Navigating the Limits of Special Education

Navigating the Limits of Special Education


My daughter was three years old when we made our first trip to STAR Institute for Sensory Processing Disorder.  The staff’s appreciation and awareness for both the subtle and overt challenges she faced brought us back to Denver from Northern California three more times for therapy, testing, and treatment.  With each visit we took away something new and constructive to help our daughter find peace in the midst of the brain-body conflict of her non-typical sensory processing abilities.  

Sensations: Too Much, Too Confusing, or Not Enough?

Sensations: Too Much, Too Confusing, or Not Enough?


Sensory processing challenges appear in a variety of ways...

What is the matter with Mary Jane?  

She’s crying with all her might and main,

And she won’t eat her dinner—rice pudding again—

What is the matter with Mary Jane?

A.A. Milne’s poem about miserable Mary Jane used to mystify me. As a child, I knew that not everyone loves rice pudding, but I wondered why she was having a tantrum. Couldn’t she say, “No, thank you,” and then just get over it?  

My Sensory Shutdown Was Not a Panic Attack

My Sensory Shutdown Was Not a Panic Attack


Untethered: it’s a word I’ve often used to describe the feeling of having a sensory shutdown. It’s the moment that my ears, unable to sort through the garbled heap of auditory input, stop trying to form words and derive meaning from sound. It’s when my eyes, unable to weave together fragments of the visual whole in front of me, turn the scenery sharp with parsed, unaffiliated details. It’s the moment my body gives up its battle to make a connection, however shy and tenuous, to the physical space I’m in.

Shopping for Socks With Sensory Processing Disorder

Shopping for Socks With Sensory Processing Disorder

I have to tell you about my shopping trip but first I'll need to explain a few things.  My 13-year-old son, Jackson, has Sensory Processing Disorder.  His tactile sense tends to work against him more than in his favor most days especially when it relates to clothing.  One of the hardest things to find for him is socks.  Socks with pesky seams, elastic at the top, too high, too short, too rough, you name it.  They just stink before they ever get on his feet.  Those of you with tactile sensitive kids will understand my outburst of joy at Target regarding socks.

Making Sense of Your Sensory Onion

Making Sense of Your Sensory Onion


Here’s a moderately interesting piece of information: of all the adults I know of who’ve been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder, I am the only one who was diagnosed as a child - in 1996, to be exact. In fact, it used to be called Sensory Integration Disorder. That’s right, there was no “P.”

This has left me in a unique position. I've had nearly 20 years to experience my life with SPD fully knowing that I had SPD. (In case you didn't know, this is not common for adults with SPD.)

When You Realize It's Not Just Your Child That Has SPD

When You Realize It's Not Just Your Child That Has SPD

When we work with families at STAR Institute, we often come across parents who just get it. Parents with SPD get what’s going on with their kids, because it’s their life, too. When we think about parents like that, Laura is someone who immediately comes to mind. Her SPD story started when her son was diagnosed with SPD at an early age. She brought him to STAR Institute before we started the teen and adult program. As she went through the process of learning about SPD and understanding her son, Laura had a realization: “This is me! Wait a minute, this is describing me!”

The Two Days That Renewed Me as an SPD Parent

The Two Days That Renewed Me as an SPD Parent

Last year I attended a two-day event that renewed my fighting spirit like no other.  I felt as if I'd been bathed in waters that brought my spirit to life again.  There are days in our individual communities when we have to fight such an uphill battle that we forget about our villages.  I spent two days surrounded by "my village".  Everyone there spoke my language, cried my same tears and celebrated my same victories.  We were all fighting the same fight for Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). 

What was the event that inspired and renewed me?

Do You Know What Your Child is Doing in Their OT Sessions?

Do You Know What Your Child is Doing in Their OT Sessions?

I'm going to write this with the knowledge that there will be rebuttals from parents and therapists alike.  I just wanted to throw that out there.  The topic?  Parents involvement in their child's Occupational Therapy (OT) sessions or should I say lack of it.  As a STAR Institute "trained" parent I'm passionate about this mostly because I know what a difference it made for us and our son Jackson regarding success with his therapy for Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).  I've also been on the other side (not involved in therapy) and have seen the harm it can do.

My SPD Diagnosis Helped Me Understand My Story

My SPD Diagnosis Helped Me Understand My Story

In September 2017, we came across an inspiring TED Talk by Jennifer Allison that made us instantaneous fans. Her ability to compose herself in a calm and organized manner while talking about sensory challenges, addiction, and joy struck us with awe. In her TED Talk, Jennifer shares her love for art and she is REALLY talented. About a week later, we had one of her prints hanging above the door of our shared office.

Subscribe to Sensory Processing Disorder