A Little Sensory Update


Understanding Eby’s sensory challenges has been very helpful for us. Several years ago we feared that he had an attachment disorder. It took a wise therapist to point us in the direction of a Sensory Processing Disorder evaluation.  We were relieved to learn that his lack of eye contact, aversion to being touched, and refusal to give/receive affection were not because he didn’t want relationship with us, but were related to his sensory struggles.

It’s easy to mistake sensory challenges for attachment challenges or disrespect/disobedience. If you have a child with some of these behaviors, you might want to explore the possibility of SPD. It was a huge paradigm shift for us and took pressure off of or relationship with our son. We were able to accept his limitations, gently working with him toward more acceptable ways of relating to people.

Last week was packed with family and friends from out of town; a tough thing for Eby. I was amazed when three different people commented that Eby willingly hugged them when they arrived. That is huge! Last night when Andrew’s family left, Eby wasn’t able to give hugs, but he shook hands with the adults (with fleeting eye contact) and we called it good.

That night he gave me a kiss as he was going to bed. It wasn’t a big smacker, but he managed to brush my cheek with his lips and give me a quick hug, with his head down and pressed against my stomach. Not bad for my boy.

As I write, he is vacuuming and making a loud noise that mimics the frequency of the sound of the vacuum. He’s great at making unusual noises and is still the loudest kid I know. His snoring imitations are hilariously accurate.

I hope this encourages some of you who are struggling with similar issues. Eby still has many sensory challenges and unusual behaviors, but he is making strides.

With graduations behind me, we’re pressing on to finish the school year and prepare for Noah and Katie’s wedding. Sunshine and I are sitting down this morning to evaluate her remaining work and make a plan to wrap it up. And I need to finish reading Little Town on the Prairie to my younger kids.

I think it’s going to be a good week. What does your week hold?

P.S. Have you entered the drawing for a $100 Visa Gift? Don’t miss it.



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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Emily
    May 19, 2014

    I love that boy. He hugs me sometimes 🙂

  2. Christy
    May 19, 2014

    Our first foster placement was a four week old little boy who was withdrawing from the drugs that were in his system at birth. That kid wouldn't look me in the eye for six months. His eye contact first started with those who were far away and moved in. After three or four months he would look at me if someone else was holding him, then if I was holding him sitting on my knees, then finally when I was holding him in feeding position. I will likely never know if it was sensory or attachment. Probably some of each. Being in the lobby after church was really hard for him, but mostly he would go to sleep.

  3. Laura
    May 19, 2014

    I was thrilled when Eby spontaneously walked up to me and gave me a big hug on Saturday. He even squeezed me a bit! Thanks for a great weekend. It was truly wonderful with all our kids graduating.

  4. Dannette Funk
    May 19, 2014

    This post is dear to my heart as we have raised a son with spd. It is amazing what finding a great Occupational Therapist can do in helping a kiddo with spd learn how to cope and compensate for the areas that are so difficult! I am glad that you are seeing changes, for the better, in how Eby is interacting and coping!


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