Please note: this post is part of the Sensory Blog Hop, which is sponsored by the fabulous Jenny (what a great name!) over at The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution. I accepted the invitation to participate as a way to get more exposure for FSM, but it has become a wonderful, inclusive, helpful community for all us SPD Blog Hoppers. Please do click on the links below for fresh and inspiring perspectives and meet some very worthwhile new pals.
When my little fella started seventh grade this fall, I very nearly had a nervous breakdown.
However, it seems to be going very well..socially...which is...a surprise.
And then there are his grades. Which are terrible.
You see, his ASD and SPD are a big part of his DEFD and this causes a decline in his ABCs.
Get it? No? Please allow me to break it down:
ASD officially stands for Autism Spectrum Disorder. I don’t like “Disorder,” so I end the phrase with Difference. G is on the Autism Spectrum. He’s autistic in the way that used to be officially called Asperger’s.
Among other things, this means G has challenges in the social realm.
SPD officially stands for Sensory Processing Disorder. I do the same here, calling it Sensory Processing Differences. G has sensory processing differences, as most people on the spectrum do, as many people in his biological family – including me – do…
Among other things, this means that G is extraordinarily neurologically and sensorially sensitive in certain ways, while in other ways he may seem “undersensitive.” Put another way, the systems of people with SPD tend to pay more or less attention to feelings and sensory input than is “normal.”
Each person with SPD is different. (Sometimes when one area seems “undersensitive” it is because an individual with SPD is already overwhelmed from “oversensitivity” in another area!)
DEFD stands for Determinants of Executive Function and Dysfunction. Executive Function – the ability to process and enact a series of thoughts and actions in an effective way - has never been a strong point for G. This fall, his already low levels of EF took a major dive.
So did his grades – his ABCs, if you will.
The way I see it, these acronyms and what they represent in my G (and others) are all intimately connected: Each person has a given amount of energy. When it takes More energy just to function socially, resources available for other aspects diminish.
I figure there’s only so much G to go around, and, currently, it’s almost entirely being utilized in this area of Social Skills -- which has been a lifelong challenge for him.
Figure I – Allocation of Energy Pie Chart
He's enjoying seventh grade (?!) – and “extremely popular.” I should note that from what I can see and from what G tells me (limited!) this all seems to be happening on G’s terms, that is to say he is popular and liked For Himself, the quirky and brave kid that he is [sniff!]. Given this turn of events, I pooh-pooh EF and the desire for As (…and Bs…).
Full Spectrum Mama