Sensory Processing Disorder
● By Digital Media Director
By: Jessica Brovold ‘Hood Magazine
Brinley is five years old and looks like most children her age. But when you spend some time around her, chances are you’ll realize something is different.
It started with her speech. When she wasn’t talking normal, a hearing test was ordered and it was discovered Brinley had a 40 percent hearing loss in both ears. From there, other issues started to show up.
“At age three, we started realizing there were issues with her behavior,” said Jodi, Brinley’s mom. “While other kids her age were starting to settle down, she wouldn’t stop having fits, screaming and just not being able to settle herself down.”
Jodi and her husband Travis adopted Brinley and her younger brother Mason. When they noticed the behavior concerns with Brinley, they felt defeated until they were able to find help.
“We went to a religious conference in Okoboji,” said Jodi. “There was a ministry called ‘Connected Families.’ An occupational therapist was there and talked to us and asked about what was happening and how she could get help. She recommended having her tested and working with an occupational therapist.”
While the recommendation seemed odd to Jodi and Travis, they decided to give it a try to see if they could find some answers.
“I got emotional because for the first time someone knew exactly what I was going through,” said Jodi. “All of a sudden I saw hope, and what a great glimmer that is. She referred me to LifeScape and that’s when I called them and got in. We did testing and Brinley was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder.”
Sensory processing disorder can present itself in several different ways. For Brinley, she struggles with having her hair touched, and over stimulation. Her parents now pay close attention to the environments they are in and how Brinley responds.
“When she’s in a busy setting, or a bigger place with loud noise she immediately goes from a one to a nine,” said Jodi. “When she’s overstimulated, it gets worse. We have to pay attention to how she’s doing. She’s now able to recognize when she needs something to help herself calm down.”
Experts say at least one in 20 people in the general population may be affected by sensory processing disorder. While there is no exact cause, Jodi hopes by sharing her story, others will know there is help to manage the condition.
“Everybody has mom guilt and you want your child to be like everyone else and that’s just not doable because we are all made differently,” said Jodi. “It’s huge that we can work on this and it’s so important that we have someone else encouraging us. It’s a parallel to everything.”
For other parents who find themselves in a similar situation, Jodi has this advice:
“Seek out help. Know that it’s ok to have something wrong. We are in a world where there’s focus on having everything perfect. It’s ok to have different feelings and you can seek help and you’ll be so much better because of it. We as parents think we’ve got this, or what’s wrong with me if I cannot control something in my house. It’s a freeing thing to say hey, I need help!”