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Is it possible for SPD to escalate as a child gets older?


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#1 nature girl

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 01:47 PM

My DD has always been somewhat sensitive (tactile only, although she does have some sensory-motor issues.) Looking back, she's always responded really fiercely to any kind of pain, although I'll admit I thought it was part of her tendency to be a little melodramatic. Over the past couple of months it's gotten worse, though. Her whole body feels itchy (especially her feet when she wears socks and/or shoes--I actually gave her a month's worth of anti fungal spray, thinking it might be athletes foot even though there's no sign of rash), but when she's barefoot (or naked) she doesn't itch at all. She's not willing to wear her (cotton) winter coat and many sweaters/sweatshirts because she says they're scratchy, and won't use her normal comforter, only a sherpa-type blanket. She's also been making me tear out all her tags. She's never had an issue with being hugged or held, enjoys back rubs, and doesn't have an issue with food textures.

 

For awhile I had her in OT (the only OT in the area), but it was a long drive and really she wasn't getting any benefit out of it, and neither of us liked the woman working with her. But I'm wondering whether I should start doing some work at home with her, brushing or whatever, I guess I'll have to look up the best methods. It just seems so strange that this has only really gotten bad now, at 8 years old...


Edited by nature girl, 08 February 2018 - 02:22 PM.


#2 Lecka

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 02:06 PM

My honest opinion is, let her feel clothes and see if they're going to work or not.  Try some different styles of socks and shoes. 

 

I think that it sounds pretty minor if you can find alternate items that work for her. 

 

I think sometimes if there is a break from the irritating things, then kids can have a kind-of a reset after a time, where they haven't been irritated for a while and their tolerance is greater because they have had a break. 

 

I don't think that is the whole answer, I think there is a place for more of desensitization too (I am actually pretty big on desensitization lol), but I think sometimes a rest with really non-irritating things can help a lot.

 

It could be that it is cumulative, and if it was just one itchy thing here or there she could manage them all individually, but at a certain point, she got a lot of exposure and now it is just more sensitive.  Especially if she doesn't like her shoes/socks -- those have to be on a lot. 

 

I think if she likes brushing and you see it to be helpful, go for it.  I don't think it is going to have a great enough effect to make up for some preferences and for finding some things itchy or constricting.  I think it is like ----- if you do brushing, you are probably still going to need to account for some preferences and try to minimize her contact with the ones that are stressful to the ones that are non-optional (like maybe shoes and socks, if you can't find some style she can do better with). 


Edited by Lecka, 08 February 2018 - 02:07 PM.

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#3 PeterPan

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 03:07 PM

That question was on the ASRS I think. That's a total aside.

Her whole body could be overwhelmed right now. Has she been on an antibiotic or eating differently or stressed or had changes? Loud or extreme sensory exposures?

Did you change brands?

Things vary with the day. Look for what changed.
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#4 nature girl

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 03:39 PM

Thanks...I read up a bit on brushing after posting, and it seems you have to do it every 2 hours to be effective, otherwise it can actually make things worse. Easy enough while we were hs'ing, but impossible now. I'll try letting her choose all her clothes, to see if it makes a difference.

 

I actually just got a message from her teacher after having written the original post, saying she's continuously calling out in class because her feet are so itchy, and it's causing a stir among the other kids, it sounds like they're starting to ostracize her for it. :( The teacher is letting her go barefoot in class (actually told all the kids they could take their shoes/socks off if they wanted, so she wouldn't feel like it was only her, which was nice of her.) But she can't be barefoot outside the classroom so...I don't know what to do.

 

 

That question was on the ASRS I think. That's a total aside.

Her whole body could be overwhelmed right now. Has she been on an antibiotic or eating differently or stressed or had changes? Loud or extreme sensory exposures?

Did you change brands?

Things vary with the day. Look for what changed.

 

 

The ASRS talks about escalating SPD, or is it just sensory issues in general?

 

There haven't been any changes, and she really doesn't have a hard time with noise. I actually bought her new seamless socks a couple of weeks ago to see if that would help, so if it was a sensitivity to detergent (we haven't changed brands) that would have improved. I really can't think of anything specific that could have triggered this.



#5 okbud

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 03:46 PM

Yes, and changing hormones can make you feel differently about things, for better or worse, too. If something is even minorly different with my body, I'm a lot more likely to have a sensory freakout out.
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#6 perkybunch

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 03:52 PM

Could it be winter?  The dry seems to make me extra sensitive, too.  I tend to itch on the tops of my feet when I wear socks.  I can't do tags either.  And lately I have been turning my undies inside out because the seams rub me.  


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#7 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 04:30 PM

Yes, is her skin drier than it used to be because of winter?  Has she changed bath soap?  Is she complaining as she is getting dressed or when she comes home from school or mostly on weekends or...?  I ask the last because DS (who likely has SPD) started having more and more issues at karate.  Turns out they had changed the cleaner they were using on the mats and it was causing a mild allergic reaction that made his feet feel "wrong" but it took forever to figure out why.  He normally didn't complain until he was home, and usually several hours after exposure, so I didn't link it to karate until later.

 

I would start a diary if you can.  Times she complains and specific item plus what she has eaten/touched, time of day, etc.  As much detail as you can.  I know that's a royal pain but it may help.  Do that for at least a week or two and see if there is any kind of pattern.  Obviously while she is at school you can't track it but maybe while she is home you can.

 

Oh, and it is awesome that the teacher is trying so hard to help her.


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#8 Lecka

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 05:32 PM

Maybe send in Crocs in her backpack?

If there are any kind of sandal she would wear she might be fine to change into them and then change out for PE.

But I would try different socks too.

I wonder a bit if this is a skin irritation and not sensory so much? She could say itchy and mean it just doesn’t feel right. If she really means itchy I do wonder, though.

Edited by Lecka, 08 February 2018 - 05:38 PM.

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#9 Lecka

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 05:44 PM

I will say I used to send in sandals and my son could change into sandals if he wanted. But he would play with his shoes and it would be a distraction at times, but if he did that he might need to put his sneakers back on.

If she liked any tights or socks, thought anything was pretty or had a favorite cartoon, I would consider anything like that. But even something she likes might bother her. Still I would consider it.

#10 Lecka

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 05:48 PM

For your original question, no, I haven’t heard of it increasing like this with age.

But maybe she has reduced supports in some way without you realizing it, maybe her previous clothes just worked better for her in some way and you didn’t realize that something about the stitching or fabric was really working well for her.

I think either that or skin irritation.

Edit: and maybe cumulative stress makes it harder for her to deal with, there is an overall stress load for kids sometimes that if it gets too high they just can’t handle other stressors as well. But I think for my son I would see this play out in a lot of ways and not just this. Unless this is her outlet because she understands to be pretty socially acceptable; which my son would not necessarily understand.

Edited by Lecka, 08 February 2018 - 05:50 PM.

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#11 Ausmumof3

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 05:54 PM

Definitely no change in washing powder? My dd isnt diagnosed but sensory issues seemed to peek at around 7 and slowly subsiding from then on so I think they can ramp up for a while. It can also be that behaviour that seems a little odd in a four year old seems painfully obviously not normal in an eight year old. Our expectations change and things seem worse.
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#12 Lecka

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 07:21 PM

That’s a good point.

#13 kbutton

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 07:25 PM

On the stress idea, maybe histamines?

 

I think dry skin is a real possibility.

 

Is she too hot? Or even too hot on just her feet? I will itch if I get too hot, and it often starts with my feet. If one part of me is too hot, and I can't get cool, the rest of me just explodes with heat and discomfort. I get itchy, anxious, and panicky. It's very uncomfortable and totally out of my control. Guess what perimenopausal hot flashes do, lol! Hot feet are the worst. When I was her age (and basically until very recently), I actually preferred my feet to be as cold as possible without them hurting because they were so hot, so often. It wasn't just perception either--I would put my foot on my mom's leg, and she would jump because my foot felt so hot it was truly uncomfortable to be touched by it.

 

If she is both itchy and hot, then it might be that she needs several things to feel better. 


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#14 nature girl

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Posted 09 February 2018 - 11:19 AM

Thank you so much for your wonderful insights. There really haven't been any changes, in clothes or in detergents, so I don't think that's it. It could very well be winter, I've been having her soak in oatmeal bath every night and putting on copious amounts of extra-hydrating lotion. I also just bought a special lotion that's apparently supposed to calm the "itch nerves," without actually making her skin numb (although some sort of skin numbing might be next...I might also try benadryl, in case it's an allergic type of reaction. And I've sent her in with sandals in her backpack, to wear in the classroom. (Thanks for the idea, Lecka.) We'll see if any of this helps.

 

Today was pajama day at school, and she always feels better in pajamas, so we'll see...If that helps, I'll send her to school in sweats every day! The teacher says she's been miserable...I just feel awful for her.