Having a kid with sensory processing dysfunction presents a variety of problems, even if his issues are relatively minor. When we face new challenges in life, I have to consider how much of this is something to just push through, and how much of his behavior has to do with sensory processing. It’s a tricky balance that I push toward the side of his just being stubborn and not liking change. Sometimes we are able to push it, other times, I realize that pushing further= traumatizing my kid. When the situation can’t be avoided (having to go into stores that have sensors in what they sell, and alarm panels at the doors), you learn coping strategies. For years, the thought and sight of those dreaded alarm panels would set my kid off and he refused to go into a store. All it took was one time of walking through them and having an alarm, unexpectedly and loudly, go off. I would have to carry him into and out of the store. These days, he just runs through the doorway, hoping they don’t go off. And he lets me, with the cart full, go through them before he runs through them. He is coping.
Most recently, the issue was trying to get my son to take an antibiotic. We conquered one antibiotic by having it in liquid form, plugging the nose when taking it, and following it with a chaser of grape juice (because that flavor in particular is great at masking other flavors). Those coping skills were developed with a bit of trial and error, and a chat with the local pharmacist. When my little guy’s sinus infection wasn’t completely resolved, after a few weeks on antibiotic #1, the doc prescribed antibiotic #2. When we picked up the new meds, the liquid was very thick and a little bit chunky, with a horribly foul medicinal smell. For a fellow who has a strong gag reflex and a very strong sense of smell, trying to “drink” this new sludge was a no-go. I mixed in grape juice and had him plug his nose. Still a no-go. I figured that teaching him to swallow a pill would be much easier than dealing with this “liquid.” We had to call the doctor’s office to get a new prescription for the meds in a pill form. (This was after having to go in to the office for a follow up visit, where they prescribed meds #2 in the first place). We finally got the pills, and trying every trick in the book that the best of moms, docs, and pharmacists could come up with, didn’t help my little guy to swallow a pill. They were a no-go. I reached the point of, “I will not traumatize my kid further.” What to do. Simple. The first meds were working, albeit slowly, and the kid could take them, so we got a new prescription for more of antibiotic #1. You do what you have to do for your child; you advocate for him. And it is often a balancing act.