. Thanks for sharing! And I DON'T mean that sarcastically.

Michelle said...

Thanks for sharing this, because I love learning something new. There are several things on this list I have never heard of or thought of. You are always helping to open eyes.

Carolina Mama said...

I love this post! Thanks for sharing. We love you in Blogosphere and you're normal to us! :)

Also, I enjoyed your Day in the Life of TM! :)

Sharie said...

This was really interesting!

Shellie said...

Thanks for bringing this up-it took me 16 years mothering sensory kids to find out about this. People just don't understand it much. And every one is so different from the other, it's fascinating, too. Do you know, I couldn't stand to look at American cheese at all, it gave me a headache to even glance at it when I was little. Now, I can look casually, but I'd really rather not eat it. Gag!

CC said...

Great list. It is so helpful to have an adult describe their own list and not someone describing a child's list (aka not first hand). Thanks!

Quirky Mom said...

Love the stop sign story!

You've encouraged me to admit that I once walked into the back of a moving car. Walked. Right. Into. It.

kia (good enough mama) said...

Totally worth it, indeed!!! :)

Thanks for giving us your perspective on this, as an adult who is still a Sensory Gal, looking back at your life as a Sensory Kid. :) I can only hope Little Man grows to be as crazy, er, wonderful, as you have done. ;)

All Rileyed Up said...

I had no idea October was SPD month. I'm totally with you on the clothing touching the underarms. BIG fan of tank tops over here. And I have an irrational fear too: of falling through the slats on a boardwalk. Yup. Totally irrational.

Polar Bear said...

I have some of these same issues! Reading about your driving at night could have been written about me! :o)

Thank you for your comment today. You are correct, it is difficult to get over a loss. I did read your posts about the loss of Ring, I am not a very good commenter. I am so very sorry for all of you and especially for Pocket and Posie.

autismfamily said...

I found you from three channels site. I suffer with eczema and have many of these issues as well. I cannot tolerate turtlenecks or sweaters, never really wear a jacket, no jewelry either, and cannot have anything touch my neck or chin.

discombobulated said...

I am so going to try that make-up. It always feels so heavy and I am so aware of it on my face.

NJ Tracy Jean said...

I'm so excited to go to the SPD foundation meeting in Boston next month. You won't be there will you?

Jaimie said...

Thanks for the great post...some of those things are me to a t. I just did a post for SPD awareness month (finally...as october is mostly over) it's not done - has a "to be continued" thingy at the end...but oh well, at least something is finally up!

a Tonggu Momma said...

I will not be there, but I'll be reading the blogs of everyone else who attended. I can't wait to learn more about it from others.