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Posted by Dad on August 15, 2000 at 20:31:34:

This might get your blood boiling. If you want to respond to this guy, his e-mail
address is [email protected]

Sensing a problem

© 2000

Well, now. I am, once again, embarrassed to have to inform you that I have
just learned about yet one more malady which I had never heard of, the other
one being "Precocious Puberty," about which I have already written. My latest
revelation concerns (drum roll and cymbal clash, please) "Sensory Integration

I learned about SID on a recent ABC "20/20" program which began by telling
us that this is "a
bizarre problem" afflicting "some young
children." And "bizarre" this "problem" is with
the program's intro reporting that SID causes
these children to "scream in pain" even when the
contact with their mothers is "gentle." But, do
not despair. Because, we are assured, the lives
of those with this "strange disorder" -- these
"little patients" -- can be changed by (you
guessed it) "amazing therapy."

We begin by seeing a child "actually hurt" by
the sound of his mom running a vacuum
cleaner. "Turn it off," the child pleads. Even
Mom's "loving caress" causes the child to say:
"Don't touch me like that." The mom says she's

ABC's Dr. Nancy Snyderman says all this seems
like "more than a battle of wills." She notes that even the simplest things
would set the child off, like wiping his face. We see the child saying:"Let go of
me." Why even combing his hair
causes the child to exclaim: "Don't! You're
hurting me with that." And putting socks on the
child makes him say: "Ow!"

When the doc asks if the mom ever thought that
she just had "a bratty kid" on her hands, mom
says, "There were times when I couldn't -- I
couldn't understand how upset he could get. It
didn't seem just behavioral to me. It seemed
something else was going on."

Well, the doc says, there was something else
going on. After years (!) of searching for
answers, the child was diagnosed as having SID.
His parents were told he had extreme reactions
because he was "overly sensitive to sensation."

Now, we see another doc, Dr. Lucy Miller of the
Denver Children's Hospital, an "expert" on SID.
She tells us that children with SID "cannot deal
with sensation. They cannot process sensation
correctly." At this point, we see the child one
more time saying, "I told you not to touch me.
Don't even touch my shirt."

Hmmmmm. "Don't even touch my shirt," eh?
Have we, perhaps, seen here the birth of a new
"bizarre problem" -- call it SISD, "Sensory
Integration Shirt Dysfunction"?

After this shirt incident, Dr. Snyderman notes
that she saw "anger on the surface," regarding
this child. To which Dr. Miller replies: "It looks like anger. It's really protect,
alarm, it's danger. His nervous system is saying, 'This hurts. This hurts me.'"

OK. Then Dr. Snyderman says, "Almost
everyone has some sensitivity to sensation."
Brilliant! Absolutely unassailable! In fact, I'd go further -- though I am not a
doctor. I'd say that everyone has some sensitivity to sensation -- unless, of
course, they are dead.

Dr. Snyderman continues pointing out that
some folks may hate crowds, or the smell of
perfume may nauseate them. I would add: Or
some may even be nauseated by programs like
this. At the end of this sound-bite, Doc S.
admits, "Little is understood about sensory
dysfunction, but Miller and her research team
are beginning to unravel this mystery."
Now, the "amazing therapy": We're told that
SID-afflicted kids like the one we've seen "are
wired up to measure their reactions to a variety
of sensations." Why such kids are not overly
sensitive to this wiring up, and, evidently, don't scream and yell when the
wires are attached, we are not told.

In any event, Doc S. tells us that Doc Miller has
found that children with SID "not only respond
more strongly to stimuli like touch and sound,
they feel bombarded by the sensation." Well,
duh! This is what's known as a tautology, which
means saying the same thing twice but in
different words.

Doc S. tells us that this child's brain doesn't have "a mechanism ... that
automatically screens out things you don't need to know about," like a
normal person. Thus, the child's brain "doesn't
screen out sensation that way." The child's mom
says this piece of information was just what they
were looking for "to kind of connect all the dots
together." She says this info also opened her
eyes to the fact that her son lives in "a different kind of world" than the one
lived in by herself and her husband.

As if all of this wasn't sufficient, see another SID victim, a young girl screaming
"No, no! Don't! Don't! No. Not soap, not soap!" when her Mom tries to wash
her hair. Doc S. says this child's head "is extremely sensitive to touch, and she
finds the sound of running water painful. She's also petrified by the size and
feel of a bathtub."

Yikes! Could this be yet one more "strange
disorder" being discovered before our very eyes
-- call it, perhaps, "Runningwaterbathtubphobia"?

Doc Snyder, in a rare moment of lucidity, says
there are undoubtedly people watching who are
saying, "Get a life. Why don't you just grab that
kid and put her in the bathtub?" Nice try. But,
the mom says this "wouldn't work," that her
daughter would "just completely lose it." Oh,
and this daughter also "screams when her
brother plays the fiddle" -- though I'm not sure
this is a problem until I know how good or bad
the brother plays this fiddle, something we are
not told.

And, sorry, I almost forgot, it is said to be "an
ordeal" when this daughter has her toenails
clipped. And school is said to be "difficult" for
her, and she "plays alone" on the playground
because there's noise and all the kids running
around can be "overwhelming." Her mom says her daughter has said: "Mom,
my brain just doesn't work like other children's brains do." Doc Miller says that
if we can find such kids early enough then "we can prevent them from losing
self-esteem." Doc S. adds: "There is treatment."

We see more "treatment." It's in a place that looks like an indoor playground
where "specially trained occupational therapists" challenge kids "to confront the
sensations they fear." Because the just-mentioned daughter is sensitive to
sound, "she's encouraged to blow a
toy whistle as loud as she can while she swings,
an activity that calms her." Huh? But, why? Why
wouldn't a sound-sensitive kid "lose it" when
she blows a whistle "as loud as she can"? This
makes no -- well -- sense.

And to cope with this young girl's sensitivity to
touch, "the therapist strokes her arms with
brushes and gently coaxes her to get into a tub
filled with plastic balls." Plastic balls? Yep,
plastic balls.

Doc Miller explains: "Her brain inside is saying,
'Don't move, don't move. This is a threat, this is dangerous, back off.' But at
the same time, she sees all these beautiful balls, and they look like so much
fun she wants to jump in, so the
motivation to play is greater than the fear that
she feels from tactile stimulation."

All clear now? Of course not. Indeed, Doc S.
says that while all of this "is not a cure, some
experts speculate that therapy may change the
way the brain experiences sensations, like
sound and touch, so that in time the child
begins to respond in a more normal way."

This report (finally!) concludes with Doc S.
telling us that the first SID victim mentioned has "completely" gotten his
"quality of life back" from "therapy." And a co-host of this program, John
Stossel, tells us, "Of course, not every child with behavior problems has this
disorder, so it's important to get a good diagnosis."

OK. So, let me give you a good diagnosis. I
have three children, who are no longer children,
and six grandchildren -- three boys, three girls.
And none of these kids, when kids, ever wanted
to do what they didn't want to do!

God tells us, in Proverbs 22:15, that "foolishness is bound in the heart of a
child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him." Children are not
naturally good, nor naturally obedient. They are -- dare I say it? -- sinners.

When you are a child, not wanting to bathe,
have your hair washed, toenails clipped or, on
occasion, even be touched, are not "disorders"
requiring "therapy." These things are all misbehavior, disobedience. They
require, first,
verbal admonishment, telling the child he or she
must do what you as the parent says. If this
admonishment is ignored, corporal punishment
("the rod of correction") must be applied. But,
please, no shrinks, no plastic balls. As a parent, be sure that the brain that isn't
working is not your own.

John Lofton has covered national politics, cultural and
religious issues for more than 30 years as a journalist,
nationally-syndicated columnist, TV-radio
commentator and political advisor. He currently edits
and publishes "The Lofton Letter," a bimonthly
publication about religion, politics and culture; e-mail
for subscription inquires.

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