My husband’s sensory processing disorder

I wanted to write an update on my bloodwork.  I had blood drawn over a week ago, but I still haven’t gotten a call about the results, good or bad.  (Of course, I’m thinking bad because that’s just the way I roll.)  I meant to call today, but I got busy at work, so it’ll have to wait until tomorrow.  In the meantime, I thought I’d tell you a little bit more about my world and the main man in it.

One of the best things about my job is that I learn new things all the time.  When I first started this job, nearly four years ago, I knew virtually nothing about sensory processing, but it has since become such a huge part of my daily work (and my caseload), that I see it everywhere now.

Basically, the idea is that not everyone processes sensory information from the outside world in the same way.  Some kids cringe at the lightest touch, while at the same time bumping into walls and crashing into furniture, either because they like the way it feels or because it helps them figure out where their bodies are in space.  When I told Hubby about this, he did some of his own research and diagnosed himself.  He’s one of my tactilely-defensive, sensory-seeking kids, all grown up.

In Hubby, this manifests itself in myriad ways.  He hates certain textures, especially in materials that are used in linings.  Finding a laptop bag that has a lining he can stand to touch is an all-day shopping ordeal.  The tags in his shirts and seams in his socks bother him.  Some of my clothes bother him, and he won’t touch me if I’m wearing them (a windbreaker, for example).  Once we stayed at a hotel with its own spa and decided to get massages.  An hour later, I was blissfully relaxed, and he was miserable and on-edge, especially because the massage involved someone touching his feet.  He doesn’t like lotions or anything that might “dirt” his hands.

The flip side is that he will squeeze me till I feel like my bones will shatter.  He constantly (accidentally) hurts me with his love, seemingly unaware of his own strength.  And he wants me to squeeze his hand or give him hugs as hard as I can (even then, it’s not enough).  If anyone saw the movie Temple Grandin on HBO–that hugging machine?  He would love that.

Don’t get me wrong–he’s a fully functioning adult, a contributing member of society.  He’s not a total freak.  And we all have our own sensory issues.  I constantly shake my foot.  Drives Hubby nuts.  It’s just something I’ve always done, and I think it helps me maintain a certain level of attention.  Also, I can’t stand the texture of watermelon.  Some people have to chew gum or have something in their mouth all the time.  Some people can’t tune out certain sounds.  The ticking of a clock can be all-consuming.  We all have our own little quirks.  Hubby’s just stand out to me because I live with them.

Of course, as an adult, he’s already learned to deal with his sensory preferences.  I worry that our kids will be little sensory messes that we’ll have to figure out how to calm down.  But if that’s the price we pay to have his genetic children, I’ll happily put my kids on a sensory diet.

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11 thoughts on “My husband’s sensory processing disorder

  1. Oh, I so feel for your husband. I definitely process the world more like him. I cringe at different textures, foods, smells, colours. Including chalk. Chalk is so out in my world that when I was a teacher, they had to install a whiteboard in my room.

    • I don’t think Hubby’s crazy about chalk, but he can handle that one. But anything greasy? Forget it. Up until a couple of years ago, he used to eat french fries with a fork! Maybe he’s making progress. 🙂

  2. I worked with kiddoes like this too when I was a school speech therapist. And my hubby has some quirks too- he can’t wear clothes that are new until they’re washed and doesn’t like odd numbers.

  3. What an interesting read! My Hubs also has sensory issues similar to your Hubby’s. He can’t stand certain textures and I have to be extra careful with the clothing I purchase for him and also the clothing I purchase for myself. We have to check out lots of different sheets and comforters to get “just the right one” so that he can stand the feel of it. It’s really interesting.

    My own sensory oddities is that I hum a lot. WIthout even noticing I’m doing it, I’ll find myself humming just for the sound.

    Thanks for visiting my blog!

    ICLW #57

    • I’ve definitely seen some genetic components in the families I work with. But there’s definitely environmental factors too. Some day I would love to adopt at least one foster baby, and they’re likely to have all kinds of sensory issues related to things like drug exposure. I feel like I could handle that. Hubby? Not so sure.

  4. You totally just described my husband… expecially the bone crushing hugs, haha. I actually can’t by anything for my husband because of his issues like the feel of clothes. He can’t stand certain materials- but he can bite through the peel of an orange?!? Blech- I cringe just thinking about it. haha. I don’t like to get my feet wet on accident. Drives me nuts. Water on my face= big deal… I have to shower with a towel over the shower curtain and wipe it every time it gets wet. You’re so right, we all have our quirks, some of them are just sooo much funnier than others!

    Just wanted to say hi from ICLW #118
    I look forward to following your journey!!
    –Sara

  5. Super interesting! I have always hated certain fibers like harsh wool on my skin. And I have really weird food issues with textures: I hate sandwiches ( soggy bread).

    My son hates tags on his clothes and my daughter hates scratchy wool, too. Darcy hates the texture of eggplants.

    Clearly we all have issues 😉

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