Hello! This blog is about my daughter Hailey (currently 12 years old) and her experiences living with auditory processing disorder. Auditory Processing Disorder is Hailey's primary issue, however she has also been given the labels Sensory Processing Disorder, Dyslexia, Visual Processing Disorder, Mixed Expressive Receptive Language Disorder and Phonology Disorder at various points in her life.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Coping with our Children's Distress

Hailey went to an audition today for a homeschooling play.  She did really well, but she felt that she didn't and so she started crying quietly in the audition room.  We went to the restroom so she could collect herself, but she ended up only feeling worse and didn't want to return to the room.  However, she desperately wants to be in the play and so I convinced her to go back and give it a chance.  Once in the room, she was asked if she wanted to come up on stage and read again, but she started to break down.  So, I quickly went up to the director to explain that she has Auditory Processing Disorder which is something like Dyslexia (I know there is so much more to it, but people tend to understand Dyslexia and not APD) and that she felt she didn't do well before and is now feeling rather scared, but wants to be in the play if at all possible.  Luckily, the director of this play is super understanding and told me that she thought Hailey did fine, that Hailey didn't need to read again, and that she would definitely receive a part in the play.  Whew!

So, I went back to Hailey who was doing everything in her power to not absolutely break down in hysterics while tears were quietly slipping from her eyes.  We walked out of the room and she let it all go, crumpling in my arms, repeating "I was so scared".  My wife and I managed to somehow get her to the car where she sobbed uncontrollably and informed us how we simply just do not understand.  After much reassurance and some really spicy peppermints to distract her (she gets comfort from extreme tastes), we managed to get home, convince her she did a good job, assure her that she would have a part in the play, and that it would get less scary with time.

Now she is out in the back yard jumping on the trampoline with her best friend while I am still trying to recover from the ordeal myself.  It is so difficult to see your child in so much distress.  I watch the other mothers sit in the back room chatting aimlessly while their children with no special needs just get up on a stage and read easily from a play they have never seen before.  They know their children will handle it.  With auditory processing disorder, a cold reading in front of a large group of strangers all the while trying to keep track of who is speaking when and trying to process not only what to say when but what it means and therefore how to express it appropriately is simply a nightmare.  Yet, this is the way it is done.

I am extremely proud of Hailey for even attempting such a difficult task.  Despite all the difficulties, she really didn't do all that bad.  Still, I can't help but feel how scary that whole situation really was for her.  I wish there would have been a different way of doing it all.

In the end, due to an understanding director, Hailey will be able to have the experience of acting in a play - an experience she really wants to have.  We will practice her lines and I'll be there to support her every step of the way.  Now I just need to find the calm down solution for me - the mommy who will handle all the emotions and keep everything running as smoothly as can possible be expected.

-originally written September 8, 2011 in my personal blog

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