Thursday, October 30, 2014

Slow Motion Mothering

I am a fast moving kind of a gal.

I like to go, go, go and get things done, done, done.

I like making lists and checking things off.

I guess it would be safe to say that I am most happy when I am moving.

But this fast moving, freewheeling, on-the-go lifestyle is not very conductive to raising children diagnosed with things like sensory processing disorder and poor motor planning issues.

In fact, I have discovered, somewhat reluctantly, that raising my children is all about learning how to slow things down, way down. It is a painful life lesson often delivered to me with blunt force trauma to the brain.

But applying the brakes has never come easy for me.  For a long time, I resisted this notion of slow motion mothering. I continued to run faster than a speeding bullet, slowing my pace only slightly as I dragged my overwhelmed children from one chaotic event to another.

I was surprised, even angry, when my children began to scream and cry.

I thought at first, that the trouble was them.

What I have learned most recently..... is that the trouble is me.

As many of you know, Nicholas has been diagnosed with Prader Willi Syndrome. Many individuals diagnosed with this disorder are also diagnosed with dyspraxia.

Dyspraxia is a developmental coordination disorder that causes weakness in comprehension, information processing and listening.
It is a disruption in the way messages from the brain are transmitted to the body.
Often children diagnosed with dyspraxia also have issues related to the processing of sensory information. 
Too much sight, sound, smell, touch or taste information delivered too fast to the body overwhelms the brain resulting in emotional overload.

What I have learned is......this behavior is not telling me ...."I want to be defiant"

It is telling me.........."I'm overwhelmed"

Slowing things down and minimizing the amount of sensory input is crucial to enabling my son to be successful in this world. It enables him to enjoy loud events, boisterous activities and large crowds.

As a mother of a child diagnosed with this condition it is my responsibility to slowly build Nick's sensory endurance. Introducing events and new experiences slowly, building each time in intensity so that he can finally begin to function and relate better to our fast-moving world. This is a necessity if he is ever going to be able to live on his own, go to school or secure a job.

And so it is with much difficulty that I am learning how to slow down the eager speed demon.

Now if I can just get the rest of the world to understand this important lesson.

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Lisa Peters writes more about family life at