Sensory Processing Disorder

A Letter to My Child in This Loud, Messy, Unpredictable World

“This can’t be ‘normal,’ we thought. I’m sorry I kept trying to compare you to normal. I’m sorry if you felt like we were complaining about you or trying to change you.”

Girl with sensory processing disorder

To my child:

Did you know you have superpowers? You have the ability to hear whispering and footsteps, even if they are outside. You have such a strong visual memory that you can tell when something is out of place in a room. You are one of the most empathetic people I know, and are curious about everyone’s emotions.

Your sensory system is so good at detecting these sights and sounds. Sometimes, you feel scared and overwhelmed and don’t know how to talk about things you see and hear or how to keep yourself safe from them. This is when you have a meltdown.

When you were little, your meltdowns scared Mommy and Daddy. They were so long, and sometimes you would hit your head and bite your fingers! Once I took you to the hospital because I was sure there was something medically wrong with you. This can’t be “normal,” we thought. I’m sorry I kept trying to compare you to normal. I’m sorry if you felt like we were complaining about you or trying to change you.

Baby girl, you had some big emotions about the loud, messy, unpredictable world. You didn’t like it when things changed suddenly. You didn’t like not having control of the environment. You really didn’t like messes or busy places. You were nervous around new people, and did not like it when people talked to you. I knew this because you told me through your actions. I was trying to listen, but also trying to change you and “fix” you. But now I know you weren’t (and still aren’t) broken. There’s nothing to fix. There’s no problem to solve.

We now know that you don’t need us to stop your meltdowns. You need us to be with you during the meltdowns, no matter how long it takes for them to subside.

Sensory Processing Disorder in Girls: Next Steps


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