Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sensory Processing Disorder Super Powers!

Sensory Processing Disorder presents some challenges, no doubt about it. As with most challenges, an appropriate sprinkle of humor certainly helps.

Like many people with Sensory Processing Disorder, I have a keen sense of smell. This is often worded on checklists as "Is overly sensitive to smells." or "Is bothered more than others by odors." I prefer "Has a very keen sense of smell!". A few weeks ago, I was walking out of an appointment with a friend and I said, "What's that smell?" He said "What smell?" But I was already marching forward, making a beeline for That Smell. It led me to Dante's Restaurant in Great Falls, Virginia, where we proceeded to have an excellent meal. I find many good things to eat this way. Another friend says that I'm the best smellin' woman he's ever met. It's not that I smell good, it's that I smell fact, I smell spectacularly! Just one of my many SPD Super Powers!

We have to meet the challenges of SPD (I smell yucky things really well, too). Let's also celebrate the good! Do you have Sensory Super Powers or know someone who does? Tell us!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Lee Lee Maggie Troubles...

Growing up in the 1960 and early 1970s, I didn't have Sensory Processing Disorder. There was no such thing. And I certainly wasn't autistic. Almost everyone knew that autistic kids were retarded. At least almost everyone in the part of Appalachia where I grew up knew that. I was weird, but I was certainly was not dumb. 

Sensory Processing Disorder is still not a separate diagnosis in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM), although some experts insist that it should be. Other experts believe that sensory processing differences are symptoms or features of other diagnoses and not a stand-alone disorder. However, the fact that vast sensory processing differences exist among humans is now widely acknowledged. And now many people realize that autistic people can be anywhere on the intelligence spectrum. And most people know that "retarded" isn't a nice thing to call people. Just ask the Black Eyed Peas.

I hated amusement parks...the bright lights, crowds, smells, and noises sent me quickly into meltdown mode.

I loved to eat bland, smooth mashed potatoes. Me: "Pass the mashed potatoes please." My dad: "Now Lisa, you know if you eat any more mashed potatoes your tummy will hurt." Me: "That's ok. It already does."
I loved going to bed because the sheets were so cool and smooth as I moved my foot back and forth doing what is now called "stimming". My sister, with whom I shared a bedroom: "Stop making that rubbing noise with your foot!"
I was teased by my family because I knew there was a very logical place for almost everything in the house. My brother: "Where did you put the salt?" Me (thinking I was clearly answering the question): "Where it belongs."
My six siblings thought it was funny that I was extremely ticklish. I assure you, they laughed much harder when they tickled me than I did.

I was very serious...about almost everything. From birth, life was a serious proposition to me. I was able to find my second grade school picture. I still remember them saying "Smile!" and me thinking "I am smiling. I must be doing it wrong."
These are a few of the many reasons that by the time I was six years old I had earned the nickname "Lee Lee Maggie Troubles".

I wonder about other adults who grew up this way. With SPD before there was SPD. With autism when kids with autism were retarded. Are you one of those kids who is now an adult? Did you know one of those kids? Let's hear it for (and from) the other kids with troubles who are now "all grown up". This blog's for you and the kids with SPD and with autism who will one day be "all grown up" and the people who love, care for, and try to understand us.