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I Love My 9-Year-Old With ADHD and SPD

I love my 9-year-old son so much it hurts.

I love my son so much I would do anything and everything for him.

I love him so much it burns me to the core to see other people not understand him and his differences.

I cannot count the number of times he has forgotten to do something I just told him to do.

I cannot count the number of times I have removed tags from his clothes, or adjusted the temperature of our car so he doesn’t get car sick.

I cannot count the number of times I have apologized to strangers, trying to explain why he just ran through them to get away from a loud audio speaker or a weird smell in the food court of some shopping mall.

My son has a combination of attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) and sensory processing disorder (SPD). Most people know what ADHD is. Seldom do I find someone who knows of SPD.

There is a lot of data and information on SPD out there, but the short description is that my son is mentally and emotionally overwhelmed by some senses. Others, he requires much more sensory input than typical.

He is getting better. For example, he no longer needs to wear noise suppressing headphones to block out the applause while attending an assembly at school. He is trying new foods, regardless of texture, and he loves music.

However, the challenges are still there.

While he does love music, it is too much to take if someone sings along with a song on the radio or if he is in a room with a lot of people and there are many different conversations going on at the same time. It is almost as though he cannot separate and ignore all the other conversations than the one he is part of. To me, that sounds like quite the assault on the senses.

The temperature of the car still needs to be “baby bear.” It must be “just right” otherwise, the jacket comes off and the risk of needing a plastic bag and a quick stop on the side of the road is inevitable.

Smells still bother him to the point he will let you know exactly what it smells like to him… quick FYI, most things smell like poop.

I love my 9-year-old son so much it makes me excited to know what I know.

Looking back at my childhood, I see so much of my son. In the late 70s’, the concept of sensory processing disorder was non existent, and yet I remember a trip to a restaurant with a show that was seemingly so loud I was brought to tears. In the late 70s’, ADHD meant you were just acting up and needed to be straightened out with a trip to the principal’s office and “the strap” across your hand as a physical reminder to pay attention, stay focused and do not play around.

The part that makes me excited is the fact that I got over my sensory issues. I am still a “picky” eater, if I must be fully transparent, but knowing that I went through some of the same things he did, means if he truly is a lot like me, he will learn to cope.

This kid is going places; he is a math wizard and has been working with negative numbers and multiplication/division for over three years now. He loves to construct ridiculously grandiose projects out of his Lego collection, and most recently showed me the correct line of play and which cards to use to win a game of Pokémon I was playing, and I had just paused to try to figure out what he casually told me seconds after my turn had started.

I cannot count the number of times his compassion for others (including his sisters) has surprised his mother and I, even though he has been this way his whole life, and I doubt that this part of him will ever change.

I cannot count the number of times I have stood back and been so proud of this little man who has brought me such joy.

I cannot count the number of times he has made me smile just by being himself.

I love my 9-year-old son so much, all it takes to make my day is his bright smile and infectious laughter.

I love my son so much, he continually asks me to stop hugging him so much.

I love him so much.

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