continued Despite the absence official recognition for his disorder, the Dahers were able to find help for Jon to respond better to his environment. Thanks to his speech therapist, the family enrolled Jon in occupational therapy. The OT helped him to better regulate his body so that he could avoid being overstimulated, or bring himself down if he did become overstimulated. He was able to participate in quiet activities, and, thanks to speech therapy, he could articulate when he needed a change.
“As a family, we became immersed in his therapies and in learning ways to assist him while teaching him how to manage his difficulties on his own,” Daher said. “Both OT and speech helped immensely with his issues with food, temperature and touch. Soon he could actually eat warm food of different textures and was willing to try more varieties. As well, we were finally able to get him to take a warm bath (instead of a cold one!) and he began to play with play dough and finger-paint and all the other things kids his age were playing with but which he had not been able to tolerate until his therapists got him there.”
In an effort to help parents like her struggling to understand their children’s diagnosis, Daher, along with another parent, started CNY SPD Parent-Connections in January of 2009.
“We had been both been looking for a support group that focused on sensory processing issues, but there was not one available,” Daher said. “We founded this group through the SPD Foundation out of Colorado.”
Now, Daher runs the group by herself.
“I continue to do this because I want to be able to help other parents who need the support,” she said, “and because this group still provides me with a great source of support.”
The group holds parents-only support meetings every month in which parents — who don’t have to sign up as members to attend, nor do they need to have a specific diagnosis for their children — can ask questions, tell their stories and gather information. The meetings often feature a guest speaker that focuses on a particular topic relating to SPD. While the focus is on sensory processing delays, families affected by any disorder are welcome.