Usually, people think of autism when the topic of SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) comes up. While it’s almost exclusively tied to that neurodivergence, anyone can have it. I have the auditory version, just like many other dyslexics.
Sometimes, it keeps me up at night, since I can hear every noise outside my bedroom. Our air purifier helps a little, but unless I’m already exhausted, there’s not much I can do. Ear plugs are uncomfortable and I highly doubt noise mufflers used by lawn care and shop workers would let me sleep.
During the day, I can usually handle it. Sure, I’ll cringe at certain noises, like sirens, loud car engines and bus alert tones, but they won’t send me into overload.
This Has Been a Rough Week
While I was trying to do homework on Sunday, our neighbor decided to do yard work with a ridiculously loud lawnmower (which caught on fire at one point) and weed-wacker for, oh, FOUR HOURS. During this time, there was a car crash on a nearby road, which sent no fewer than three helicopters flying over our house, plus a small airplane decided to fly low over our neighborhood.
At work on Wednesday, while I was trying to put stock away from our weekly truck, a crew was installing some new machine in the department I was working in. The drills were terrible.
Both days ended with extreme irritation and a raging headache. While it was happening, I had a hard time restraining the anger that always comes with the unintentional assaults.
It’s also exhausting. When I finally finished my last shift of the week yesterday, I was functionally nonverbal. My brain just up and gave up on processing expressive language. Between the attacks on my senses and the general stress that comes with the recent changes in my life, it’s little wonder I had to crawl into a corner for a while in order to survive my last class of the week.
Today, I’m struggling to focus on getting enough homework done that I can take it easier than I have been this weekend. I’ll still have a few chores to do, and hopefully a bunch of blog entries scheduled, but overall, I plan on chilling right out.
For the most part, my neurodivergence is a true gift. It helps me see the world through a unique lens and encourages empathy for those who struggle, but it can still be disabling.
Let’s Think About It
I ask you to read over my experiences this week and realize that I’m a fully grown adult with relatively mild SPD. Now, imagine what it’s like for a child who is still learning how to cope and whose SPD is much worse. Their communication skills are still developing, and they’re still learning about this type of neurodivergence, so they can’t communicate what’s wrong.
I ask you to keep this in mind when you hear about meltdowns or witness one in public. The child is suffering.
Meltdowns are different from tantrums, so I’ll bring back an infographic I made a while ago.
I’m a firm believer in the idea that nothing is purely good or purely bad. As frustrating as SPD can be, it’s also saved me from being taken by surprise by people on the street. It does have its uses, but it can definitely provide setbacks.
When it comes to kids, though, it’s a huge issue that must be dealt with. Judgement from strangers helps no one. Instead, give them the benefit of the doubt.