I wanted to take a minute and explain a bit about the “sensory issues” or Sensory Processing Disorder I always refer to in this blog. Basically, a great way to think about this is remembering the story of The Princess and The Pea. If you recall the princess was able to feel the pea through all of the mattresses when no one else could. It’s very much the same way for Emmett, accept with his clothes. Emmett is EXTREMELY sensitive to the way clothes feel on his skin. Again, this is why in most of the pictures and videos he isn’t wearing many.
While Emmett struggles with the feeling of clothes on his skin in general, he struggles the most with his shoes and socks. To him, not only are they uncomfortable but they actually hurt. This is a difficult concept for most people to grasp because it’s not the way they experience these things. After all, how can socks hurt…right? I realize that it seems bizarre but it has to do with the way his body interprets touch. Typically what’s suppose happen is that the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioral responses. In the case of Emmett, with Sensory Processing Disorder these sensory signals don’t get organized into appropriate responses. Hence the over-sensitivity to pain and or discomfort.
With ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) kids this is very common. Sensory Processing Disorder can affect how they interpret sights, sounds and even smells. Life for these kids is difficult but many time OT (Occupational Therapy) can help these kids to better manage these challenges. Emmett derives much benefit from OT and goes twice a week. We still have a VERY long way to go but baby steps. I just wanted to share a bit more insight on this often misunderstood condition.
In this video you can witness Emmett experience….distress…really. He is struggling because of the way his socks and shoes feel. We often times brush him in an attempt to reduce this discomfort prior to putting his socks on but it usually doesn’t work. We are going to try seamless socks when we have the money as they are pretty expensive. We tried them with Gavin and he really liked them.
We go through this with Emmett almost every single time we try to get him dressed. It will sometimes take an extra 30 minutes or more to get him through this. So you can imagine how challenging that can be.