Saturday, June 29, 2013

All Aboard- First Stop Sensory Overload and Samuel L. Jackson

Both my children are what I call 'my sensory children'. 
I believe I was a sensory child.
The words 'sensory needs' are new vocabulary terms to a lot of people, and a lot of people still question the validity of having sensory needs.  My experience is a lot of adults view it as more "terms" or "excuses" for children.  I know I didn't really buy into it when I first started teaching.  I always thought a bumpy seat cushion, weighted vests, or ear phones were more of a distraction for children.  Then I entered special education and had children of my own, and God changed my entire view on many things. 

The truth is that most of us had sensory issues as a child-  we couldn't stand the feel of syrup on our hands, a tag in our shirt, excessive noise (firecrackers/balloons), people who stand too close, tight hugs, etc.   We also had a few more natural outlets for our sensory overload- spinning, jumping, hopping, moving.  Less stimulation from environment-  Smartboards, video games, ipads, television, and mass media in general.

Most of us learn what bothers us and we adapt as we grow older.  Take me for example, I am EASILY DISTRACTIBLE.   When I do anything I have to try to do it in quiet.  I have to make detailed lists.  I have to have a spot for everything. 

Did I mention I had an accident with the van again.  I ran into my O.T. friend's mailbox, scratching the CRUD out of the van.  Poor Van.   Maybe next time she will give me some sensory integration tips.
I really feel terrible.

Easily Distractible.  See here. and here.
Driving distracts me.

Now back on topic.  Some adults have learned to adapt to what feels comfortable- wearing sunglasses under uv lights, careful of touch, use exercise when over stimulated, use a tape recorder at meetings, doodle or write when listening to directions, etc.  
The range of sensory overload varies from child/adult to child/adult, from common distractions to major deficits.  Either way, if we all understand sensory input, we are going to help children adapt much easier to their social and educational environment.

Carlee is still young, but I'm pretty sure the fact she screamed for her first six months had something to do with sensory overload.  It always started at 5pm and lasted until 10pm.  

Connor has major sensitivity to noise.  Sudden noise is the worst.  If there is a game with balloons at church or a party- he is OUT OF THERE.  IF there are going to be fireworks at a baseball game or event, he freaks out and refuses to go.  One day we walked up Main St., and he stressed out badly every time a car, truck, or motorcycle passed us.  I had to go back to get the car.  Going to the race is only ok if the noise cancellation ear phones come along.
My friend, the occupational therapist, has given me so many great ideas such as swimmers ear plugs and ear phones, which help most of the time except in yesterday's situation.
Although we had a super fantastic day, there was one part at the end.....
the main event- THE TRAIN- and the first stop was HADES.

Connor had major hesitations about going on this train.  The whistle was enough to send him running.  I encouraged him to not let noise be a fear for him, to try new things, and to GET ON THE TRAIN NOW BECAUSE WE PAID!!!  

It started out nice.  Connor explained to the cowboy on board that he would "wear his noise canceling earphones because he doesn't like noise."  The cowboy was friendly and showed Connor his ear buds because he didn't like noise.

Things were going great, 

the scenery was lovely, 

but then we stopped.

The last few times we went to Tweetsie was during Thomas the Tank Engine (no shooting).
I was not prepared.
Can I just say, that perhaps Tweetsie Railroad should place a WARNING before entering:  There will be an enormous amount of  warfare/ gun fighting/ firework MEGA noise involved!!!

I thought we were watching The Terminator.
No headphones could prevent this amount of noise.

I even asked the cowboy if they were going to continue shooting in the next scene.  He said "yesum".

This one just sat in fear.  
She just kept it on the inside, and screamed it all out later.

Connor on the other hand promptly stood up walked to the other side of the train and said he "was getting off NOW".  I told him he couldn't get off and to calm down (which is hard to do if there is a firing squad outside the train).
No Way Off

I moved the baby to nana and tried to calm him.
None of that worked, and we were entering meltdown phase quickly.  The guns and dynamite were firing, and poor Connor was miserable. 
He just curled into a ball and tried not to cry.

As good as my children are at meltdowns, I have over 30 years of experience, and they have nothing on me.  
I was getting ready to have a meltdown of my own.
Right behind us was a grown man with the loudest cap gun (no children around).  He just kept shooting it while the sound reverberated off the train walls!!!

With each shot of that gun, Connor would quiver and try not to cry.  This gentleman (I use the term loosely) saw me trying to calm a child who was obviously scared and freaking due to the level of noise.
Now I really try to live my life guided by God.
I try to make good choices,
but when I feel as if a child, any child, has been wronged in any way
I turn into Samuel L. Jackson faster than you can say Snakes on a Plane Train.

I become totally ruled by my emotions, and when that happens I don't care who is involved or who will be embarrassed.

With another shot of that cap gun, I turned around in my seat and gave that man a look that said "unless you want a tongue lashing so severe you wished you hadn't got out of bed this morning, I suggest you put that monkey fighting gun away NOW."  In the loudest voice, "It is a SHAME that it is more important for a grown man to act like a child instead of being courteous to the scared children around him!!!"

His wife told him to put the gun away.  Which he did until the end, where he fired it off a few times as we were getting off. 
 (major JERK)

It was almost enough to send me back into this mode:

I am sick of this monkey fighting man shooting this gun on this monday to friday train!!!

As we exited the train, 
the cowboy said to me "mam you can NOT exit this way you must get back on the train and.....[takes one look at my Samuel L. Jackson face].....ummmmmm.   You know never mind, let me open the gate here.  You all can come out this way. Have a great day".

Next Stop- No Train Land.
Ever. Again.
If anybody sees any Snakes on a Train-
Call Me.

No comments:

Post a Comment