Transition for this SPD mommy is often the final straw that breaks my back. If you are a mummy with SPD kiddies you probably know all about transition but for those of you who are wondering – “What is this crazy woman talking about ?” Here is my mummy explanation.
Transition happens when you are moving or changing from one activity to another. It could be just changing an activity in the same location or it could involve changing location. Okay so now you are wondering ” what is the big deal ?”
Well try to imagine what it is like for a kiddies with SPD. I will use mine as examples. Imagine that when you go out your body absorbs and feels every sound, every sight, every touch (and for some every smell). Now also imagine that you can not habituate any of this (ie nothing fades into the background). So the entire time you are out you are listening to all the noises, every conversation, every background noise, every sight all its details are being absorbed every touch, how every items of clothing feels is constantly being felt, nothing goes into the background, everything stays intense. Wow even just typing that I feel exhausted for my two kiddies.
So if that is what you deal with when you are out and about now picture being somewhere where you are feeling happy, safe, secure, where someone is helping you deal with those sensory needs and then they announce – IT IS TIME FOR A CHANGE. Would you also maybe panick a bit ? I think I would.
So now all of this is happening and maybe you are still a young kid who is not able to fully understand how you are feeling and can not communicate it properly. What do you think might happen ? Hmm maybe a meltdown in the hallway as everyone is trying to get ready to go somewhere ?
This is fairly common for our household. It use to be something that my eldest really battled with but now that she is older and is better at understanding what is happening and expressing her needs she is much better (except for those periods when she is already totally overwhelmed as soon as she wakes up). Her little brother is not there yet. He has recently started Occupational Therapy, which is one of the things that really helped my daughter, and we are all trying to help him express his needs better, but he is just not at the point yet.
So often going out can be an issue. On those days when I know the activity we are going to will be enjoyed by all, I will often start getting ready early so he has time and I will stick to my guns and eventually get us all out. But there are days, days when I am not sure if the kids are going to enjoy the outing, days when I am sleep deprived and exhausted and just do not feel like facing the world of happy mummy’s and perfect kids. Days when I have given up and part way through trying to get out the door just changed my mind and declared it a stay at home day. Those days are often the days that I have ended up loving and probably will remember for years to come. Those days have often ended up with us curled up on the couch reading, or in the kitchen making a big mess baking or doing some fun craft or just the three of us out in the garden looking for bugs or watching the birds. Whatever it is, those days have ended up being full of love and laughter.
But how do you know ? How do you know when you should push through and when do you just give in ? I wish I could give a perfect answer here. For me it is a mum’s gut thing combined with how exhausted I am feeling that day and what the activity is.
What I do know, is it does get better. My daughter is an excellent example. Compared to where she was three years ago you would battle to believe she is the same child. Those three years have involved lots of meltdowns and me getting it wrong. But they have also included lots of love, understanding, flexibility and listening. My daughter knows that when she tells me it is time to leave – I listen to her. My daughter knows that when she comes up to me and asks if it is okay to stay home because her ears are sore with all the noise – I listen.
But I still have a younger child who is still getting there, who is still learning that I will protect him and remove him from an activity that is too much for his senses. He is still learning that big sister is the best person around to understand when it is too much and she will always alert me. He is still learning to communicate with me when things get too much without having a meltdown. And I am still learning that all the tricks that worked with big sister do not always work with him, I need to learn a few new tricks to help him. So in the mean time transition might be the straw that breaks this tired camel’s back on some days but on other days we will get it right.