Getting Zach on the Right Track

Scene:  Sparky SPD (representing sensory processing disorder) and Nicky NLD (representing nonverbal learning disability) visit OWN Studio to help a friend get on the DSM5.  Zach is having extreme  behavioral problems. Sparky SPD and Nicky NLD came to visit Oprah to see how they can help an old friend out. The conversation takes place in the green room and Oprah has stepped out for a studio break.

Nicky NLD:

Sparky sit down.  Stop touching everything. You are going to get us thrown out of the studio. I knew when I came here with you it was a bad idea. What did you have to eat?  You are all jacked up. Did you eat anything with sugar in it?  Put that down. You are on sensory overload.  Don’t make me call 1-800-Jesus Christ on you.

Sparky SPD:

Chill Nicky, Oprah won’t mind if we help ourselves and take a few souvenirs.

Nicky NLD:

Oprah has a deadline to meet and we are here to help get sensory processing disorder on the list.

Sparky SPD:

You are not on the list either.  As I recall you are not on the American Psychiatric Association (APA) list nor the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) list.  Are you on the Center of Disease Control for prevention list?

Nicky NLD:

No,I am not on any of those lists. Isolation is terrible and no recognition is even worse.  There is no validation and this could hang us out to dry. The APA is trying to throw Aspergers off the list and merge it with PDD-NOS. You know that diagnosis is just not enough of anything to rate being on the list.  If Aspergers vanishes we will not make the DSM5.

Sparky SPD:

Are you serious?

Nicky NLD:

I’m way more serious than Sally Savant “splinter skills”.

Sparky SPD:

What are splinter skills?

Nicky NLD:

Splinter skills are very unique skills that a person has that are totally unrelated to their life but they do them exceptionally well. Savants are noted for these skills. There are so many skills that savants can’t achieve but they should always be recognized and respected for what they can do. No one should ever take any credit away from a person who can achieve the smallest tasks. It messes with a persons self-esteem and self-confidence. For many years, not making the list has done the same to me. I am treated totally different by state agencies, insurance companies, schools and their districts.

Sparky NLD:

Nicky I was reading your tweets and I did not know we had all that in common.

Nicky NLD:

I spelled it out. As long as people point it out or spell it out for me I don’t get so frustrated.  It was about 30 tweets. I gave brief definitions of some of the disorders. I did not want to cause confusion because a few of the disorders get mixed up. Sparky we share and have difficulty in the following areas: hypersensitivity, apraxia, dysgraphia, fine motor, severe coordination, hypotonia, developmental delays, developing friendships and relationships (social domain), self-esteem, self-confidence, speech and language development, dyspraxia and our nervous system is a wrecked.

Sparky SPD:

Are you sure we don’t have the same Dad? We’ve got so much in common. You know I always liked the song Papa Was A Rolling Stone by the Temptations.

Nicky NLD:

Okay Sparky, shorty by nature, don’t make me mad. People don’t realize that when I get angry it could be for something that happened 2 or 3 days ago. It could be something that happened for 3 or 4 years ago or even longer. The doctors call it a manifestation of ones behavior. I call it being pissed off for a very long time.

Sparky SPD:

What strategy do you use to keep from going ballistic?

Nicky NLD:

You need to go process with a person that you can trust – like a doctor or a therapist.

Sparky SPD:

I can get pretty angry.

Nicky NLD:

That is the best time to go to your doctor.  They can help level you out by talking it out. If you don’t want to talk you can look at the ceiling. If it is your doctor or therapist  you are going to pay them regardless.  You might as well talk.

Sparky SPD:

I need a safe area like you. I use to think that your mom was a decorator. When you told me she put those rooms together to calm you down that was really cool.  I love the fountains, candles and the easy colors she chose to make it like a spa. Why did your mom take the doors off the rooms?

Nicky NLD:

I cannot tell where my body space is.  Removing the doors just kept me from bumping into them. The look on your face was priceless when I told you we were in the closet. You thought it was a music room. You asked me where do I keep my clothes. I told you that we were sitting on them. You didn’t have a clue the benches were storage chest. You know I have trouble with hanging my clothes on clothes hangers. I don’t need to get frustrated.  My family always figures out a way to help me  work around something that gives me difficulty. They remind me it is no big deal. They teach me alternative methods by verbalizing and pointing out what it is I need to do. As I practice the skill more I learn it and I’m ready to move on. If you tell me to go clean the room. I need to know exactly where you need me to start. They will leave notes on the computer or a sticky note on top of the computer for me to find my information. It takes a lot of work but my family wants me to be successful without the pressure. They continue to teach because I learn by a step by step method. It is habilitation not rehabilitation.

Sparky SPD:

Man your mama acts like she is McGuyver or Inspector Gadget. You know our house is so cluttered and it look like something out of Rag Magazine. You know my mom doesn’t do well with changes.

Nicky NLD:

Sparky, your mom may need to change to keep your  behaviors from triggering. The clutter and having no order in your life could be part of the problem. I’m not trying to place the blame on your mom or your dad. If they don’t know then it is time for them to learn. They have so much hurt , guilt,  fear and feelings of hopelessness. All this can be changed with empowering themselves with education and learning about sensory processing disorder.

Sparky SPD:

How does your mom manage her feelings?  My parents just seem so beat down by my behavior.

Nicky NLD:

My mom and the rest of my family educate themselves on material. She said if it is nothing up to date, She would take action,bring the information up to date and create a new format for people to learn. She and the rest of my family understand that I have a neurological disorder with unintentional behaviors. A characteristic of NLD is anosognosia.

Due to the nature of my disability I do not have the ability to recognize the seriousness of my own problem. So I would see my peers like I view myself, not having a problem. Bottom line Sparky, I can’t put myself in others shoes to show compassion, empathy and support. Don’t be frightened, I have come a very long way. Emotions are hard to teach.

Sparky SPD:

Man that is deep. So what did your mom do?  I feel like this is a seminar.

Nicky NLD:

My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She said every adversity does not have to have an adverse effect. I have a difficult time understanding fear. She said this was a good opportunity to teach fear and other emotions. She stated that people don’t like breaking themselves down to the lowest denominator. It makes them appear weak. She said she wanted the world to know how much they are taking  for granted. Their adversity would give them a greater strength  She felt if you could write, spell and read… then do it .  She expressed her fears and pointed out fears of others. I did learn a lot. I still have a long way to go.

Sparky SPD:

It is time for me to make some serious changes and start surrounding myself ,with positive people, and those who have my best interest at heart. I have got a lot to learn. If you don’t mind Nicky, do you take medicine?

Nicky NLD:

No, I have several coping skills and strategies that are taught by my family members to reduce the panic, anxiety, depression and stress. Whenever I decide to go out to dinner or a movie, I go at a time when it is not crowded. I go to place where there is less noise. I enjoy music. Maybe Zach can read the book Musiophilia by Oliver Sacks.  One of the neuropsychologists gave it to me. It is an excellent book. I tried not to overload myself on social events. I get tired and I rest in a room with white noise and low amber lighting.  Social events I attend there are 3 being the minimum and 5 being the maximum people around.  They are very knowledgeable of my unique abilities. I use scented candles for relaxation (mild scented). When I walk, I take a backpack loaded with books for deep pressure. I have a fanny pack with mints, a stress ball and clay. If  I get anxious, I return to my safe area. If someone is angry with me it is explained to me that the person may not be ready to talk. I have the same option as that person. I am never placed in competitive sports.

Sparky SPD:

Nicky that is a lot. Will we ever grow out of this?

Nicky NLD:

We don’t grow out of this. We grow up with this. We just have to work harder.

Sparky SPD:

I like that Bose bluetooth you are wearing. What kind of phone do you have? I got that new droid.

Nicky NLD:

I don’t have a phone.

Sparky SPD:

What!

Nicky NLD:

One day  I was at the mall with my brother and he started complaining about everyone on their cell phone talking to other people.  He was so agitated and began to point out people who had bluetooth attachments.  I looked at him and asked if he knew if anyone was on the other end talking. You know I process out loud and this attachment would keep me in sync. He took me out to the Bose store and purchased it for me.  I wear it all the time. Everyone looks like me but there is no one on the other end of my bluetooth.

Sparky SPD:

You are going to have the whole world  with phone gear and attachments paranoid.

Nicky NLD:

I wonder how many people are laying down their phone gear and looking at others with phones crazy?

Sparky SPD:

You need to cut that out.  Where did Oprah go to?

Nicky NLD:

It’s getting late.

Sparky SPD:

Should we leave her a note or that sweater you have chewed at the sleeve? Why you do that?

Nicky NLD:

Sometimes adults with developmental delays have a tendency to eat non food items. This is called pica. It is mostly seen in children ages 1-6 and mentally challenged persons.

Sparky SPD:

Alrightee! Let’s leave a message for Zach and his family.

Nicky NLD:

We need to let you know that you are not alone. To his mom and dad hang in there and be strong. It would devastate me if my family gave up on me.

Sparky SPD:

You are right Nicky. I don’t always see eye to eye with my parents. I wouldn’t want to be isolated or rejected by them..

Nicky NLD:

A good book to read with your parents is The Explosive Child by Ross W.Greene Ph.D: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Child. It would be good for you to have an oral motor grocery list. When you become anxious/nervous you will have things to munch and crunch on and non-food items for your body.  Learn about your sensory system which consists of Tactile System (skin,touch), Proprioceptive System (muscles,joints and tendons), Vestibular System (inner ear,balance up/down and left/right), Gustatory System and Oral Motor Input (mouth and tongue),Visual System(eyes) and Olfactory System (nose,smell). Learn what calms your sensory system and what alerts it.

Sparky SPD and Nicky NLD:

We wish you all the luck in the world. We hope this helps.  To the parents of Zach, hang in and don’t give up. You need each other.

Zach quality time with mom and dad reading, listening to music, singing and playing games will help. You need a safe environment with trusted adults and grand guardians. Thirty-two hugs a day might help and you could use a good teacher or a mentor. A national cheerleader could boost your self-esteem. Lots of love and a stable home will shoot you to the moon.

We are rooting for you.

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3 comments on “Getting Zach on the Right Track

  1. When I first saw this title Getting Zach on the Right Track NLD Recognition on google I just whent and bookmark it. hi!,I really like your writing so much! percentage we communicate extra approximately your article on AOL? I require a specialist on this area to resolve my problem. May be that’s you! Looking forward to peer you.

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    • smokelbg says:

      Thank you so much. To find out more about putting unwanted behavior in control go to the SPD FOUNDATION and click on LIBRARY. (SENSORY PROCESSING DISORDERS) may it help you on your journey. I will have a new story out real soon. Follow me on @ SMOKELBG on TWITTER. Spread the word. I am keeping it REAL. NLD MOM/cancer survivor

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  2. enelde says:

    I think that “social NLD” does not exist. It should be better named as just pervasive developmental disorder (but, of course, not very severe). It is “soft” autism. NLD should mean only disorder in visual, spatial, motoric areas. It often has much higher verbal IQ than performance IQ. It looks that it causes trouble with (especially useful) visual thinking. Higher functioning people with “hard” autism tend to have strong visual thinking.

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