Jacquelyn’s Story is a series of posts about my daughter who has a neuro-behavioral disorder. You can find the beginning of the series here.
As we approached Jacquelyn’s first year of grade school, I continued to expose her to noises like public toilets and loud, playful children to help prepare her for what was to come. It was then that a neighbor and close friend of mine who spent a lot of time with Jacquelyn handed me a book called Megan’s World: The Story of One Girl’s Triumph Over Sensory Processing Disorder . As fate would have it, my friend’s nephew has sensory processing disorder. After recognizing some of those same issues in Jacquelyn, she purchased this book for us. While I had researched and read all about SPD, Jacquelyn didn’t neatly fit into any category or diagnosis. This book changed all that for us! The little girl in this true story was exactly like Jacquelyn… it was like reading Jacquelyn’s story nearly word for word. The book was written for kids and adults alike and explains simply what SPD can feel like for someone who suffers from it. It also details all the therapies and options available to reduce or even eliminate the behavioral symptoms that accompany the disorder. By the end of the book, Meghan has triumphed over her SPD. As Jacquelyn and I read the book together, she marveled at the little girl who felt just like her.
Despite my realization that Jacquelyn DID fit into the SPD mold, I wasn’t ready to pull the trigger on all these therapies. She had improved so much through the years that I wasn’t sure she could still benefit from time consuming and expensive interventions. It took her starting Kindergarten to realize she desperately needed some sort of help that I couldn’t provide. While she met or exceeded her academic goals, Jacquelyn’s anxiety sky-rocketed halfway through the school year when a student teacher took over the class. Changes in routine and the level of chatter in class made life very difficult for Jacquelyn. Her kindergarten teacher was hand-picked for her based on her needs and now a new person was running the class. Combine that with “loud” P.E. and art classes, and she just couldn’t handle it. She began to withdraw and experience physical pain from all the stress. She had trouble walking up stairs or even raising her arms in the air. She had turned into a little ball of tension who kept her head down and spoke very little. After many tears and sleepless nights, I made a phone call to her pediatrician to get her referred to a therapy facility for evaluation and set up an appointment at school to discuss her anxiety level. Regardless of my painstaking dedication to helping Jacquelyn interpret her world, I had to admit to myself that she was, after all, a child with a special need who would require professional help.
It didn’t take long for Jacquelyn to receive a diagnosis of motor delay disorder and multiple sensory processing disorder. We were on our way to a very different Jacquelyn…
Read Part 5 of Jacquelyn’s Story here.