Some People Just Don’t Get Raising A Child With Sensory Processing Disorder

I recently received a comment on my blog from a mother who for the past fifteen years has raised her daughter with SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) which is what my son Trace has. Michele’s website is fantastic as is her writing on the journey she has gone through with her daughter Elizabeth, struggling with SPD. ย While reading her post “When People Just Get it!” I realized suddenly in our life how people just don’t get it…

How to explain to Family and Friends he’s normal but different?

Trace is only six years old and yet he is afraid of so many things, and due to these fears he often acts out and becomes demanding.  He’s afraid of the dark. He’s afraid of bugs. He’s afraid of being alone (yes we still co-sleep) and he’s afraid everyone hates him. Having SPD and Bipolar Disorder is not easily manageable for either us or Trace.  But what truly gets me is the lack of care and understanding that comes from friends and family.

Things we often hear…

  • He’s spoiled.
  • You let him get away with too much
  • You give in to his behavior.
  • He’s a brat.
  • He’s not restaurant trained.
  • No kids allowed.
  • He’s out of control.
  • You need to punish him more

As a mom of a special needs child these comments hurt, especially when the one thing I need is support and understanding from my family and friends. I highly doubt any of them have sat down in front of a computer to read this blog (you know who you are)  or even read up on bipolar in children and the difficulties that arise from raising a child with SPD. To them Trace is just trace — a typical kid who gets what he wants when he wants and is rude and doesn’t listen.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my family and friends. I just don’t feel they don’t understand a lot of the time and that makes me sad. It’s hard when dealing with these things and you don’t have the backing of the family you need supporting you.

Michele mentions in her blog post that you need to find a person or a group of people who understand your child’s needs and gain support from them.

My mom has always been my rock in that area. ย Both her and my dad came up when Trace was born and have been there for us through thick and thin. So have several of my friends who JUST GET what it is all about.

My issue is with others in my life. People who should take the time to try to understand, who have kids and never once stop to ask themselves — What if this was my child?  Would I like it if people constantly said I was making excuses for him/or her?

They wouldn’t. I know that for sure. No parent wants to hear that when they are trying so hard to do the right thing, but never knowing is his behavior just him being six or is it part of his having special needs?

The bottom line… I’m a special needs mom with a special needs child and a special needs husband (whole other story) and like it or not, agree or not. I’m doing the best I can. Whether the people in my life GET THAT or DON’T does not really matter.

What matters is Trace…


  1. Cheyenne Eavey March 11, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    I pretty much proceeded to break down as I read this. That’s not to say too much, as I cry over everything since I had my son, especially such nerve-racking topics. This article had a deep impact upon me though. I copy and pasted your last paragraph and pumped up the font size. I printed it and taped it to my mirror. I have a feeling these words are going to inspire me through some great moments. I have my own issues as much as my son, if not much more. A lot of the time, his SPD behaviors are at bay, while my bipolar rage comes into place. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely do not show my son or treat him with rage, but that is just what makes it so hard-keeping it inside. Thank you! Thank you so much.

    1. Jodi - Site Author March 11, 2014 at 10:42 pm

      Cheyenne you aren’t alone honey. I read your comment and tears fell from my eyes. This is why I started blogging. To connect and share with others going through what I am, feeling I am, so we know we are not alone in this struggle we face raising a child with special needs and dealing with disabilities of our own, especially a mental illness. You will have good days and bad ones, and I’m grateful for you sharing your kind words with me and that I can help even a little. You are truly welcome. Keep your head up, enjoy the little moments and know with each day that you feel beaten, a new day is on the rise tomorrow. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Marianne January 7, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    Hi Jodi. I am really glad I found this. My 2yo son has been recently diagnosed with "sensory issues." I'm still trying to fully understand what that means. Looking at your diagram, he has many, but not all of the traits from it. So I don't know if that's SPD or what. I obviously need to learn more about this. And now I'm feeling horrible that I haven't been patient enough with him thus far.

    Thank you for sharing these experiences. I am glad we're not alone.

    1. Jodi - Site Author January 8, 2014 at 1:20 am

      Awww you are welcome. Trace was diagnosed this past year although we always knew he had sensory issues. It can be difficult and requires lots of patience. Just last night I had a melt down with him, we cried together hahaha

  3. paula schuck January 12, 2013 at 11:53 am

    My daughter, as you know has special needs. One of her diagnoses, actually her first DX is SPD. I wrote about it in Today's Parent several years ago. We still encounter many people daily who don't get her and never will. The beauty of our relationship is that she knows and says regularly that I am one of her best friends because she knows I get her and am a filter for her world as well as a translator at times. Wishing that everyone understood our great kids. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Jodi Shaw - Site Author January 13, 2013 at 3:08 am

      Thanks Paula ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Monica January 11, 2013 at 6:31 am

    It is so frustrating & also heartbreaking that in this so-called enlightened society that there are still so many people who just "don't get it" and sadly, maybe they never will. It is definitely their loss!!

  5. Deanna T. January 11, 2013 at 5:51 am

    So frustrating for you! But so great for Trace that he has a mother who is a strong advocate for him. (And I wish I could make out the text in that first image, it's just a tiny bit too small for me to read)..

  6. @Mommy_Jennof3 January 11, 2013 at 3:17 am

    I'm sorry you have to go through this on a daily basis. Its sad that some people make rushed judgements without finding out all of the facts. I'm glad that you recognize that your child has a problem and is special needs. You will be his pillar for life!


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *