In many circles, there's a strong bias toward eliminating problem behaviors. Is there a problem with this approach? Read More
Thank you SO much for this piece. How fortunate that you kept a journal so that you can look back and have greater insight into what was happening with you in school years.
Even when we parents don't know "what's up with this child?", I think if we can start with recognizing that people can be wired differently and a child's behavior may come from something inside them that needs to be honored and supported, it will make a huge difference for kids. Suppressing your body's and mind's needs to conform to unrealistic expectation sucks up willpower and demoralizes children. We adults have to do much, much better in supporting our kids. Curiosity, not condemnation!
This is something that "normal" people seem to have a hard time understanding: that sensory sensitivity is akin to pain. Many think it's just about "not liking" loud noises, scratchy clothes etc, whereas in reality a loud banging noise can feel just as uncomfortable as a blow to the head.
I, too, struggled with sensory issues as a child, and my parents to this day don't believe me. They called me lazy, inattentive, sometimes even crazy. And I grew up believing them. I learned how to pretend to be normal, but it led to severe depression. It's only by the grace of a gifted psychologist that I didn't end my life, and I finally got the diagnosis I needed to make sense of my neural wiring. Two of my sons also struggle with SPD, and I try to keep my parents out of their lives, because they insist that I am an overpermissive mother. If they could only understand how PAINFUL the world is to us!
I was treated rather crappily by my family, at school and everywhere else. I recommand that you listen to a song by VNV nation that's called illusion. It sums it up very well.
I can relate to much of this but to a lesser extent probably due to being affected somewhat differently. What really gets my goat is this medical template that dictates that Aspie's cannot appreciate metaphors; sure I had problems as a child with my dad saying he was "going to see a man about a dog" when he was going for a beer but you know things do change. But getting back to the topic I personally hated having to write what was expected of me rather than what I felt as I could not see the point of it but that expectation was one that my parents had and probably influenced my abject dismay at having to keep a diary which I swiftly discarded. Actually I hated having to use the lathe at school not because I was afraid of machinery but due to the noises which filled my head and nobody really listened to me as I was to remain undiagnosed until I was 49.
Sensory processing issues are a trouble to me right now... I started my new job 5 month ago and they wantto renew my contract. The problem is : I m not sure I can do it. It always start nicely since I m prtetty much a model employee but little by little the noise is eating me and I find it more and more difficult to go to work. It has always been the case. If I put earplugs, I will feel isolated and if I don't will end up depressed and burnt out. The good thing about knowing that is that I know Im the one with The problem . So I have to cope instead of blowing up in anger the way my mom used to.But this is hard.I always feel like I have to keep a tight lid on myself and this is exhausting.
Lynne, your experiences mirror mine so much - thank you for writing this! I, too, was incredibly disconnected from my self, until well into adulthood. It wasn't until I began learning about the autism spectrum and received a diagnosis that I began piecing it together. It seems a bit crazy when I say I didn't know I had sensory issues, so I'm really glad you've written about it!
I had the same problem with noise when I was in school. I had my own way of dealing. I also played the clock game but my main method was the bathroom. I'd go hide there. If the noise (especially the buzz of the fluorescent lights that also burned my light sensitive eyes) became to much I'd ask to go to the bathroom. I'd sit down (on the floor often --- which looking back was probably not the cleanest but at the time I couldn't really focus enough to notice) and close my eyes and block my ears and try to center myself until I felt calm. Then I'd go back to class to try to endure more before escaping again. I had to limit my escapes obviously since to many bathroom trips looks like I'm goofing off (I wasn't diagnosed with anything at the time) but even a couple a day were tremendous reliefs.
The bathroom! Ah, yes, it has always been my escape even at home and for awhile, work. I developed migraines as a result of the stress, too, which was probably a godsend looking back because it also got me out of class and work when I was overwhelmed/in pain. I had chronic low blood sugar as well and was excused for snacks in a time when they didn't have "snack time" like schools do today. I still had a hard time fitting in, but at least I had an outlet for these overloads that made me seem more NT. I'm so sorry for what you had to go through. :(
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Lynne Soraya is the nom de plume for a writer with Asperger's Syndrome.
It can take a radical reboot to get past old hurts and injustices.