My three year old was crying uncontrollably and I could feel my anxiety rising.
“My socks!” he screamed.
“Mommy doesn’t understand what you mean! What about your socks?”
He kept on crying and I kept on asking, helpless. I simply had no idea what was going on.
When he finally calmed down, he told me that he just wanted them to stay up. After a few minutes of talking about it, making sure I understood, I gathered that his socks kept on riding down his leg and crumpling at his toes, and this was stressing him out.
Understanding Our Children
Part of parenthood is learning to understand our children, figuring out what makes them tick and trying to identify how to help them in their own journey.
All children, like adults, have unique personalities and each of them will handle stress (both positive and negative) differently.
Remember the kid who hid in the corner at their birthday party because they didn’t like to be the centre of attention? If this child has two extraverted parents who never minded events and parties, such a child may be hard for them to identify with. But pushing the child to be outgoing or enjoy crowded celebrations is not going to help. We all enjoy different things and relate to the world differently – it’s just part of being human!
Learning About Sensory Processing
So what if our kids keep on facing challenges and we just don’t “get it”? What if we aren’t sure how to help our kids handle their big emotions, we aren’t quite sure what the root of the issue is, or we cannot seem to communicate effectively?
This is where seeking out expert advice really helps.
Dayna Abraham is a National Board Certified teacher, with over 12 years of experience in early childhood education. She now homeschools her 3 children, one of which struggles with Sensory Processing Disorder. She is the author at Lemon Lime Adventures and owner of Project Sensory, where she is dedicated to sharing real life stories with parents and educators about the pretty and the not so pretty days involved in raising children. She is the author of the best selling book, Sensory Processing 101, and is a wonderful resource person if your child is struggling with sensory issues.
I recently had the opportunity to interview Dayna to find out more about sensory processing and I’m really learning a lot from following her work. Have a read and see if you think your family dynamics could improve through learning more about this issue:
When did you become interested in sensory processing?
When I was in a blended preschool classroom, I had my first exposure with a child who was diagnosed with the disorder. It was the first time in 12 years of teaching that I ever heard of sensory processing at all. Once I started to study it more, I learned just how much our daily lives are related to sensory processing.
How would you describe sensory processing to someone for the first time?
Sensory Processing is the way our body recieves and regulates the input we get from the world around us. The sights, sounds, smells and tastes are just the beginning. Sensory processing actually involves so much more from spatial awareness to how hard we push on our pencils.
How do you know if your child struggles with sensory processing?
Your child’s behaviors impact, impede, or greatly change their daily life. This is KEY!!!! All children will have some troubling behaviors, some sensory needs, and some concerns that need to be addressed. The problem occurs when these behaviors greatly affect your child’s life. In our case, our son was unable to make friends, he was impulsive to the point of sending his dad to the hospital and running over his aunt with a golf cart. He was struggling to regulate his emotions to the point that he would bite his nails and eventually bite his brother’s nails off to the nail bed. You can read more in this post.
How does understanding sensory processing help parents?
Sensory processing will change the way you look at your child! Understanding the basic seven sensory systems will open your eyes to so many mysteries about your child. It took me years to realize this. Unfortunately, when you have a child who struggles with everyday things such as putting on shoes, getting his shirt wet, or an unquenchable desire to chew everything in sight, you are forced to learn about things at a rapid pace. As I learned more about more about the sensory systems and how they work and process information, I started to look at my other children completely differently. You can read more about it here.
More Resources on Sensory Processing
Check out The Newbie’s Guide to Sensory Processing | A Basic Overview for a comprehensive introduction that will help you understand even more. You can also connect with Dayna over on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
You may also enjoy reading…