Life After NICU

Sensory vs. Personality, Helping James Learn to Navigate His World

We each have a unique perspective on the world around us. That’s part of what makes our world so interesting. We can look at the same thing, but what you see may be completely different from what I see. Thank goodness for those differences. If we didn’t have them it would be a very robotic existence with few surprises. And, I like surprises. Lucky for me James provides lots of them.

I was definitely surprised when he used his nose to activate the touch screen on his vision therapist’s iPad. He did it over and over, very purposefully, and then went on to play his keyboard with his nose. I don’t want to change that. He can use his hands, just chose not to. Those are the kinds of things I love about James.

I was also surprised when he put the paint end of the paintbrush in his mouth over and over, again very purposefully. Food no, but paint yes. He has been mouthing everything the last couple months. Lots of exploring, until it’s a piece of food. It’s heartbreaking when I can see that he wants to eat a particular food, but he can’t bring himself to touch it or put it in his mouth. I would like to change that.

It can be difficult for him to touch the playdough but he tries!

It can be difficult for him to touch the playdough but he tries!

James has some difficulty in the way he processes the world around him. He struggles with sensory input. Sometimes it’s sound. He gets overwhelmed when too many sounds happen at the same time. He doesn’t like conversation while he’s watching a show or listening to music. It is too much for him to process. Sometimes it’s touch. He doesn’t like the way some things feel, a toy, the leaves on the ground, food. Touching a piece of bread can make him gag. Sometimes it’s movement, but this he craves. He moves constantly, his legs, arms, his whole body. He loves to be upside down, especially if there are credits running on television. These are all parts of James, but these things can make it more difficult for him to get through each day. These are the things we work on.

The backpack gives him just enough weight to help calm him from constant running.

The backpack gives him just enough weight to help calm him from constant running.

James has a great OT who does lots of sensory work with him, and we try to do things every day to help. His “sensory diet” is always changing as we figure out what works for him. We play in rice and beans, we finger paint, play with dough, swing. We do lots of movement and dancing. James recently tried wearing a weighted backpack. It definitely seems to help when he’s out of sorts, brings him back to a calmer place.

He has so many little things that we try to figure out. Are they sensory issues, a touch of OCD, or just James being James? I remember talking with a mom when I worked for ECI, about her son’s sensory issues. She was hesitant to address them. I didn’t get it then, but I completely get it now. I want to help James be able to navigate his world a little easier. I want the world to feel a little friendlier to him, but I want to do that without taking away the things that make him James. I love his quirks. They help make him the fascinating little boy he is, and they definitely make my world a lot more interesting.

He loves to chase and be chased!

He loves to chase and be chased!

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One thought on “Sensory vs. Personality, Helping James Learn to Navigate His World

  1. Pingback: Sensory Processing Challenges, Our Journey Continues | 22w6d

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