Sensory Processing Disorder

Sometimes Sawyer’s sensory issues make complete sense to me, and other times I just don’t understand at all.

On Sunday evening as we sat down to dinner, suddenly and without warning, Sawyer started to throw up. Sensory Processing Disorder means that he often doesn’t display the same warning signs that other children do when they are starting to feel poorly. Sawyer finds it very difficult to distinguish the sensation of discomfort/pain/nausea among the blur of other senses he battles with every day.

This particular part of Sawyer’s sensory issues I can understand and make sense of. And sometimes – I can help. If I see that he looks uncomfortable I can ask him closed questions to try and pinpoint exactly what might be changing his behaviour and making him seem prickly, upset, angry or confused.

Sawyer has been poorly with this nasty bug since Sunday evening, and as you can imagine, severe sensory processing issues + throwing up, does not = happy and plain sailing. Again, I understand – no-one likes to be sick. And I can help. I can reassure, I can explain and I can comfort.

Today, thankfully, he is feeling a lot better. He woke up with colour in his cheeks and he asked for a drink of water. He nibbled some toast and he asked for ice-cream. All the typical actions you’d expect of a child recovering from a stomach bug.

Except he has also been asking to suck on a lemon since 9.30am. Repeatedly. Anxiously. Desperately. As if it were the only thing he could possibly think of that would fix the way he was feeling, even though he couldn’t explain what that feeling was – or how the lemon would help.

Finally, reluctantly, I cut open a lemon and handed it to him. He retreated to the stairs and sucked on his lemon – face wincing and contorting as the sour taste filled his mouth.

And when all the juice was gone, he handed it back to me with a massive sigh of relief.

‘That’s much better now”, he said.

And I don’t think either of us know why.