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A Day in the Life of a Child with Sensory Processing Disorder

A first person account of what it's like to live with sensory processing disorder.

Hi, I’m Kendra*, an eight-year-old living with sensory processing disorder. My parents tell me there are a lot of students with sensory processing disorder. I’m not the only one in the world with it, but I’m the only one in my class. I am pretty sensitive and avoid bright lights, loud sounds and wet things. Here’s my average day.

6:45 a.m.

I wake up to the annoying sound of my new alarm clock. The hot morning light is also irritating! I choose my favorite soft leggings (no tags) and t-shirt. I can't stand wearing jeans! It’s hard to grasp the zipper on my hoodie sweatshirt, but I pull it up gently. I head to breakfast, ready to help Mom in the kitchen. I eat my usual breakfast of oatmeal with blueberries. I don't usually like to try new things but my mom started adding berries to my oatmeal last week and after a couple of tries, I like them!

10 a.m.

At school, I start to get frustrated with a group writing assignment. There's too much talking and I can't focus, plus the other students are moving around the classroom which also distracts me. Because I have an IEP, I can ask my teacher for a sensory break. She gets my aide for a quick walk which helps me feel less overloaded.

12 p.m.

At lunch, my friend Maria tells me about another girl she met with sensory processing disorder. This girl craves light, sound and things with different textures. I am excited to hear there’s someone else like me. But I’m worried we will be complete opposites.

4 p.m.

After school, my Mom takes me to a special skating rink afternoon session she heard about on the radio that is sensory-processing friendly. The roller rink turns off all the blinking lights and keeps the music low. My balance isn't great so I spend a lot of time along the wall, but I'm getting the hang of it! It’s a lot of fun to be with other students with sensory processing disorder. Everyone’s in a good mood.

6 p.m.

I’m helping Dad make a salad for dinner. He accidentally drops a knife on the floor. The metallic sound didn’t bother me yesterday, but today it makes me want to scream. I put down the tomatoes and get my headphones. Mom said it’s OK to block noise to deal with sensory processing disorder.

10 p.m.

I get ready for bed and turn off all the lights in my room. I turn on my blue nightlight. It calms me down and puts me in a relaxed and happy mood. It usually takes me a while to get to sleep because my mind is busy. I think of skating with my new friends and finally drift off.

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*This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons or actual events is purely coincidental.

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