chapter  10
26 Pages

Sensory Integration

Alex, a 12-year-old middle school student in the top 10% of his class, spends much of his day with his head buried in an ornithology book. He puts on his backpack 3 minutes before the bell rings so that he is able to dart out of the classroom and into the hallway before the majority of his classmates. He carries the entire day's books in his backpack, so that he does not have to go out of his way to go to his locker. Between classes, Alex awkwardly plows through crowded halls, with his eyes facing the ground in front of him and his bird book clutched tightly to his chest, only looking up when approaching stairs. Stairs cause him profound fear despite the number of times he has traversed them. He is almost always the first person to arrive at each class, where he sits down in the back corner of the room and systematically unpacks his backpack. Alex has a routine for how he goes from one class to the next and rarely varies from that set pattern. He has a place for each pencil, paper, and book in his backpack. He lines them up on his desk in a predetermined order. After completing these routines he rests his head on his hands, with his eyes closed and his fingers in his ears, until the teacher begins the class. This same pattern repeats each class, day in and day out. Alex has few friends and spends minimal time talking with them in the hallway or conversing in general with any other students during his school day. Alex has been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome and experiences associated sensory processing difficulties.