Almost a year ago, Brittney was at her wits’ end.
Brittney noticed unusual behaviors since her son was a baby, but as a first-time mother, she wasn’t sure what was normal. “When he was three weeks old, he would lay in his crib and just stare. As he grew, he didn’t like to be touched or hugged, and if we were in an active environment with a lot of people he would go off on his own.” There were even certain toys that caused a reaction in him like chalk or Playdough. Brittney thought it was something she was doing, or wasn’t doing, that was causing her son’s distress. “I got so frustrated, and there were many times all I could do was cry.”
Making Sense of Things
After Brittney’s son turned three, his meltdowns were constant and nothing she did could console him. It was clear his behavior was more than typical toddler tantrums, so Brittney took him to see a specialist who diagnosed a sensory processing disorder that caused extreme auditory, visual, and tactile sensitivity. “It all made sense,” Brittney explains. “In the mornings when he would meltdown for an hour or more as I struggled to get him ready, it was the noise of the alarm, the harsh light, the tags or the texture of his clothing, all of these things assaulting his senses.”
Growing a Routine
Understanding her son’s disorder has allowed Brittney to address the problem through simple modifications. Mornings are much smoother with a gradual alarm clock that lightens his room and wakes him up naturally and a wardrobe of clothing that does not irritate his skin. He also attends occupational therapy to help retrain his senses.
The Power of Essential Oils
When Brittney began to see how critical sensory triggers were to her son’s wellbeing, the Essential Oils and the Soul class at Hope Grows caught her attention. Having dabbled in essential oils for many years, Brittney knew that gaining in-depth knowledge from Hope Grows could help her implement oils into her son’s daily life in a beneficial way. What she learned at that first class opened a door into inner peace, and peace at home, for Brittney and her family.
Essential oils are plant extracts that can be inhaled or rubbed into the skin to promote physical and emotional health. Each plant essence has unique properties that stimulate parts of the brain responsible for emotions, behaviors, breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate. Brittney now incorporates essential oils into her son’s care. “We use a grounding blend if he’s feeling anxious, and a focusing blend if he’s distracted.” Sensory processing disorder can also lower a person’s immunity since they are always in a state of hyperawareness, so each night Brittney rubs a protective immunity blend on his feet and diffuses a restful blend to help him sleep. “The oils have made an unbelievable difference,” Brittney says. “I’m so glad that I went to Hope Grows or I wouldn’t have learned the power nature has to heal.”
The Impact of Caregiver Support
Brittney also benefits from Hope Grows’ weekly caregiver support emails containing tips, words of encouragement, and news on upcoming events. “I love the Victorian Tea, too. The speakers are incredible. They share so much useful information for caregivers. I learn so much.”
Even though Brittney realizes that her son’s condition means challenges at every stage of transition in his life, Hope Grows’ caregiver support programs give her confidence, power, and inner peace.