Imagine you are deep in a forest on a hike. You round a bend in the trail and come face to face with a wall of fire. For a moment you panic and freeze. Your hypothalamus activates your sympathetic nervous system and the adrenal-cortical system and the little voice in your head yells “RUN!” You turn on your heels and run like Florence Griffith-Joyner and hightail it to safety. After reaching higher ground your adrenaline gradually drops off and you collapse. Your body literally gives out on you.
Now imagine this feeling happens every day. Only you are not running from a fire, you are answering a question in class or learning a new routine. Take a minute and imagine what the peak and dissipation of adrenaline does to the body over time. Now imagine that people don’t understand how stressful every day routines are and they expect you to recover without time to rest. Missing the day after a test due to exhaustion puts you behind in the new work. Laying a wake worrying about how the new seating set up will feel, leaves you unready to function in school the next day.
This is what life is often like if you live with Sensory Processing Disorder, and anxiety.
So What Can You Do To Support Anxious and SPD kids?
If you are like me, writing these words is heavy work. I can’t even begin to imagine what it is like to live them day in and day out.
As parents, my husband and I have learned to balance society’s expectations for children with our own daughter’s needs. We keep our house on a very strict routine. We have a very structured routine before and after school that keeps anxiety low in our house. Any changes are mapped out in advance and notice is given ahead of schedule. We are gradually being able to become more flexible as our daughter is being taught how to be a less rigid thinker.
Bedtime during the school year is not negotiable. The kids are in bed at 7:30 pm because they both require a tremendous amount of sleep. If for any reason, we have to keep them out later during the week, we will make up the time by letting them sleep in.
Still, with all that prep, 5 days into Kindergarten, the stress took its toll and resulted in a full blown illness. We have been struggling with her getting sick before or after every major event. So we did what we always do, call our pediatrician. She suggested Vitamin C and Zinc. After speaking with her, I did some research on Zinc and found out that people who have digestive disorders tend to struggle getting the required about Zinc for their bodies.
So we gave it a try. It has been so helpful! At the first sign of a sniffle, we give our daughter Zinc and continue the routine for 10 days. I can’t get over what a difference it has made. Colds that used to linger for months (not exaggerating), eventually becoming sinus infections, clear up within days. Zinc is a lifesaver.
So the moral of this story is you need to know your child. You need to understand how life stresses them out and how to help them manage it. As always, I suggest to seek out help. No one expects you to be brilliant and all knowing just because you gave birth to a child. There are people who’s vast knowledge can make the difference in your life. You just need to seek them out.
Oh, and I highly suggest going out and purchasing Zinc. People are germy and you don’t want to miss out on life!
Want to learn more about a woman overcame tremendous adversity to live an incredible life? Order your copy of Blazing A Trail: The Story of Minna Anthony Common today!