Because Little Twin the First (let us call him Alfalfa) has dyspraxia, which is a symptom of SPD and which basically means that he does not know where is body is in space, and cannot plan physical movements. So, ok, say I want to pick up that cup of coffee. I can tell where it is, how far I have to extend my arm, and how much pressure I have to exert to lift it without winging it all over the room. Kids with dyspraxia will miss the cup when they go to grab it, or will exert too much or too little pressure when trying to lift it. Also, they have trouble with automatic movements like getting your arms out in front of you if you’re falling (which is why I spend so much time pushing him into pillows. It is practice [also, fun]). Alfalfa is also over-responsive to physical sensations, so certain types of clothes and foods are a problem, but under-responsive to aural sensations, so that he can’t always follow directions because he doesn’t realize that you’re talking to him.
And the frustrating thing about SPD is that a.) it can look like so many other things. Like, sensation-seeking can look like ADHD, and under-sensitivity can look like autism, and over-sensitivity can look like being a pain in the ass. And then also b.) it isn’t in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual yet, so more than a few specialists haven’t heard of it or don’t believe in it. I mean, I have a degree in Children, with a sub-specialty in Things That Might Be Wrong With Them, and I’ve never heard of it.
But having read Sensational Kids, I’m a believer. Not only in the disorder, but in the necessity for early intervention so that kids don’t go starkers because they can’t do shit. And while on the one hand I have trouble with the idea of slapping labels onto kids left and right, doing so allows parents to get help, children to get therapy, and everyone to sleep with ease.
If you have exposure to masses of children, this book is pretty engaging reading. Miller outlines the disorder and then describes a day in the life of five children with different sub-types, explaining their behavior in terms of their neurological idiosynchrosies and suggesting ways that parents and teachers can help them compensate and deal. This book is clotted with practicalness. And I don’t want to freak you out, but if your child drives you round the bend for any of these reasons, maybe pick up this book and decide if you shouldn’t get them checked out. Because you can’t fix what you don’t know is wrong.
Eight caterpillars! Unless you have no kids, and have no friends with kids, and have no contact with kids, and are totally uninterested in the brain and in human behavior, in which case it will probably bore you senseless.