Now that the dust has settled a little bit from last week’s elections I’m hoping that the nation is moving toward acceptance; regardless of what side of the aisle you sit on. This idea of acceptance was really driven home for me as I sat in the office of my daughter’s psychiatrist last week.
Jayden has really been struggling with her sensitivity to sound both at school and at home. What does that mean? Well you know all that background noise everybody hears every day…. a tapping of a pencil, throat clearing, sniffing etc…she can’t block out that noise. In fact it upsets her so much that she will have to leave the room or clasp her hands over her ears and curl up into a ball (imagine the position you are instructed to assume when a plane is going down) if she is unable to get away from the noise. As you can imagine cold and flu season are tough for her and to top it off her brother has asthma.
Over the past year we have tried numerous strategies to help her cope. Ear buds, noise canceling headphones, white noise…we’ve tried it all but Jayden had reached a breaking point and no longer wanted to go to school and couldn’t sit through a family meal if anyone was sniffing. So we are sitting in the office of the psychiatrist and as we are about to leave she asks, “Do you have any tips to help me with my sensitivity to sound?” And instead of offering us a new medication or accommodation to try she begins a dialogue with my daughter on what is the worst thing that can happen if she experiences this problem. Jayden responds with a few things that could go wrong but then admits that she just ends up feeling very very upset. And this is where the magic happened, the doctor began to talk to Jayden about accepting this sensitivity as part of who she is…yes we can try to lessen the frustration with headphones and white noise but in the end she will have to accept and deal with the frustrating feelings. This has been the best medical advice she has been given in a long time and the most amazing part is that she got it.
As we drove back to school, Hilary Clinton’s concession speech aired on the radio. My 10 year old daughter listened intently to a painful and heartfelt acceptance. I held back tears as together we listened to Clinton’s words,”And to all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and to achieve your own dreams.” I think we both learned a deeper meaning to the word acceptance last week.