These are stories and comments from our Lamp Post families and individuals. We are often asked how we help and it is always different for each person and family. Sometimes the only way things “make sense” is through stories. Hope this helps!
Sorry. It is long. I don’t know how to say it in a short way ….
My son is seven and was diagnosed with sensory issues three years ago. For our family, Lamp Post has been nothing short of life changing. When we first came to LP, we lived on the edge of our seats (and our sanity). We woke up each morning, never knowing whether it would be a good day or a bad day for my son, and therefore never knowing what obstacles we would have to overcome that day. Our entire family dynamic was constructed around helping him “survive” each day – On some days that meant we had to avoid sound. On other days that meant we couldn’t go outside in the sun unless we were equipped with sunglasses and a hat and hovered in the shade. On other days it meant we would knock dozens of things off the shelves at the grocery store because he had to touch everything we passed, or he walked smack into walls. On other days, the really bad days, my fully potty trained son would have seven or eight bathroom accidents in a day, and would never know that he had them until someone pointed out his pants were wet. The list went on and one and on.We never knew what to expect, but we did know that, as a family, we couldn’t survive like this much longer – our son was miserable, our other child was missing out on things she deserved to do, and we were just exhausted.
Now, a few years later, we live a mostly normal life. We have a happy first grader that loves school, goes on play dates, rides his bike, enjoys birthday parties, smiles, and looks forward to each day. There are still a few things that are hard for my son, and for us. He will probably never be a superstar at sports, and may never love going to places that are loud and echo-y, and may always slouch and wiggle at the dinner table. We may even occasionally have a meltdown at at sound, or a bathroom accident. But, our rough spots last a few minutes instead of a week, and we have strategies to deal with issues when they arise.
Some people think that kids will grow out of these issues on their own, or that these issues really just exist in the imagination of over protective parents. Let me be the first to tell you that is not true. I have two kids, both who have received the same amount of attention, love, over parenting, under parenting, discipline, and guidance. One child is normal by every definition of the word. The other one was barely surviving before OT.
It was not until we began sensory based OT that we saw that our child was going to be OK. Lamp Post has therapists with the love, the patience, and most importantly, the skills and training that an OT needs to help a child find his or her way back from his dark place where everything is hard and scary. They have laughed with us, hurt with us, strategized with us, and been there for us as guides, sounding boards, and sports through every step of our son’s (and our family’s) journey. There is no “one size fits all” approach to sensory OT. There have been some things that worked and others that have failed, but they have helped us navigate it all and find a system that works for our family. Our son is OK, and he will continue to be OK. I suspect that he will need OT off and on for most of his childhood as he grows and changes. It gives me great comfort to know that LP will be there to help us figure what comes next.
To whom it may concern,
Hi- I’m a grad student in my mid-twenties who worked with Elise for a year. I have lived my entire life with sensory integration problems. My parents (and I) knew there was an issue, but didn’t know what the issue was, if that makes sense. It didn’t help that I tried to hide the symptoms from my parents out of a fear of acknowledging that I was experiencing different things internally than most people. And the symptoms, to put it bluntly, suck. Essentially, everyday stimuli prompt a flight or fight reaction. Of course, this always happened in places where neither flight nor fight was ever and option, so I would just sit and suffer in silence and lose all other cognitive ability that to contain the reaction. As long as the stimuli was there (for me it was certain types of noises, especially chewing) the stress was not just present, but it would escalate. Your family members or friends can cause you pain without ever realizing they’re doing so. Then the stress of it leaves you tired mentally and emotionally, but physically tight, defensive, and on edge. It’s a joy-sucking way of living.
Eventually I broke down and confided the extent of what was happening with my family when I was in my late teens. It took another five or six years to finally put a label on it, and even longer to find someone like Elise who could specialize in treating it. Working with Elise has been wonderful. The best way I can describe the effect is that much of the pressure, the daily stress that’s accumulated over the past twenty-plus years, is lifting. The response to negative stimuli hasn’t gone away, but my tolerance of it is better. I count myself extremely lucky that I found Elise, for she’s been kind, patient, knowledgeable and helped me far more than I thought possible. It’s not like previously the disorder had shown any sign of abating over time, and I can say with 100% certainty that because of Elise I’m in a better place in my life.
I wanted to tell you again how thankful we are that you were (are) part of our lives and let you know we miss you! The service you offer families is priceless! You truly have a gift and the Lamp Post will always be a very special place to me and our family, truly my light in darkness! I thought you might enjoy an update on our son’s* progress. He has begun Martial Arts and loves it. It is a very rigorous program with forms on Monday, weapons (Bo staff) on Wednesday and fitness and sparring on Friday. He was invited to join the “Hyper” pro fight club on Fridays as well. It is an invite only program based on motivation, kind of a karate on steroids. All these activities directly reinforce OT skills. He is having to remember sequences and put them into motion. Move your body grow your brain! The fitness and flexibility portion is amazing. I have actually had to give him Advil daily to help with soreness. His OT training prepared and gave him the motor skills and confidence necessary to be successful now. The martial arts instructor is also very motivational and positive but firm, incorporating the strong values of hard work and determination into daily life as well as martial arts class. We are continuing to use the tools and strategies you taught us on a daily basis. He is also performing well in school and is very motivated to be a good student. We are continuing to work on our executive function skills at home too. Life is good!
A. *(names were obviously removed!)