When I walk into a room, it is hard for people not to notice that I am different from the rest of the twenty-somethings. With a big black bag full of Sensory Tools in my hand and my nervous tics filling up the dead air space, you can’t escape from it. But instead of facing this fact, many avoid it… or take pity on me.
This feeling of constantly being ignored or pitied makes my life a lot harder because I can’t avoid it, I have to face it everyday.
A Story About a Girl and a Coredisk.
Earlier this month I had my whole family over for dinner. This was the first family dinner we had had since I had found out about my SPD. Everyone could notice that I was carrying a Koosh ball everywhere I went. Everyone could see that I was sitting on a CoreDisk at the table.
SPD was there, in the room, but no one was facing it.
Until my cousins daughter (who is about two) came over to my chair and noticed my Coredisk. I happened to be standing nearby so I moved a little closer. She poked it with her fingers and then simply asked, “What is this you’re sitting on Netta?”
I smiled and explained, “This is a seat that I sit on.”
She continued to poke the Coredisk. It was fun to poke because of the air and squillet inside. Then she placed both hands on the Coredisk and picked it up.
If you have ever held a Coredisk full of squillet you will know that it is very heavy. But despite this problem, she proceeded to pick it up off the chair and carry it over to the living room for further investigation.
Pick It Up and Carry It
Many people avoid SPD because they simply don’t understand it. But instead of avoiding SPD, we need to pick it up. We need to face that it is in this persons life or in our lives. We need to stop believing that if we ignore it, it will eventually go away or that it is a reason to take pity on someone.
Remember, I am as much of a person as you are, I just have a slight disability. That doesn’t make me unable to have a good life, to hang out with friends, and be a productive person.
Yes, SPD is hard, but people make it even harder when they don’t admit that it is there.
Instead of Pitying My SPD, Poke At It
In the story, she didn’t pull her hands away in disgust, but reached out and poked my Coredisk. She asked questions and investigated it as much as she could. That is exactly how we need to be about SPD.
I love it when people ask me questions about my SPD. It shows me that they are interested in understanding it, instead of avoiding it. We need more people to poke at SPD. To investigate it and be interested in how it effects each person.
A big part of understanding SPD is taking the time to ask and also taking the time to share what they have learned.
However, we, who deal with SPD, are also to blame because SPD awareness starts with us. We need to talk about it, admit that it is there, just as much as those around us.
It May Be Heavy…
Sensory Processing Disorder is difficult. Sometimes it is hard to talk about because it is not always cheerful. There are a lot of draw backs, restrictions, and failures in SPD, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored.
Just as my Coredisk was really heavy and hard to lift for a little girl, so is SPD to face.
But I was so happy for someone to admit that my Coredisk was there and for someone to be curious about it. For someone to want to experience what I was experience. To treat it like it is no big deal, just like we treat those who wear glasses or hearing aids.
I am learning to embrace my SPD: to stop treating it like the monster in the room, but recognize that this is a part of who I am.