First, someone said my son is hyperactive. The term ADHD was tossed around (really? at two years old?). Our parenting techniques were judged. Then the boy's teachers remarked on his increasing aggressiveness, and we certainly noticed it too so we banned the phrase "Star Wars" from our house.
Then, after a month of hell in his new preschool class, the head teacher had a long talk with us and mentioned words like sensory processing issues, spectrum, and diagnosis. It's a Christian school and I asked her to pray for me. I continued praying and waiting for God to show me what to do.
This morning, my husband and I got the results of a sensory processing disorder (SPD) test that we took our son to last week, and oh boy is it positive (pun intended). It's also apparently a growing trend (it's commonly first detected in three to four year olds), and is often misdiagnosed and unnecessarily medicated.
What is SPD? Think of your senses as buckets. If you get too much in one bucket, you feel overloaded, and if you don't get enough in another bucket you do your best to fill it whatever way you can. Most people can filter sensory information with no problem, but others have bigger buckets for some senses (they want more) and smaller buckets for others (they get overloaded fast).
Our son has sensory over-responsivity (SOR), and to a lesser extent sensory seeking/craving (SC). With SOR, he gets overwhelmed fast by sensory stimulation (loud noises, unfamiliar situations, etc.), and it triggers a fight response - like a tiger cub (he has red hair so it's pretty fitting). With SC, he craves jumping around and touching everything and everyone (I called him a space invader).
The diagnosis found, our next step is weekly occupational therapy which we start tomorrow. It happens to be just a few blocks away from home.
We're still questioning whether a different school like Montessori could be a better fit, but right now the therapy is more important. He needs help getting confidence and strength in these areas so he can handle transitions and unfamiliar situations, so we're going to do the therapy for at least a month before we consider moving him to another school (another huge transition).
If information is power, I finally don't feel so weak.