A Bad Day at The Zoo or Sensory Processing Disorder?


My 4 year old son has been seeing an occupational therapist to help with his behavioral issues. She suggested that my son has a sensory processing disorder to explain why he will listen to instructions at home, but have a complete meltdown when in public.

For instance, we recently went to the zoo and it was a nightmare. He would run under a fence after the zebras, completely disregarding what we were saying. He would have a meltdown and throw himself at the ground when we wouldn’t let him ride the camel twice in a row. He took off running for the playground when we were trying to convince him to join us to feed the giraffe. Picking him up when he’s angry only seems to cause him to scream and make a scene. It’s embarrassing because none of the other kids do this. To add, he’s also seeing a speech therapist because he’s behind in his speaking abilities.

What do you make of this? Are sensory processing issues real? Or is his behavior in public a reflection of my parenting abilities? I try to be the cool, calm, collected parent when this happens but it happens all the time and it’s always in public.

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