My daughter is nearly 16 and we’ve known she has sensory processing disorder (SPD) since she was nine. There were numerous calls from the school due to incidents until home school began, occupational therapy, counseling, and tons of work and frustration (for everyone). Today she is able to function well, most days being pretty normal.
Then came driver education.
She could have taken it last summer, but we decided to wait for a few reasons. DH took her driving in a parking lot last weekend to break the ice. The first class was Monday. It’s a small class and two other girls are home schooled as well. She was deep in conversation with a young lady when I left. Great start!
When she came out at the end of class and I saw her face, my spirit fell. I know that face. Once in the car heading home the tears silently started to roll down her cheeks. We chatted and the next day after that got a bit better.
Then yesterday she was to drive for the first time. I came to pick her up and she hadn’t left the parking space. Her driving partner is a wonderful, encouraging young lady. There’s no question that God brought her to the same class for my daughter. The teacher was wonderful: patient, not upset, going over things which could be covered in a parked car. The other young lady had driven first, so she didn’t miss her turn.
Today was just driving, no class, so we left a bit early and went to a large church parking lot. She drove up and down the empty rows for twenty or thirty minutes, then we went to class. Thank Heaven she drove with her teacher today! On the streets and everything!
Living with a child who has SPD is tough. Don’t ever down play what parents of SPD go through. We want our kids to be able to forget they’ve ever heard of SPD and be able to do what everyone else does, and some days they can. My daughter will never be rid of SPD. It is her companion for life and will flare up when she least wants it to.
SPD makes her feel as if she “can’t do anything right”, and strips away any shred of self confidence. It can take her from the top of the world to the depths of a pit.
I told her today that SPD is like a beast and she needs to whip it (figuratively, of course) and make it understand that she is the master. The beast is not in control, she is. (I hope.)
I wish she didn’t have to fight this daily battle, but she does. I need to be there to pick her up when the Beast has knocked her down. I need to cheer her on and help to believe in herself when the Beast is roaring in her ear that she can’t do anything. The Beast wears me out as much as it does my daughter.