Eight year old Benjamin ‘Ben’ Lammon looks like any normal boy. What you cannot initially see is that he suffers from Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and Auditory Processing Disorder (APD). SPD exists when the nervous system cannot properly process sensory signals to provide the appropriate behavioral and motor responses to the demands of the environment.
With APD, individuals do not recognize subtle differences between sounds in words, even when the sounds are loud and clear enough to be heard. Both of these disorders can cause many challenges in life. Ben is constantly seeking stimulation, needing heights and speed and pressure to remain calm.
Last March, he visited iFLY for the first time and took to it immediately.
Benjamin’s mom, Beth Lammon, said that flying calms Ben’s sensory seeking needs that do not get met in the school environment. He seeks movement and sound and excitement in order to be calm. Many kids suffer this way and it is also a stigmatizing signal for kids with ADHD. Fidgeting, not being able to sit all day and focusing on random sounds rather than a paper test or work. Because of his auditory disorder, he is often very confused and then again stigmatized as not listening to directions or following tasks.
She said, “In the tunnel he just gets to feel. His body feels what to do. No directions or words or info to process. He gets 100 plus mph wind hitting him and it’s loud and he’s free to fly. So all of his stress and anxiety melt out of his body and he is super calm and extremely content deep within himself. He says it gives him peace inside all over. He is able to stay calm and concentrate better at school for a couple days after he flies.”
Lammon, a single mom of two boys with no support, works more than 50 hours a week to make ends meet, and does what she can to make sure Ben gets his time at iFLY. Insurance does not cover therapy for sensory processing disorders. It costs $100 for 10 minutes.
At iFLY, he needs the bond of a coach or teammate that understands him and can communicate with him and teach him, all of which can be created very easily inside the tunnel and the costs can add up.
Flying makes Ben feel good and it boosts his self esteem while at the same time providing the needed sensory diet. “It helps him stay balanced and content with life rather than anxious and frustrated and sad or alone,” noted Lammon.
Only 30 minutes in the tunnel a week can help him deal with his SPD, APD and ADHD.
According to Beth, “Ben is trying to raise enough money to continue to fly for therapy with his You Caring page…but he is so talented that if we can get him to nationals in Virginia Beach the first week of May…it may lend him to be seen for a sponsorship so he’d like to try and compete more.”
He is close to getting his belly flight coaching certification and they would like to be able to help other kids like him experience flying. They have begun the process to start his Free2Be Fly League, with hope for sponsors for the kids to give them free one hour small group flight sessions ($1,000 value).
A website has been set up at www.youcaring.com/helpbenfly to help raise money for Ben’s iFLY visits. Any help is appreciated.