A random collection of incidents at school and at home, my own natural curiosity, a book recommendation from a friend and a topping of maternal instincts.
I’ve spent a significant amount of my time over the last 8 weeks or so thinking back on 6 years of Tommy. There are so many things that we didn’t think a whole lot of as we encountered them over the years. We hadn’t really ever stopped and put them all together.
Tommy is always on the go. He is an energetic boy.
Tommy often struggles with seeing a task through to completion.
Tommy is a sensitive boy. He cries easily when his feeling are hurt.
Tommy is encourageable. When a leader is present in a group of peers, he follows.
Tommy can be impulsive.
Tommy is hard to keep quiet. It seems as if there’s always something going on in his mouth.
Tommy does best when he knows what to expect.
That’s just the way our Tommy is.
For quite a while, I thought it was me. OK…not all of it…but I certainly thought that I was doing something wrong. I thought that surely I should be able to keep my child in line. After Anna was born, and we saw how different she is from her big brother, I started to feel a bit better about my abilities as a mother. But still, here we are with a 6 year old now, and I still feel like I haven’t quite figured out how to control my child.
Developmentally, there weren’t any major red flags. He learned to crawl before he learned to walk. He mastered walking the same month that he turned 1. Language wise, he hit his milestones too. If memory serves me right, he had a vocabulary of over 100 words by 18 months old. When he started Kindergarten last fall, I was worried about his emotional and social maturity. After all, he had only turned 5 a month before school started. I knew he was a very bright boy so I knew he would be fine academically. Kindergarten came and went without any major issues. Perhaps all my worrying was for nothing.
Fast forward to first grade. The transition has been difficult for Tommy. Sure, I underestimated the challenges that would come with the transition to 1st grade. But is that really all there is to it? My maternal instinct told me that there was more to it. I spoke with some friends who told me to go with my gut. I spoke with some of Tommy’s teachers from daycare and they understand where I’m coming from. I spoke with Tommy’s classroom teacher, but she wanted to “wait and see”. I spoke with the school social worker, but he simply wanted to try to extinguish undesirable behaviors one by one.
It was the book recommendation from my friend that really put some momentum into this effort. Her daughter was diagnosed years ago with Sensory Integration Disorder (AKA: Sensory Processing Disorder). I’ve known this for a long time, but I’ve never really had a grasp of what that means. We were actually speaking in a very general sense about kids, behavior and school. I believe we were talking about resources for more information. She said to me “If you have a child with Sensory Integration, there’s a book to read. Its called The Out-of-Sync Child.” After she said this, I was really just curious about what this was. The next day, I looked up the book online and read some other related links. Before I even had the book in my hand, I knew I had found something.