There are two things not to say to a parent of a child with sensory processing disorder or any other invisible issue that doesn’t manifest in a way that can be seen “physically”…
“He looks fine, though” & “so when will he get better?”
Both have been said to me recently. Both were well meant but felt like a slap in the face, when I was least expecting it.
My son has SPD. Sensory Processing Disorder. His brain works a bit differently to yours or mine. He copes with life situations in ways other people don’t have to. He is fiercely intelligent and incredibly talented, and he will live a long and successful life. However right now and as he grows up he is learning to process the things his brain tells him and that means he needs our help. He may look normal and to a greater extent he is a normal and healthy little boy, but sometimes he just can’t manage and we adapt our life and stand fiercely by his side to help with that.
He will not “get better” because he isn’t broken. He’s not damaged or defective. He just processes certain things differently and sometimes that’s a lot harder for him because he’s a child and he’s learning to live life as it comes at him. He will do all the things other people do, he will just manage certain things in his own way, he is unique and doesn’t need fixing.
We parent differently. It’s what works for him and us. That doesn’t sit well with everyone around us but to be honest, I don’t care any more. If you don’t live in our life, get up in the night to deal with a child who has night terrors, if you don’t walk in our shoes when we face things that are harder than you may find them, if you don’t understand and don’t want to, that’s fine. He’s not your kid!
Tomorrow I will watch him walk into a hall with strangers to dance his heart out for a ballet exam at the Royal Academy of Dance in London, and this week his dance teacher has already said “we need to talk about what he wants to do, and his future” because yes, he has SPD and that won’t go away, but he also is going to fly and make his mark and whilst we don’t know what his future holds, I know this stage of our life will pass and we will have fought hard for him and helped him to get where he needs to be, and I will not be quiet anymore about our life to appease those who only want picture perfect or can’t see beyond a narrow standard.
He is not broken, he doesn’t need to “get better” and when a parent with a child tells you they have issues, just because they look fine and you can’t see something wrong, that doesn’t mean it’s not there.
Maybe one day I’ll watch my son dance on the stage.
Maybe one day, people will get it and understand.
#whatyoudontsee #thisisourlife #heisoursandheisperfect #notbroken