Having cerebral palsy and sensory issues combined, means there are days where I struggle. I have the usual stresses made all the more difficult because of combined sensory issues.
I shall explain in more detail how Sensory Processing Disorder ‘SPD’ interferes with everyday issues, which those around me find non-challenging every day issues. We all know about the five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. My SPD affects four of those senses. The wiring of an SPD brain is different. These disorders are non-negotiable and don’t present in the same way for everyone.
The best description I have read is by occupational therapist, A. Jean Ayres PhD, (Source: http://www.otlondon.com) who likens SPD to a ‘neurological traffic jam’ in which certain parts of the brain don’t receive the information needed to correctly interpret sensory information. For anyone who has SPD, if challenges aren’t dealt with or met swiftly, it may cause panic.
With SPD we’re constantly using our senses and where those senses happen simultaneously, all of which are vying for our attention, it’s easy to feel irritable or emotional, particularly when we have too many sensory processing issues to deal with. SPD co-exists alongside most or all of my senses, therefore it’s easy for those senses to become automatically heightened.
Any SPD issue will challenge an emotional response. In my own case, it’s a response of irritation and panic as my thoughts and senses begin to spiral out of control and issues begin to feel out of my depth. Unless someone knows me well, it’s not easy for others to understand how I present.
For those like myself with SPD, we’re seen as awkward and irrational, making a ‘mountain out of a molehill’ on some of our issues, when in reality we play hostage to issues that need addressing when they arise and can’t rest until those issues have been addressed and mentally cleared.
Those who don’t have the condition have very little understanding of the disorder, but may still sometimes go on to form opinions. In the meantime, we must cover all angles just to get through the day and to avoid mental illness. It’s a balancing act, not always easily achieved. I have to plan ahead, things have to be just right, or I struggle with anxiety.
All the details relating to any issue I have, highlighted by SPD, must be cleared up when they arise, so that I can begin to feel comfortable again, to avoid feeling panicked.