To the APA about DSM-V

Today is the last day to submit comments to the American Psychiatric Association about changes they are to make in the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). These were mine:

Sensory Processing Disorder

We have always known that there was something about Charlie. Since he was able to move, we had to watch him so carefully lest he be in the toilet, have the toilet paper across the house, up on the counter with a knife, or squeezing and eating tubes of goo like lotion and toothpaste. As he got older he was our little sensory shark, always on his tippy toes searching for anything and everything new. He was gleeful in his discoveries often unable to hear our commands to stop. Sometimes, knowing that it was inappropriate, he hid himself and his newest treasure to be discovered and cleaned up later, a few times in the emergency room (prescriptions and aspercream). He would fall over for no apparent reason and although so active and able to scale the counter, unable to sit properly in a swing or run like other kids. He had an aggressive streak that we couldn’t understand. Our pediatrician said he would grow out of it, but we were getting so frustrated as his parents that our marriage and family were suffering.

Fortunately, we heard about Sensory Processing in a magazine and we realized that our sweet Charlie was affected. We found an Occupational Therapist and within the first few weeks of therapy, twice a week, we noticed he could sit in a swing. After about 4 months, he is running normally without the skip and drag. Although he is still behind in his fine motor skills, his gross motor is finally within normal limits. I am not scared of his reactions as I was before. I don’t think he will lash out now like he did before. Our life is better.

So many primary teachers have advised us to keep Charlie in Occupational Therapy. They say that without it, the kids who are affected with Sensory Processing Disorder don’t understand their place in space and without that basic knowledge can’t participate in a classroom. Instead they are distracted by their inabilities. I know we are faced with so many challenges in educating our son. But without education and acceptance of professionals, doctors and the public, our challenges are even more enormous. Occupational therapy has been so helpful, but it takes time. I only imagine that there are so many other people without our luck that would not understand why their children react to the world as they do. The addition of this disorder in the DSM-V will help so many families! It will bring understanding and education rather than frustration and blame.

If you would like to make comments about changes you would like to see, go here.


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