Most days start with a struggle to wake up DD. Having disorders that affect her energy levels and battling with sleep difficulties, it is often hard to wake her in the mornings – though once this is achieved the real struggle begins….
When settled at the dining table we have to go through a ritual; 5 boxes of cereals are lined up on the table regimental style, DD has to choose which one she wants, which can take anything from 2 minutes to 10! Then we have the milk….is it being poured into the jug first or straight on to the chosen cereal, if we mistakenly do either before checking with DD it is inevitably the wrong decision! So we then have crying for at least 10 minutes while DD gets over this error of ours, only for her to decide everything is OK after all.
At this point one might hope that breakfast will now duly be eaten but no…DD usually sits there (dreaming) for a good 20 minutes before she decides to eat and then Oh! No! The cereal is soggy! Cue another 10 minute cry after which another bowl of cereal, and a stern warning to eat or go hungry. Not that the stern warning makes much difference, in DD’s world things have to be ‘just so’ and she is unable to accept the tiniest of changes easily, unless they are instigated by herself – hence the ritualistic procedure every morning, though spattered with differences according to how DD wants things to be that particular day.
Then of course there is the…’it is time to get washed and dressed now’ and does this cause some problems! DD doesn’t want to do this, cannot have a wash as she has a ‘poorly’ on her hand (it must not get wet) we are not at all sure what the consequences of this would be but according to DD it just MUST not happen!
Then we have the getting dressed, an accomplishment in itself….no matter how cold the weather our DD will only wear a summer dress and socks, no winter warmers for her – a short lightweight jacket (we could stock a shop with the number of coats we have bought and none see daylight) it is the old faithful or nothing. So here we are, wrapped up in seven layers of winter woollies and there is DD, no hat, scarf or gloves, just a summer dress and socks and we are walking to school through the snow! I am sure that some people we meet on the way must think we are pretty negligent – that is the very nature so the so-called ‘silent’ disabilities, others just don’t ‘see’ them, and this can make life pretty difficult for us carers at times!
Sensory difficulties are one such disorder, we have to cut out labels, socks have to ‘fit’ just so or they will be removed and another pair will have to be tried. This can take several attempts. Hair brushing is a big no no, we just about manage to get by without DD looking too much like the latest ‘bad hair day’ model and food, well, don’t get me started – separate plates for each food type? Yes! I remember that well, though we have now progressed to using one plate (mostly) but no one food type must touch another, and as for texture – many foods will not be tolerated purely because of their texture, though colour also plays a part and smell, the list goes on…
It may seem to others that if your child displays this types of behaviours that they are just ‘spoilt’ or ‘fussy’ – not so. When someone has sensory processing issues their senses can easily become over-whelmed; what may seem like a small thing to us, and others, is huge for the person whose sensory system does not function as it should.
Here I have given you a very brief and somewhat abbreviated version of events that take place in our house every morning. Please feel free to comment , especially if you identify with any of it!