Getting Zach on the Right Track

Scene:  Sparky SPD (representing sensory processing disorder) and Nicky NLD (representing nonverbal learning disability) visit OWN Studio to help a friend get on the DSM5.  Zach is having extreme behavioral problems. Sparky SPD and Nicky NLD came to visit Oprah to see how they can help an old friend out. The conversation takes place in the green room and Oprah has stepped out for a studio break.

Nicky NLD:

Sparky sit down.  Stop touching everything. You are going to get us thrown out of the studio. I knew when I came here with you it was a bad idea. What did you have to eat?  You are all jacked up. Did you eat anything with sugar in it?  Put that down. You are on sensory overload.  Don’t make me call 1-800-Jesus Christ on you.

Sparky SPD:

Chill Nicky, Oprah won’t mind if we help ourselves and take a few souvenirs.

Nicky NLD:

Oprah has a deadline to meet and we are here to help get sensory processing disorder on the list.

Sparky SPD:

You are not on the list either.  As I recall you are not on the American Psychiatric Association (APA) list nor the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) list.  Are you on the Center for Disease Control for prevention list?

Nicky NLD:

No, I am not on any of those lists. Isolation is terrible and no recognition is even worse.  There is no validation and this could hang us out to dry. The APA is trying to throw Aspergers off the list and merge it with PDD-NOS. You know that diagnosis is just not enough of anything to rate being on the list.  If Aspergers vanishes we will not make the DSM5.

Sparky SPD:

Are you serious?

Nicky NLD:

I’m way more serious than Sally Savant “splinter skills”.

Sparky SPD:

What are splinter skills?

Nicky NLD:

Splinter skills are very unique skills that a person has that are totally unrelated to their life but they do them exceptionally well. Savants are noted for these skills. There are so many skills that savants can’t achieve but they should always be recognized and respected for what they can do. No one should ever take any credit away from a person who can achieve the smallest tasks. It messes with a persons self-esteem and self-confidence. For many years, not making the list has done the same to me. I am treated totally different from state agencies, insurance companies, schools and their districts.

Sparky NLD:

Nicky, I was reading your tweets and I did not know we had all that in common.

Nicky NLD:

I spelled it out. As long as people point it out or spell it out for me I don’t get so frustrated.  It was about 30 tweets. I gave brief definitions of some of the disorders. I did not want to cause confusion because a few of the disorders get mixed up. Sparky we share and have difficulty in the following areas: hypersensitivity, apraxia, dysgraphia, fine motor, severe coordination, hypotonia, developmental delays, developing friendships and relationships (social domain), self-esteem, self-confidence, speech and language development, dyspraxia and our nervous system is wrecked.

Sparky SPD:

Are you sure we don’t have the same Dad? We’ve got so much in common. You know I always liked the song Papa Was A Rolling Stone by the Temptations.

Nicky NLD:

Okay Sparky, shorty by nature, don’t make me mad. People don’t realize that when I get angry it could be for something that happened 2 or 3 days ago. It could be something that happened for 3 or 4 years ago or even longer. The doctors call it a manifestation of one’s behavior. I call it being pissed off for a very long time.

Sparky SPD:

What strategy do you use to keep from going ballistic?

Nicky NLD:

You need to go process with a person that you can trust – like a doctor or a therapist.

Sparky SPD:

I can get pretty angry.

Nicky NLD:

That is the best time to go to your doctor.  They can help level you out by talking it out. If you don’t want to talk you can look at the ceiling. If it is your doctor or therapist you are going to pay them regardless.  You might as well talk.

Sparky SPD:

I need a safe area like you. I use to think that your mom was a decorator. When you told me she put those rooms together to calm you down that was really cool.  I love the fountains, candles and the easy colors she chose to make it like a spa. Why did your mom take the doors off the rooms?

Nicky NLD:

I cannot tell where my body space is.  Removing the doors just kept me from bumping into them. The look on your face was priceless when I told you we were in the closet. You thought it was a music room. You asked me where do I keep my clothes. I told you that we were sitting on them. You didn’t have a clue the benches were storage chest. You know I have trouble with hanging my clothes on clothes hangers. I don’t need to get frustrated.  My family always figures out a way to help me work around something that gives me difficulty. They remind me it is no big deal. They teach me alternative methods by verbalizing and pointing out what it is I need to do. As I practice the skill more I learn it and I’m ready to move on. If you tell me to go clean the room. I need to know exactly where you need me to start. They will leave notes on the computer or a sticky note on top of the computer for me to find my information. It takes a lot of work but my family wants me to be successful without the pressure. They continue to teach because I learn by a step by step method. It is habilitation, not rehabilitation.

Sparky SPD:

Man, your mama acts like she is McGuyver or Inspector Gadget. You know our house is so cluttered and it looks like something out of Rag Magazine. You know my mom doesn’t do well with changes.

Nicky NLD:

Sparky, your mom may need to change to keep your behaviors from triggering. The clutter and having no order in your life could be part of the problem. I’m not trying to place the blame on your mom or your dad. If they don’t know when it is time for them to learn. They have so much hurt, guilt,  fear, and feelings of hopelessness. All this can be changed with empowering themselves with education and learning about sensory processing disorder.

Sparky SPD:

How does your mom manage her feelings?  My parents just seem so beat down by my behavior.

Nicky NLD:

My mom and the rest of my family educate themselves on the material. She said if it is nothing up to date, She would take action, bring the information up to date and create a new format for people to learn. She and the rest of my family understand that I have a neurological disorder with unintentional behaviors. A characteristic of NLD is anosognosia.

Due to the nature of my disability, I do not have the ability to recognize the seriousness of my own problem. So I would see my peers like I view myself, not having a problem. Bottom line Sparky, I can’t put myself in other’s shoes to show compassion, empathy, and support. Don’t be frightened, I have come a very long way. Emotions are hard to teach.

Sparky SPD:

Man, that is deep. So what did your mom do?  I feel like this is a seminar.

Nicky NLD:

My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She said every adversity does not have to have an adverse effect. I have a difficult time understanding fear. She said this was a good opportunity to teach fear and other emotions. She stated that people don’t like breaking themselves down to the lowest denominator. It makes them appear weak. She said she wanted the world to know how much they are taking for granted. Their adversity would give them a greater strength  She felt if you could write, spell and read… then do it.  She expressed her fears and pointed out fears of others. I did learn a lot. I still have a long way to go.

Sparky SPD:

It is time for me to make some serious changes and start surrounding myself, with positive people, and those who have my best interest at heart. I have got a lot to learn. If you don’t mind Nicky, do you take medicine?

Nicky NLD:

No, I have several coping skills and strategies that are taught by my family members to reduce the panic, anxiety, depression, and stress. Whenever I decide to go out to dinner or a movie, I go at a time when it is not crowded. I go to a place where there is less noise. I enjoy music. Maybe Zach can read the book Musiophilia by Oliver Sacks.  One of the neuropsychologists gave it to me. It is an excellent book. I tried not to overload myself on social events. I get tired and I rest in a room with white noise and low amber lighting.  Social events I attend there are 3 being the minimum and 5 being the maximum people around.  They are very knowledgeable of my unique abilities. I use scented candles for relaxation (mild scented). When I walk, I take a backpack loaded with books for deep pressure. I have a fanny pack with mints, a stress ball, and clay. If  I get anxious, I return to my safe area. If someone is angry with me it is explained to me that the person may not be ready to talk. I have the same option as that person. I am never placed in competitive sports.

Sparky SPD:

Nicky that is a lot. Will we ever grow out of this?

Nicky NLD:

We don’t grow out of this. We grow up with this. We just have to work harder.

Sparky SPD:

I like that Bose Bluetooth you are wearing. What kind of phone do you have? I got that new droid.

Nicky NLD:

I don’t have a phone.

Sparky SPD:

What!

Nicky NLD:

One day  I was at the mall with my brother and he started complaining about everyone on their cell phone talking to other people.  He was so agitated and began to point out people who had Bluetooth attachments.  I looked at him and asked if he knew if anyone was on the other end talking. You know I process out loud and this attachment would keep me in sync. He took me out to the Bose store and purchased it for me.  I wear it all the time. Everyone looks like me but there is no one on the other end of my Bluetooth.

Sparky SPD:

You are going to have the whole world with phone gear and attachments paranoid.

Nicky NLD:

I wonder how many people are laying down their phone gear and looking at others with phones crazy?

Sparky SPD:

You need to cut that out.  Where did Oprah go?

Nicky NLD:

It’s getting late.

Sparky SPD:

Should we leave her a note or that sweater you have chewed at the sleeve? Why you do that?

Nicky NLD:

Sometimes adults with developmental delays have a tendency to eat non-food items. This is called pica. It is mostly seen in children ages 1-6 and mentally challenged persons.

Sparky SPD:

Alrightee! Let’s leave a message for Zach and his family.

Nicky NLD:

We need to let you know that you are not alone. To his mom and dad hang in there and be strong. It would devastate me if my family gave up on me.

Sparky SPD:

You are right Nicky. I don’t always see eye to eye with my parents. I wouldn’t want to be isolated or rejected by them.

Nicky NLD:

A good book to read with your parents is The Explosive Child by Ross W.Greene Ph.D.: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Child. It would be good for you to have an oral motor grocery list. When you become anxious/nervous you will have things to munch and crunch on and non-food items for your body.  Learn about your sensory system which consists of Tactile System (skin,touch), Proprioceptive System (muscles,joints and tendons), Vestibular System (inner ear,balance up/down and left/right), Gustatory System and Oral Motor Input (mouth and tongue),Visual System(eyes) and Olfactory System (nose,smell). Learn what calms your sensory system and what alerts it.

Sparky SPD and Nicky NLD:

We wish you all the luck in the world. We hope this helps.  To the parents of Zach, hang in and don’t give up. You need each other.

Zach quality time with mom and dad reading, listening to music, singing and playing games will help. You need a safe environment with trusted adults and grand guardians. Thirty-two hugs a day might help and you could use a good teacher or a mentor. A national cheerleader could boost your self-esteem. Lots of love and a stable home will shoot you to the moon.

We are rooting for you.

The Who Not The View Featuring Darlene Dyslexia

Scene:  A TV station, lights blazing and an actual live studio audience is roaring…

Mavis:

Welcome to “The Who, Not The View”  and our first guest, Darlene Dyslexia

Darlene Dyslexia:

It’s so good to be here Mavis. Love the earrings and shoes.

Mavis:

Can you tell our viewers today what new project you’ve taken on?

Darlene Dyslexia:

First I want to say something about my dear friend and longtime business partner Norvella NLD. She was unable to make it to the show today. We both have taken on the APA (American Psychiatric Association).  My girlfriend always includes her friends in her life and it’s about time that we start including her.  We are going to get Norvella NLD on the list.  Tell Anita Asperger not to worry.  When the DSM5 rolls around in May 2013 we are going to make sure that Aspergers hold their place.  Norvella NLD will have a place for the first time in our history.  Tell Wrong Planet.com to come down to earth and visit with us. We love them and we totally understand how they feel.

Mavis:

Do you mind if I call you DeDe?

Darlene Dyslexia:

Sure, I have been called lots of things in my lifetime.  I will be fine as long as people don’t get me confused with DeDe of Dextor Laboratory or Dare Devil of Marvel Comics.

Mavis:

I’m sure they won’t make that mistake. (sarcastic)

DeDe:

It’s really good seeing you after all these years.  Mad Mavis Behavior, you have really come a long way since back in the day. I just have to tell the viewers, girlfriend here wasn’t always the sweet  M&M milk chocolate.  Whoooo,  I’m proud of you.  You were a bitter b……… back in the day.

Mavis:

Hey! Hey!  This is a family show.  I’m here to talk about you.  Tell our viewers something about you (getting frustrated.)

DeDe:

Okay, don’t get your boxer shorts in a bunch.

Mavis:

Just answer the question. (steamed)

DeDe:

Now dyslexia is a learning disability that damages a person’s ability to read.  It will rise up and show its ugly head. People will notice that someone with dyslexia will have problems with speaking and spelling. When someone with dyslexia hears the sound of the words it is very hard for them to interpret and spell the word.

Mavis:

Who is the lowest man on the totem pole in your thought processing?

DeDe:

Well, Mavis, it would be what I hear, see, and notice.

Mavis:

Is your IQ connected to dyslexia?

DeDe:

I’m glad you asked.  No.   With me and others that have dyslexia,  reading and our thought process develop separately.  Norvella NLD shows strengths and weaknesses in her IQ.  My  IQ is normal but the reading kills me and this is where  Norvella NLD  kicks my tail and excels.  We are really just the opposite of each other. I have a left hemisphere disability.  Norvella NLD has a right hemisphere disability. We get along so well.  They say opposites attract.  She has a developmental disability that is neurological. My disability is not-neurological that is connected to the brain caused by factors in the brain that affect my ability to read, write and spell.

Mavis:

Is dyslexia genetic?

DeDe:

In some families, it can be inherited. Recently they have identified genes that show the person can develop dyslexia.  The Ronnie Booze family got it.  Girl, his family has got a whole lot going on.

Mavis:

Do you know if  Norvella NLD syndrome is inherited?

DeDe:

The last time I heard there wasn’t anything genetic linked to NLD.

Mavis:

Did they ever decide on a definition for you?

DeDe:

Girlfriend, I’m all over the place and it is hard to pin me down.  Maybe I can come back and do a show on all those hypothesis and theories about dyslexia and me.

Mavis:

DeDe let’s try to get through this show. So is that a yes or no on the definition of your name (frustrated)?

DeDe:

That would be no.  All of these associations have not reached a consensus on the true meaning of dyslexia. Don’t you think that suits me well?

Mavis:

I think it fits you perfect (irritated).  How did you do in pre-school?

DeDe:

Well, I have speech delays.  It takes me forever to learn new words.  Nursery rhymes I just dread.  They are so hard for me.  Sometimes my letters reverse on me.  Remember in the movie when Keifer Sutherland didn’t realize he was dead.  He passed by a shop and the reflection in the glass had the word Mirror reversed.  Kind of, sort of,  like that.

Mavis:

Earth to DeDe.

DeDe:

Sorry, I got carried away.

Mavis:

How did you do from grade 1-6?

DeDe:

Man, the alphabets were tough. Rhyming words and counting the syllables in the words are very hard. I cannot for the life of me put those sounds with the letters.  I needed an interpreter when it came to written words. If I hear a word with more than one syllable, me and Norvella NLD can really mess it up.

Mavis:

When you got older and entered Middle School, did it get any better?

DeDe:

No, my spelling was horrible like my girlfriend Norvella NLD.  She had this dictionary thing going on. You could look at her word even if it looked like it was spelled wrong, you could tell what the word was. It was strange…  it still looked like her word was 100% accurate in spelling.  My word was just wrong. The teachers didn’t understand and we both got an F.

Now I don’t think Novella NLD should have got an F.  I had a hard time reading out loud, everything was out-of-order, and I skipped over words.  Any word that was close enough to the word that I was supposed to say, I would use that word in its place.  Novella NLD and I both have trouble with organization skills.  We also have trouble with time on task.

These skills need to be in a treatment center, treating it on a daily basis.   I can’t put words to the right meaning. We both failed to know what is alike and different in words and letters.  Girl, we can crunch the letter together like you defragment folders on a computer.  We just can’t get the spacing between the words.  If Novella NLD and I have not seen the word before, it will definitely not be pronounced right.

Mavis: How are you getting along today?

DeDe:

Well, Mavis, I got so good at hiding being dyslexia that I fooled myself.  Everything runs its course and will reveal itself sooner or later.  People began to see through me. I want to make this perfectly clear to my audience.  I do not write words backward or move words around.  I have a tendency to put words that are not related to words that should be there.

Mavis:

What other learning disability you have in common with Norvella NLD?

DeDe:

Well, we both have problems in math (dyscalculia). Simple math can be difficult.  Higher math like geometry can be more understandable.  Higher math can become difficult and be very abstract like geometry to NLD.  We have problems with writing (dysgraphia).  It is hard to put our thoughts on paper.  Thank God for the computer.  I know Norvella NLD forgets letter formation and has pain and numbness in her fingers.

Mavis:

Well, Darlene Dyslexia, better known as AKA DeDe……..

DeDe:

Hey, did you ask me if you could call me DeDe??

Mavis:

On that note, I think we better go.

Darlene Dyslexia:

Okay, love you Novella NLD.  Hurry up and get well girlfriend.  I will be calling the AAP.  I mean the APA. Tell Missy Elliot, Queen Latifah, and McLyte that they can ball up my contract.  If this album has to rhyme it’s a no go. You girls know I have a major problem in this area.  Love You All.

Mavis:

You heard it from the Who Not The View and our guest,  Darlene Dyslexia.