I have been reading Parenting Magazine now for over 6 years. After awhile the articles start to sound familiar. Recycled material about potty training and how to be a happy mom. Blah, blah, blah. But I still can't seem to stop reading it. Even if a lot of the articles are over-simplified, I feel that I can always get a little something out of each issue. I also feel like this is sort of my current trade magazine because my primary job right now IS parenting.
A question to the doctor from the March issue prompted me to write my very first letter to the editor to any publication. I think it might have been the catalyst to starting this blog as well. I'd been thinking about getting involved in SPD advocacy by sharing information, raising awareness, maybe even getting into research. I had just recently signed on to be a parent host at SPD Parent Share and was reading the Yahoo group messages. The way that the doctor responded to this question is exactly the problem with how Sensory issues are currently being perceived.
Here is what I submitted via e-mail:
Saying that SPD is not an official diagnosis is misleading and makes it seem that people are creating a problem where there is not one. Unless the child’s teacher is telling everyone that their child has issues, there is probably a good reason that the teacher mentioned this. Teachers see lots of kids for a good portion of the day and can often tell when one child seems to stand out. Although not listed in the DSM, having problems with sensory processing (which covers a large area) may mean the child is eligible for help from their Early Intervention IU (for free). Sometimes there is a waiting list for such services, so getting your child evaluated quickly is very important. If your child can benefit from help from a professional and be a happier, more stable child, who is functioning up to their potential, why would you risk waiting for them to “grow out of it”? Why would you be considered “panicking” if you realized that there was a way to help your child? Parents are so concerned with being told they are over reacting that they don’t follow their gut and get the help their child might need. I urge this parent to get information ASAP (there is plenty available) from online resources, books, an OT who works in this area, other parents, etc., just asking the child’s doctor may result in the same “your child is fine” type of answer.
OK, definitely not my most eloquent piece of writing. I was disappointed when my April issue arrived without my letter or anyone else's.
Today I received my May copy of Parenting and there is a short letter titled "The sensory disorder debate" included in the You Tell Us section. I just tried to find a link to this and was not successful. The bottom line is that at least someone was able to write something that addressed how "casual" (in her words) the doctor's response was.
So, thank-you, Jeanine Sierchio from Bloomfield, NJ. I am so glad that your comment was published! I will continue to look for ways to get information out there. And, one day, maybe I will write something worth including in Parenting Magazine myself.