Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sensory thoughts and other things

Strange title, right?

I was thinking about this yesterday. I got about a dozen calls from my son about getting his head shaved for cancer. His team was doing it and he wanted to but needed permission from a parent. I was fine with it, but he didn't want my permission, he wanted his Dad's approval. Apparently, shaving your head for cancer is a Dad thing and not a Mom thing.

Strangely enough, the sensory feeling of a razor or shaver on my son's head has always induced a panic attack of sorts. The buzzing makes him a little nuts and gives him the creepy crawlies. Yesterday, a teammate shaved his head. REALLY shaved, to the scalp, you can see his head form and everything shaved. It looks pretty good. No panic attack or anything, he was excited that they gave him an extra T shirt that he promptly gave to me and asked me to wear it today.... got it on now and wore it when I took him to school.

I think although this shaved head thing is sensory; it is also about fitting in. Our son, knows that fitting in on the team is important. This is a harmless thing, for a good cause, and yet it was a bit panic inducing because he didn't make it clear to me that I had to come over there and watch him get his head shaved, nor did he want me there. Maybe he was afraid I would do it to (I have thought about it) or he just thought it was a guy thing and a girl shouldn't be there. Who knows. My husband was thrilled that our son wanted to shave his head, and he got to watch him do it, see the boy sit still and not make a sound during the process.

Although, it is right and appropriate for our kids to do their own thing, it is also good for them to fit in. To try, at least, to look like the other kids. Our son dresses like the other boys, he tries to wear his shirts, pants and shoes in the same fashion. Yeah, THAT is vanity (whatever), but, when you have things that could be held against you, making the effort to look like the general population does help. Even if it means you have to work harder with your team, even if you have insecurities bout your hair and scalp, hey it is an effort. The general kids know he is trying to fit in. It seems like they try to understand and they seem to be good about accepting our son for who he is.

It may seem strange, but the kids he has the most trouble with are the kids on the spectrum or with other issues (BD, or other undiagnosed things). Some of it may be jealousy on the other kids parts, most gens don't shy away from our son. Not that he is perfect or anything, but from what we hear he is generally pretty nice. AND he tries HARD to make friends and be polite. I know again with the manners thing, but it is important to be civil to everyone. We tell our son to be polite even if you don't like someone or have to stay away from them. Just get away and deal with the ensuing problems with a therapist later.

Anyhow, getting back to the sensory thing, sounds, loud noises, blowing fans, dogs barking, doorbells, phones, and all of that stuff can be sensory. Desensitizing is a good thing. It can be done, we did it with our son in a swimming class. He took it for years and then the noise of life stopped bothering him so much. He is still on full volume, but if we take him to a concert or a loud church service he is pretty good to go. Variant on your kid, maybe desensitizing is the way to go. Be sensitive to your issues at home, and leave it at the front door when you leave the house. That is what we are training our son to do, and maybe it will work and maybe not. We will have to see what happens.