The air is heavy with humidity as I step out in to the morning air to pull on my boots to head to the barn. The air smells of rain to come as I head to the barn to start pouring out grain into feed buckets. As the grain pelts into the bottom of the buckets the horses begin to wake, and softly call to me reminding me that they want to be fed first. Over time I have learned to distinguish each horses unique whinny as they call, Hilty sees me first and begins to bob his head with short whinny's. As I round the corner into the barn Shadow immediately lifts his head and calls loudly to get my attention in hopes I feed him first. Mula in the back pasture runs to the fence in hopes to get fed next and as he calls to me he gets louder and louder. The only pasture that remains quiet is my mare pasture, though their heavy sighs and content munching is a relaxing sound to my soul. These sounds of the horses calling for feed, munching happily, their tails swishing away the flies are all a soothing tonic for my restless sprit. These sounds ground me into my reality and bring me peace.
There are five senses to the human body; taste, sight, smell, touch and sound. Its the last sense in the list, sound, that I have learned so much about over the last eight months of my life. You see, about 8 months ago my daughter and I were sitting in a book store and as I see her out of the corner of my eye she has huge tears running down her cheeks. Leaning forward I ask if she is okay and she jumps up like I just hit her with a hot poker and I loose my temper and we begin to have a huge argument. It wasn't until a few hours later, that I realized this was not a normal reaction for either one of us. She was upset, and when I asked her what was wrong, she responded like I beat her which upset me. After I humbled myself, I started reaching out for help. I was finally able reach a therapist who my child immediately fell in love with and she has become a corner stone in our weekly routine. Though it was after three or four sessions her therapist reached out to me and asked if I had ever heard of Auditory Sensory(processing) disorder. This conversation led me to taking my daughter down to Houston to meet with a specialist who confirmed that my daughter did in fact have ASD and we began putting together a treatment plan to help her body cope with the disorder and the anxiety that it causes.
Kids with Auditory Sensory Disorder cant understand what they hear in the same way that other kids do. This is because their ears and brain do not fully coordinate. There is an interference with the brain that and how it recognizes and interprets sounds. If you imagine for a minute the line that connects the brain to hearing and back to comprehension always being an overactive line. The volume in her brain is at a 30 all the time and she has no way to turn it down. When this line is over stimulated it can result in catastrophic out burst that take a while to calm down from. Through doctors and research I have learned that physical accommodations can help, such as giving my daughter noise cancelling head phones. Along with the physical accommodations, we have also found that counseling can help which she does once a week, along with music and art therapy which she does when needed.
After Kylie received her diagnosis, her therapist wrote a letter for me to send to her teachers asking for them to be understanding while she learns to cope. Along with requesting that she is able to take her tests alone and when overwhelmed given a chance to sit in the hall or go to the nurses office to calm. Now because ASD is not considered a learning disorder, accommodations don't have to be given but we were hoping that the teachers would at least be understanding because it is such a small school in a rural town. However a recent encounter between my daughter and one of the teachers has left me speechless.
Two nights ago I was sitting down and unzipping my boots after riding and teaching all afternoon when my phone began to ring, looking at it and seeing it was one of my daughters teachers I ignored the call and went to talk to my daughter first. Sitting down next to her she pulls off her head phones to ask what was wrong. Looking at her confused, I asked why her teacher was calling me. Startled she said "momma you don't want to call her back." Still confused, I ask her to say more. She continues that this teacher pulled her off to the side after lunch to ask if she was okay because she notices her having a hard day. That she saw her softly crying earlier in the day. She asks if I, her mother, was taking her to a real doctor to be on real medications to help her. Instead of talking to me first continues to berate child into feeling that her therapist and her mother aren't doing enough to help her.
Quick side note here, my daughter is also starting her new season in her girl hood, on having a period every month. She is learning that once a month she will have a period, that she will be cramping and bleeding and having a lot of emotions that she can't explain. As I write this blog post today she is nearing the end of her period however two days ago she was in the throws of all the hormones and feelings of being on her period.
Listening to my daughter recount this conversation I began to feel hot, not physically hot, but emotionally I was hot. Kylie sees the look on my face, and says momma don't call her back, don't get into an argument. Standing up in frustration, I can not understand why this woman who received notification from my daughters therapist eight months ago, decided now towards the end of the school year she will single my daughter out and ask why I don't take her to a real doctor to be on real medications.
As a teacher and a role model you are to be there for support, to teach, and to respect boundaries. I as her mother am here to love her unconditionally, to protect her, and to make sure when she wants for nothing in this life I have built for her. There should never be a time where a teacher should talk to a child about what she feels is a lack of medical support, especially when you know absolutely nothing about the programs she is already in.
For any of those that are curious about Auditory Sensory Disorder, it is controlled by both occupational therapy and emotional counseling. There is absolutely NO medication to help with the disorder, however it is managed with societies understanding of the disease and patience when there is a flair up.