Drumming, of all things, turned out the be a savior of sorts for Benedict Carrizzo, FCRH ’18.
“The only place I didn’t feel like an awkward weirdo was on those drums,” Carrizzo said.
The reason for his discomfort in otherwise normal situations was sensory processing disorder (SPD), a neurological condition that’s characterized by difficulties in processing sensory information. For people who suffer from SPD, their sense of smell, taste, sound, sight, and touch is, for lack of a better word, out of whack.
For Carrizzo, who graduated on May 19 from Fordham College at Rose Hill with a degree in communications, that meant a reclusive childhood. Milk a cow with other children on a field trip to a farm? No way, the feel of an utter freaked him out. Gaze upon a train as it whizzed by the playground? Not an option; the noise hurt his ears. Even though he loved to play with toy trains, the sight of a real one left him trembling in fear. Even his sense of balance was affected.
“When I was little, I was the most cautious kid you could imagine. I never had a sense of where I was at a particular moment. Even on a small ledge, I’d be so careful and concise about where I was going,” he said.
With his parents’ help, Carrizzo learned how to manage most of the symptoms he endured as a child, and he recently used his experience as the basis of his radio project Hidden in Plain Sight: Sensory Processing Disorder. The 24-minute-long documentary was featured on WFUV, Fordham’s public media station, where he’s been working since his sophomore year.
“I grew up with this condition nobody knows about, and it affected my life greatly, so I thought it would be good idea to shed light on it,” he said.