Monday 20 February 2012

desperately seeking sensory....(any movie buffs get the reference?)

Disclaimer:  Rogan tells me this post is kind of 'technical' though informative.  Apologies if it is too 'technical', they can't all be winners.  Maybe you'll get something out of it and maybe you won't.  At the very least, you'll see another cute video of the Mylo.
I'm continually told by other moms (with neurotypical kids) that it's a 'toddler' thing.  Fair enough.  I'm sure that lots of Mylo's behaviours and obsessions can and are attributed to the vast majority of NT toddlers.  I also know that my son is what is known as a 'sensory seeker'.  In many cases something called SPD or Sensory Processing Disorder goes hand in hand with an Autism diagnosis. There are conversely many small and large humanoids alike who only suffer from SPD on it's own.  After learning about it early on in our ASD journey, I realized that I almost certainly fall into this category, though on the opposite end of the spectrum from Mylo.

To outline in it's entirety exactly what SPD is, with all it's various subtypes and categories, would take me writing you a small book on my blog. I have neither the time nor energy to do that .  So, to simplify, lets just talk about the 3 subsections of the first category of SPD which is Sensory Modulation Problems. (confused yet?)  Sensory modulation problems pertain to how a child regulates his responses to sensations.  The three subsections therein are sensory over-responsivity (overstimulated or easily upset by sensory sensations),  sensory under-responsivity (pays little or no attention to even 'in your face' sensory sensations) and sensory seeking (wants MORE of everything aka, Go Big or Go home, aka. adrenalin junky!)

just a cute pic of my boy.  :)
I have discovered that at least in Mylo's case, he falls into both the under-responsive and sensory seeking categories depending on the sense in question.  I, on the other hand, would place myself firmly in the over-responsive camp.   I have major texture, taste and smell issues. They can often make me feel ill under the right circumstances.  I can't handle really loud noises (which is why I rarely, if ever, go to the movie theatre.  How do you movie go-ers not go deaf?) I could go on, but I should try to get to my point right?

Mister Mylo is a big time sensory seeker but can be highly under-responsive as well.  He LOVES loud noises, would play in traffic comprised entirely of loud, brake screeching big rig trucks if we let him.   He will eat virtually anything on the planet (with a few exceptions) super spicy?  No problem!  Spicy food however, falls more into the under-responsive category in the same way that I am not sure he has EVER responded to a smell, either good or bad.  It almost seems like he doesn't use his olfactory sense at all.  Again, I could go on and on about Mylo and his sensory stuff, like how he has to put his mouth and ears on EVERYTHING but the whole aim of this post was to get to this video of him and his new favorite thing.  I will leave the rest for another post, another day.

In the last few months all he wants to do is climb.  Climb on every surface, no matter how unsteady, and then use that surface to climb onto something even higher. The climbing seems to satisfy his vestibular and proprioceptive sensory needs in a big way. His dad and I have multiple coronaries daily just trying to keep him off of everything.  This is definitely a 'toddler' and I'm told, a 'boy' thing, but it is also a sensory seeking behaviour for him. He has NO FEAR at all and once he's tried something, realizes it fulfills one of his sensory needs, he will keep going back for more, despite the often times painful consequences. It scares the shit out of me, but it also amazes me. He has unwavering trust in what he is doing, every time.

The video shows his new favorite pass time of couch diving.  He spends good chunks of his day engaged in this activity and simply trusts that his landing will be soft and hilarious each and every time.  Of course sometimes it isn't, and there-in lies the problem (for us anyway!)  But just imagine having such blind faith that everything is going to work out just the way you think it should and want it to.  I only wish I had a tenth of the trust and faith my little sensory seeker would be a lot less stressful and a lot more fun.  Enjoy the show.  Only love.


  1. awesome post. love the videos. and, I learned a new word, proprioceptive!
    - Janice

  2. Fantastic video and I love the "technical" post. Proprioceptive was a new one for me too!!! I'm taking a page out of Mylo's book and will doing some bed diving - soon as I pack up the laptop, I'm climbing onto the footboard and planting myself into the pillows - I've just gotta do it!!! Thanks for the suggestion Mylo! Love, hugs and kisses!