Last week I took Aaron to the Down Syndrome Clinic here in Atlanta for our yearly visit. After discussing his behavior and changes in medical status over the past year, his doctor started talking to me about Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). He has always had a very mixed response to certain sensations, but has never been officially diagnosed with anything related to that. However, after talking about some of his symptoms, it seems more and more likely that he has it. I have heard of Sensory Processing Disorder, which is sometimes called Sensory Integration Disorder, but don't know much about it.
From what she said and what I have read since then, it is basically an inability to cope with certain stimuli. Most people can avoid sounds, lights or other things that bother them, but Aaron doesn't know how to do that and instead "acts out" or cries when he is uncomfortable. It can be difficult for him and for us to figure out why he is unhappy but hopefully identifying this disorder is a step in the right direction.
Apparently there are even Sensory Therapists who can help him deal with these sensations that he is overwhelmed with or averse to. So our latest adventure is to find a Sensory Therapist when we get back to Phoenix so we can start helping him cope with these things. Right now, it's things like brushing his teeth and brushing his hair. And hopefully getting started with therapy now will help us avoid problems over the next few years, especially when he gets to school.