Sunday, August 30, 2015


I take it all* back. I am terrified.

Universe, please watch over and protect our bumbling, quirky, not-so-grown-up, growing up children as they head back into the fray.

Thanks and love,
Full Spectrum Mama


Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Picture my physically adept daughter sitting at the dining room table. She is leaning back in her chair with her feet up on said chair. I remind her that feet are not allowed on chairs at the dinner table. She removes her feet...but somehow manages to retain the exact same lean, with an expression of utter disdain and indifference.

Now picture me sitting at a different table, working in the faculty lounge of the local community college. You will notice – but I will not, at least until my neck pain tells me something is off, several hours in – that I am sitting at an extremely awkward angle.

                           Figure I – Awkward and Ultimately Injurious Angle of Seatedness, Not Noticed

Those of us with sensory processing differences may find ourselves in a myriad of awkward and uncomfortable situations/positions because of our divergent vestibular and proprioceptive systems, the systems that tell us where we are in space and how our movement and body location relates to what is around us.

Whereas my daughter Z’s balance, movement, and self-awareness in space are appropriate and allow her to do things in healthy, if sometimes snotty, ways, I fear I’d be barely able to function without my many, many years of ballet and yoga.... G’s study of Tae Kwon Do has done similar remediation for his vestibular, motor, and proprioceptive functioning.

I was uncomfortable sitting there at a random angle from the table, but I am so used to feeling awkward that I didn’t even wonder why, or take steps to address my discomfort, until my neck pain began to eclipse my concentration. When the normal smells and lights and sounds of daily life hurt your brain, what’s a bit more pesky input?

Becoming aware of these goofy and discomforting phenomena is the first step in trying to devise ways in which to avoid actually harming myself. But here’s the thing: mostly, I don’t even know I am doing things “differently” until something lets me know – another person (“Hey, [FSM], why don’t you put on a sweater, since you are shivering?” “OHHHHH! Great idea!”), or actual pain...

What other things do G and I do like sitting at wide angles to tables? I don’t even know. Probably plenty! Do you know a wide-angle sitter? A curb-tripper? A walker-into-walls?

Full Spectrum Mama

Welcome to the Sensory Blog Hop -- a monthly gathering of posts from sensory bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about what it's like to have Sensory Processing Disorder and to raise a sensory kiddo! Want to join in on next month's Sensory Blog Hop? Click here!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


As people and as parents some of us are lucky enough to have a perfectly generous level of empathy for others as well as a balanced perspective on events. Others of us learn to understand others’ feelings and have perspective on our own lives the hard way(s).

Last year saw G’s heretofore good grades plummet, but he was accepted and happy at school. It was clear that G had chosen, consciously or un- to put all his energies into that realm of his life that had for so long been an area of suffering. For a “typical” parent with an academically gifted kid this would be a disastrophe but the perspective and experience I’ve gained (kicking and screaming) about my kid show me that a decline in grades is a small price to pay for the gains he’s made in confidence and self-esteem.

By the end of last year, G’s team had begun to identify effective strategies for executive function and focus in order to improve his academics; and I am very much hoping we can bring more balance between the social and the academic this year in 8th grade. That’s going to be a tall order, but at least I am only mildly terrified this year. (Sure last year was a social success, but there can be so much drama in middle school, for middle-schoolers of all persuasions, and peer-group rejection is so common.)

Here are two posts I wrote around this time last year, in case they are of use to any readers:

            This one is about my deep terrors for my son as he entered Middle School:
                        MIDDLESCHOOL PRAYERS 

This one is about trying to find other kids who might be extraordinarily challenged entering Middle School:
                       TEAM FRIENDLY FACE 

And here’s an inspiring thought from a VERY WISE Dad I know and love, from his facebook page (posted with permission, lightly edited for anonymity); it helps me remember that I know my child and I know what he is capable of...:
Happy birthday to my son [name]. Apologies for this post, son, but “I had to say it.” The year that he was age 3 I was on lecture tour. In Indiana he was the only black child in childcare. After my talk a teacher said, “I’m sorry to tell you, sir, but your son is slow.” The next week in New Hampshire a different childcare teacher said, “Wow! Your son is brilliant.” I’d already played a significant role helping parent my three much younger brothers and [name] is my second son. I knew he was blessed. Now he has a bachelor’s from Princeton and both a Ph.D and J.D. from the University of Virginia. At no point did I give permission to some stranger to define my child (or his 3 brothers). If you’re a parent, grandparent, teacher, friend... I suggest you follow the same route. You have to nurse greatness to find greatness.

Obviously, blessings and greatness come in all stripes and do not necessarily mean academic blessings and/or greatness, but I plan to nurse the academic aspect of my son better this year, along with his great heart -- and I plan to make sure the rest of his team does the same.

Wishing all parents and students and teachers and staff many blessings for a smooth transition into this next school year. People who are already fully-equipped for school should not be posting that on facebook and making the rest of us feel inadequate.

Remember, if we do not believe in – and nurture! -- the unique greatness of our loved ones and children, who will?

Full Spectrum Mama