My name is Bayleigh Cluett, I am 15 years old and I have Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). I was diagnosed with this when it was still called Sensory Integration Disorder. I had a grade 3 brain bleed (a 4 being the worst) when I was a baby. They told my parents I might not be able to walk talk or even function on my own. The doctors performed a miracle and I turned out better than they expected! I was diagnosed with sensory integration when I was six. My mom kept asking my pediatrician if something was wrong with me and they just kept telling her I was a difficult child.
Once I was diagnosed, I started going to occupational therapy. This included banana suits, moon shoes, brushes, too tight clothing, trampolines and much more. I look back on occupational therapy as a HUGE help because I could not stand car seats, jeans, buttons, zippers, belts, pockets, earrings or even being late to a birthday party. I would completely shut down and start crying. My sensory issues were so bad that my parents would not take me anywhere because I was such a pill to be around. When when we had field trips at school I wasn’t allowed to go unless my mom drove me because no other parents wanted to take me (due to the restraint of the car seats).
My doctor told my parents I needed to be involved in a sport or something to help me stimulate my body. I was involved in gymnastics ever since I could walk which eventually led for my love of cheerleading. I began cheer when I was eight. We cheered at football games, had competitions in Vegas, Arizona, SDSU, Long beach, and went to Florida for nationals. I stayed with the Pop Warner Program until seventh grade where I also cheered at Tri City Christian and on to Vista Pop Warner for my eighth grade year and then onto Vista High School on their freshman cheer team. Now I am on the Varsity team at Rancho Buena Vista High. I love this sport so much that I would do anything to be able to be stay in it. This includes wearing the super tight shoes and socks I am now used to and the itchy scratching uniform and being able to cheer in front of a huge crowd.
My mom was such a huge help to me because she would come to my school every day to help me with the exercises I had to do at lunch because my teacher would not help me. My mom would also perform brushing techniques and joint compressions three times a day. She also helped me because she was a gymnastics director at the YMCA, Stars and Stripes Gymnastics, Stagecoach and Gyminey Kid’s Gymnastics and Calavera Gymnastics. She also coached my cheer team all six years I was in Pop Warner. She is my rock and someone I can turn to for anything. I could not have done this without her; she took me to all my football games, coached my practices, and came to all my competitions. I don’t know how she was able to take care of me. I was such a difficult child and that was because I was super stubborn on top of having SPD.
I remember one morning my mom went to work and my dad was still at work when my carpool came to pick me up. My grandpa was watching me and we were going to be late for school. I didn’t want to be late so I hid under the car and wouldn’t come out until my dad got home and peeled me out and sent me to school. I hated to be late. My third grade classroom was all the way at the other end of the school and I was so upset that I had a melt down before I got to class. I also remember one birthday when my grandpa took me somewhere before my party. We got back late for my own party and I started freaking out. I also hated it when everyone sang the birthday song to me. I would hide under the table. SENSORY OVERLOAD.
If you told me when I was six that I would be doing all of this, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. I am glad I had all the help and support that I needed because without it, I would not have been able to accomplish all these goals. I am very grateful for all the support and all I have done; I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I want to say thank you to God for everything He has done for me and my mom for all the support and help she gave me, and all my doctors I had because they truly helped me in a way I cannot explain, and all my coaches, teachers, friends and family for all they have done for me over the years.
Thank you for reading: Bayleigh Cluett, 15