Many years ago when our now 32-year-old son was only seven, I took him to
Wal-Mart for the first time, only about a week after we adopted him from India and returned to the states. We were only in the store for a few minutes—in the toy section of course—and all of a sudden,
I realized I had to get him out of there.
It was like trying to control a 40-pound octopus with eight arms and legs as he reached, grabbed, and lunged at the toys causing items to fall off the shelves.
It was a noisy affair! Humorous as this story sounds (and it is funny in retrospect), it highlights an important issue for all adoptive parents—be cautious of sensory overload on your child, especially in his or her first weeks and even months under your roof.
In the confines of orphanages and well as many foster homes, children are used to many sensory experiences—children playing, talking, crying and a general buzz of activity from daylight to bedtime. However, that does not mean they will quickly assimilate into your world. As parents, we should be conscious of sensory environments that could increase anxiety in our children, such as large department stores, events where there is a large crowd, or venues with loud music and/or brightly flashing lights. “Easy does it” is the best rule of thumb to follow. Test the waters gradually before diving in.
Thank you to my son Michael for allowing me to share the personal story above! He still enjoys Wal-Mart by the way, but I don’t have to carry him out anymore.
(* Do you think your child may be having difficulty with sensory processing? You may want to check out the excellent book, “The Out-of-Sync Child” by Carol Stock Kranowitz).
Photo by Unsplash