Literally, the human body has over 7 trillion nerves that make up our nervous system. It's no wonder that nerve disorders are so hard to diagnose and treat.
The sensory nervous system is so complex that it takes time to diagnose a child with sensory processing disorder (SPD). In fact, the evaluation process can take as long as 4 to 6 months in a respectable practice, although treatment continues during this time.
So what is going on in my children's nervous systems that has them so "out of sync" with the rest of the world? Well, interestingly enough, my kid's SPD manifests as direct opposites of each other. Brayden has an under responsive nervous system. Basically, it takes him a very long time to bring his body to an aroused state where he can interact appropriately with others, tend to his basic hygiene needs, and learn. Certain things can speed this up such as loud music, exciting activities (think Disney Land), sour foods, and prolonged physical exercise. On a typical day, he can not get dressed and ready for school on his own unless extensive efforts are taken to arouse him. As a parent, it is hard not to label this behavior as laziness or defiance but once you arouse him sufficiently, you see that he is quite capable and willing.
Teagan, on the other hand, has an over responsive nervous system. Her body is always on hyper alert mode. If you tickle Teagan, it is extremely painful to her. She can't tolerate light touch. She also tunes into every bit of sensory information coming at her. So if the teacher is reading a book and her friend is tapping a pencil and someone else is coughing, she can't remember the story because she is tuning into everything at once. So to calm down her system, Teagan needs cold drinks through a straw, tactile stimulation that she can initiate, and tight hugs. I can't give her a light peck on the forehead good night. She needs a big ole smooch!
Can you imagine the fun my household is with these two opposites? This is just one part of their processing disorder that we are learning about. Much more to come!