Posted by: icmadoptionnetwork | April 29, 2013

Sensory Processing– Everywhere Around Us

This weekend was one of those weekends that we all have sometimes… where I was nonstop busy. On Saturday, my husband was in the Illinois Marathon, and on Sunday, our church had our annual chili cook-off which my husband and I host and are in charge of. Each day, I had experiences with sensory processing situations. Sometimes I don’t think we are aware of how many encounters in our lives involve sensory processing.

On Saturday, I was waiting at the start line of the marathon to watch my husband pass over the start line. In front of me was a woman holding her granddaughter who looked to be about two or three. We were surrounded by over 20,000 people, were right next to the speakers with the announcer blaring, and about ten yards from the U of I pep band playing. All of a sudden the little girl had a complete meltdown for “no apparent reason.” She was inconsolably crying and could not be comforted despite her grandmother’s best efforts. Although I don’t know the definite reason for her meltdown, I can only assume that she was most likely completely overwhelmed by everything her little body was having to take in. The loud music, all of the people wearing neon colored running outfits, the loud speakers, and the shear monstrosity of the crowd were pounding into her senses. I would have never even thought that a fun event like this might be too much for a young child to process.

On Sunday, my husband and I were busy with the chili cook-off. It was a hectic day to say the least, but is one of my favorite events! That morning I made chili for over 100 people. Then it was time for the actual event after church. On top of coordinating the chili competition and telling our teenagers how to help and where to go, I had to serve the main chili, field what seemed like a gazillion questions from people, and do my typical Sunday pastor’s wife socializing. All of a sudden, a teenager ran up behind me for a full-almost-tackle hug (which I usually love). My body stiffened and pushed her away rather rudely… not my typical response. I immediately apologized and explained to her that I wasn’t thinking clearly because I had so much running through my head. After a few moments of self-reflection, I realized that I was having some sensory overload myself. Too many people asking questions, too many different things going on at once, and just too much.

Sensory overload does not merely happen to children adopted from third world orphanages. It is an issues that we should all be cognizant of in our own lives and the lives of our loved ones.

In the Bible, we see several instances where Christ was surrounded by large crowds teaching and ministering to them. In many of these instances, after speaking to and spending time with the crowds, Christ removed himself to be alone for a time. The truth is that we all need time of quiet and meditation, and this is essential to our own emotional and physical well-being. Be sure to make time in your schedule this week to take time to be alone and find peace.


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