Visiting the local library, I noticed the shelves of books preparing tots for their first day of kindergarten. But I had to wonder, where are the books preparing the parents for the first day of kindergarten? This momentous move is presented as a rite of passage for our five and six year olds. But we parents are often overlooked. Isn’t this a rite of passage for us as well? And today holds great significance for SPD parents.
When we first found out Vman had Sensory Processing Disorder at the age of three, we were barely able to think past the first five minutes, let alone the next five days. But somehow, we managed to put one foot in front of the other. Day after day. Occupational therapist appointment after appointment.
My husband and I faced the ongoing issues of SPD (and sometimes just stuck our heads in the sand to get a break). I brought home the recommendations of the OTs and child psychologist. I read the online articles. I scoured over book after book — all to bring down the stress level in the house but slowly chip away at the neurological issues Vman was having. I said to myself, if this has to do with his signals being crisscrossed, then I will do everything in my power to help reset his hard wiring.
Does this mean I set out to “fix” him? Not by any means. My hope was to help reset his senses enough as well as give him the tools he needed to succeed. How he chooses to define success will be up to him. But my definition of success is him being able to do well in school rather than feeling like he can’t do things at all. I want him to feel like he has a place rather than feeling displaced and disconnected from the people around him.
As I thought about dropping him off for that first day of school, I realized just how far we’ve come since that fateful day when Sensory Processing Disorder entered our vernacular. Vman has blossomed from a violently reactive child to a kid who was able to tell me his stomach hurt because he was so nervous about school. The very thought that he can control his impulses and not act them out would have blown my mind three years ago. But now, I’m able to take in the joy of knowing he’s wiping away the veil of SPD, which has impeded his ability to always shine as the marvelous and sensitive child that he is.
So if you are a parent wondering when things will get better, I say to you — they will! Not today. Not tomorrow. Maybe not next year. But the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Take that step every day, and one day you will find yourself much farther along your path than you ever thought possible.
Yes, kindergarten is a rite of passage. MY rite of passage as the mother of a child with SPD. My son may be enjoying the excitement of feeling like the big man on campus on his first day. But really, today is about my accomplishments of steadfast love, dedication and hope for my child.