This past month, I have been thinking of the progress Danny has made. For any of you who don't know our story, Danny was diagnosed with SPD 4 years ago when he was 2 years old. Since then, he has been receiving Occupational Therapy, along with other services like Speech Therapy.
A couple of weeks ago, I took Danny and Charlotte to a candy hunt at a nearby park. It was completely dark, with just the light of some flashlights to guide us. We had a great time, and as we traversed the park full of kids and their parents, I realized that a year or two ago, I would have never taken Danny on such an excursion. I would have been too unsure how he would handle it.
In the past, we have avoided so many social activities, especially those that involved big groups of people or lots of noise. In those settings, Danny has a tendency to get overstimulated, which often means he acts really hyper and sometimes aggressive. He used to sometimes even have seriously horrible sensory meltdowns, which nothing seemed to ease. Thankfully, those have completely disappeared.
So many situations that Danny found almost impossible to endure a couple of years ago are now completely manageable. He has no problem going on multiple errands with me and rarely gives me any grief when we have to leave a fun place. Years ago, I used to dread going to the park because I knew leaving would result in horrendous screaming and kicking and flailing of limbs. He no longer seems to need picture charts and countdowns of how many minutes before we leave, etc. Danny's speech has improved tremendously and continues to do so. He is doing really well at school and his music teacher just told us this week that Danny is one of her favorite children. He is excelling in her class, which is another miracle. In the past, music used to be a wild card; we never quite knew what effect it would have on him, but it was often a negative one. Now, not so much, though he still seems to have a limit as to how much music he can listen to in one sitting.
He still has SPD, of course. I don't actually think kids are cured of this disorder, but it is definitely getting under control, which is something I never really believed could happen. It just seemed so difficult and his challenges too insurmountable to fix.
So, this is my SPD Awareness Month message: there is hope. It does get better! It really does. Not overnight. No, definitely not overnight. It will take a lot of time, numberless prayers, and levels of patience that will probably qualify you for canonization. It will take so much work, so many appointments with therapists and professionals. It will take amazing amounts of creativity and research, but in the years to come, you will see results that will have made it all worth it. So, hang in there and keep working. You are not alone.