Karen blogs at Notes from the Cookie Jar.
He twirled and twirled until in exasperation I grabbed his shoulders to make him stop. "Kevin," I demanded, "What's wrong with you? Why can't you just stop it?" His blue eyes looked at me carefully as he brushed my hands away. "That," he pointed to the freezer case, "is humming. People are talking. The loudspeaker is playing music. These lights hurt my eyes. It's all just too much. Can't we leave?" What I had be researching for the previous few months finally dawned on me, and right then and there, we left the shopping cart behind and went home. Suddenly, everything made sense. How Kevin couldn't stand crowds, being cold, or the movie theater. He hated birthday parties and all their loud, unpredictable behavior. All the behavior that had completely puzzled us for nine years suddenly made sense, and we began to realize that none of it was Kevin's fault.
Two years later he was diagnosed with dyspraxia, a motor coordination disorder that often also comes with sensory integration difficulties. All that time when we weathered criticism from teachers, family, and perfect strangers that our bad parenting was to blame, Kevin had a real, definable disorder that could be managed. Eventually he began to find his own way to cope with the sensory stimuli that overwhelmed him, and today you would never know. Although, he has yet to set foot inside a movie theater again.
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