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Issues and Voices that Matter July 29, 2010

Hey Stranger. What’s Your Story? (Chris)

Hey Stranger... What's Your Story?

At Trotwood Park in the city of Winter Springs, we meet Chris, the father of a son with SPD – sensory processing disorder. He describes the challenges his son & family face as a result of SPD. This story – offered by a stranger whom we serendipitously met at a city park — ends with a message of pride, confidence & encouragement (length – 17:42)


(Produced, reported and edited by Stephen McKenney Steck)

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Here’s the feature’s premise…with microphone in hand, producer Stephen McKenney Steck walks up to someone he’s never met and asks in a friendly and non-threatening way… “hey stranger, what’s your story?” And que sera, sera – what ever will be, will be.

Chris is about 40 years old, married with 3 kids. It’s the oldest kid – the one Chris says attends a “therapeutic school” which becomes the focus of the story as we learn how Chris discovers that his then 1-year old son has SPD, sensory processing disorder. A combination of school and therapy is working effectively for Chris’ son… but there are a few emotional moments as the story unfolds.

On-line research about SPD reveals that our “senses” are stimulated by smells, movement, touch, taste, sights and sounds. We process those senses so that we learn, socialize and function with ordinary motor skills. Yet, when our brain does not correctly process these stimuli – the result is disorder in our behavior. This disorder can be seen in a child’s fear of playground equipment or the preference for wearing only certain kind of clothes or eating only certain kind of foods, or jumping and crashing into objects.

All of us have some processing difficulties, but those become a disorder when they become disruptive, extreme and unpredictable. Most SPD diagnoses occur in children, and sometimes in adults though usually as a carryover from childhood.

According to Chris, SPD treatment is critical, though Chris says getting a clear program of treatment – let alone an acceptable medical diagnoses – is not an easy or inexpensive journey, particularly as regards the requirements of insurance carriers and educational institutions.

Extended Interview

Chris and Stephen McKenney Steck
Extended interview (24:00)

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