The world is screaming for our attention! Every single one of us has more information trying to enter our brains on any given day that at some point we have to just tune it out and say: NO! I’m full for now and I can’t take any more! I feel like that a lot, but its hard to ignore it when others show their own ignorance.

Today, I was wishing that someone at my child’s school had taken a few extra minutes before today to learn about Sensory Integration Disorder and the treatment that comes with it. Because when I entered the nurses offices with my 5 year old son, to request a bit of quiet time to “brush” him with the occupational brush; this certain “someone” asked if he had something contagious in his head.”

Oh my gosh! I was hoping against hope that my beautiful, yet challenging, son didn’t hear a word she said. I looked at her dead pan and said, ‘uh, no. This is an occupational therapy brush and it is used to help kids calm themselves.” I stared her down and didn’t smile. I just looked at her, and felt sorry for her ignorance.

I have to admit; I’ve heard of this “brushing” technique many times but hadn’t been introduced to it until this past week in occupational therapy. I’ve heard many times how brushing calms babies and children and helps them not to fidget so much.

The therapist gave me a small white brush about 2×3 in size that is made of soft plastic. She showed me how to brush the arms, legs and back of my child and it’s wild how he actually loves the feel of it. She explained to me that if it tickles him, then I need to apply more pressure. She showed me that 3 long strokes on the bottom of his feet help with the feet and when socks and shoes don’t fit or feel good on him. Then she showed me the joint compression which is pushing the joints of the elbows and wrists together, shoulders to elbows, and also the joints of the legs. My son knows that he needs to get “brushed” a lot during the next few weeks and goes along with it happily.

The clincher is that the occupational therapist told me that in order to get the optimum amount of benefit from these exercises, then I need to do it every 2 hours during waking hours. I’m now trying to get an appointment with the constantly booked counselor of the school. She’s incredibly supportive of the alternative therapies that we have chosen to do and I know this because she isn’t only dealing with us. She’s dealing with several of my friends who have challenges with their own kids.

When I meet with the counselor, I’m going to ask her to help me educate some of the staff so we’re not looked at like we’re weird or something. I think someone tried to make me feel like I was intruding on their day in the office by slipping into the nurse’s office for 3 minutes of “brushing” the skin of my son. However, I refused to succumb to her ignorance and her intolerance of me and my son. I refused to feel bad for doing something positive for my son and I refused to tip toe around her and her obvious disgust with me taking my son out of class to do something non traditional in her mind. I politely said, “thank you!” and we went and did our thing! I think I even waited for her “polite” reply when I told her to “have a great day!”

If I’m being honest, it is an incredible challenge to keep a great mental outlook when I’m being challenged as a parent like this. It’s difficult to be at the school every 2 hours for the next 3 weeks to do this therapy. I’m going to be there more than anywhere else and going to have to forego meetings and work opportunities so I can help my son. I have no way of knowing whether or not this really will help, but I’m bound and determined to find a way to help him if possible. I’m dealing with this by asking for support from my friends and family during this time and meanwhile, putting on a brave face when I face the people who find me and the whole situation odd. It’s down right difficult to champion my child when I find the whole process incredibly challenging. I’m defending his behavior and my actions instead of making excuses and apologizing. But I refuse to do that, because I don’t want to ever apologize for him being different. That is what makes him unique and special, no matter how frustrating it is. And as frustrating as he can be for me and for others, I will do whatever it takes so he can one day learn to control his own behavior. I do make him apologize to others if he acts out of turn or does or says something wrong, but I will NOT apologize when we are in the process of trying to correct the situation. Alternative therapies should be the norm in school and I’m going to keep pushing the envelope and bring every suggestion to the school and ask them to accept it. Even if they’re rolling their eyes behind my back, I’m going to educate them on what we’re attempting to do. Hopefully, I’ll pave the way for others who will also face the challenge of a child with Sensory Integration Disorder.

In the mean time, I have to find the great things he does and share them with his teachers. I have to let them know that I’m working hard with the therapists and at home to help my son deal with the issues he faces. I have to educate his teachers, the counselors and other bystanders about an issue that we deal with on a daily basis. And I have to champion my son even when I don’t feel like it.

It’s a day by day process and I’m thankful that today was better than yesterday and that tomorrow will even be better. I have to keep that faith because after all, he’s my son, and I love him; and as any mother knows, THAT fact will NEVER change.