Shannons Story - Sensory Solutions for Kids with Special Needs

One of the things I absolutely love about my job is connecting with people and hearing their life changing stories. Shannon‘s was no exception. We had previously met at school a few times during parent help ( this canteen at the school disco) but had never really had a conversation. Shannon came along to one of my workshops last year and I wanted to share her story with you.


Hello, my name is Shannon and I am a mum of two wonderfully beautiful boys, Finn and Kohdi. When I met my husband we decided quite quickly to move in together, got engaged, went off the pill to try and fall pregnant and got married. The pregnancy happened quickly. The day we found out was the happiest of my life. This was all I had been longing for and (apart from meeting my husband) knew it would make my life complete. I also wished for a healthy baby AND a baby who did not have autism. I know that sounds like a horrific admission, but it’s true. Having witnessed other close families deal with autism, I really didn’t think I would ever cope if it happened to us.

My pregnancy was uneventful until Finn decided to arrive six weeks early. So, in actual fact, all of the above plus a birth happened within 1 year of meeting my husband! Finn weighed 4 pound 3 ounces – such a tiny boy. He was whisked off to the special care nursery and I was unable to hold him for the next four days which was incredibly hard. I tried expressing milk but it just would not come through. In the end I had a hungry baby so we had to give in to formula. I really struggled emotionally with not having milk but I had no other option. He had jaundice and was on CPAPS for 4 days. His weight was constantly measured and he didn’t seem to be progressing. But we were just besotted with our beautiful baby boy. Finn stayed in the special care nursery for 3 weeks before we were finally allowed to bring him home.

Fast forward to 4 years old, and it was time for Finn to start Kinder. I couldn’t wait to be a Kinder mum, to do the school drop off, pick up, parent help & P&F, I was all in! By the end of first term, I turned to Andrew in exasperation and said that I couldn’t do it anymore. Getting Finn to and from school (with another baby in tow – Kohdi), was a nightmare. I just knew in my heart something was not right with Finn.

So I gave Andrew a list of things that were bothering me which he googled – Sensory Processing Disorder came up. As we read the description it was Finn to a T. I couldn’t believe it! Finn hated socks, shoes, tags, tight clothing, seat belts, had regular meltdowns that could last for an hour or more. He had no awareness of what was in front of him and he kept tripping over. He absolutely hated things on his hands e.g. sand, paint, glue and had a high sensitivity to pain. The list went on and on.

We consulted with the kinder teacher and she monitored his progress then reported back to us, and yes, she agreed with our thoughts. The next step was to the GP to get a referral to a paediatrician. I was absolutely horrified with the referral letter from the GP – she had written that Finn had ‘autism spectrum disorder’ and ‘developmental delay’. That one word autism. There it was. Everything I had dreamed of my whole life was turning into my worst nightmare.

A few months later we were referred to another health service for occupational therapy. It was here on his first assessment that the therapist noticed that something was not quite right with his right leg. Further tests and assessments and other specialists revealed he had ‘mild diplegic cerebral palsy’. Gosh, what else could go wrong. Diplegic cerebral palsy (CP), also known as spastic diplegia. It is a form of cerebral palsy marked by tense muscles and spasms. Leg muscles in particular tend to be extremely tight, and over time, this causes joints to stiffen, reducing the range of motion. Diplegic CP is considered one of the milder forms of the disorder, and in most cases the child’s intelligence and cognitive functions are not severely affected, although they may take longer to reach intellectual milestones.

What are the causes of Diplegic Cerebral Palsy?

Neonatal asphyxia is the most common cause of diplegic CP, which generally happens when a newborn is deprived of oxygen during the delivery process. Infants born prematurely and with low birth weight have a heightened risk of developing diplegic CP as these babies are prone to oxygen problems during birth. This description rings true for me as two days prior to Finn’s birth, he had stopped moving. I consulted my midwife and she said if I was worried to go to the hospital to get checked out – but I didn’t. Two night s later, Finn was born.

So here we are, dealing with our beautiful first born who has Sensory Processing Disorder and mild Diplegic Cerebral Palsy – highly emotional and tight muscles. Moving ahead five years and Finn still has regular physio checkups. He was required to have botox injections in both his calves and casting (plaster on his lower legs) twice and over time and though education we have learned to manage his Sensory Processing Disorder but it continues to affect his life.

I began our Essential Oil journey in July 2018. I had always had an interest in Essential Oils and now being a parent I was keen to learn more on how these oils could enhance my boy’s health and wellness. To say they have had an impact would be an understatement. I started with the small bottle kit (Family Essentials) and a diffuser. My mission was to use these oils so that my boys would grow up healthy, happy and balanced. I particularly wanted to use them to soothe Finn’s emotions. I went oil-silly!

Every day these oils were used in some shape or form, it was like my boys were my experiments. Ice Blue has been fantastic for Finn’s tight calf muscles, Lavender and Frankincense to assist to calm him down, Digestzen to soothe his tummy upsets, and On Guard to support his immune system (he was sick a lot as a toddler).

In November, doTERRA released a Kids Collection, only available in the US. I could not wait to get it onto our home. We use it everyday and what I love about this collection it empowers Finn and Kohdi and helps them decide how they are feeling at the time, how they want to feel, therefore, to know which oil blend they need to use. It is a great little kit!

I have now completed further training and created my own workshop, Sensory Solutions for Kids with Special Needs that I am so pleased to share with other families. The workshop is based around oils to support kids (and their families) with special needs.

This further training has enhanced my own knowledge and my mission is to share this knowledge with many other families and I hope that they too, can benefit immensely from using essential oils.

Shannon Thomas lives with her husband and two sons in southern Tasmania. She is a proud doTERRA Wellness Advocate. You can follow Shannon on facebook . Shannon holds regular workshops in and around Hobart, visit her facebook page for an up to date class list.