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So what do you do with a sensory seeking kid?


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After this thread last night, I Googled and found this list of sensory processing disorders. I discovered some things about both boys (and myself too, but I'm trying not to diagnose myself with everything under the sun. But I now know why sock and clothes were always bothering me so much as a child. And why I don't like things touching my neck. And why I like to bite DH's fingers. They're big and fat and just wanting to be squished. Hmmm...I should have added that to the "Secret Weirdness" thread)

 

Pigby: Used to be extreme tactile defensiveness, but with time and practice with certain things, I would say it's now moderate. Used to cry over new clothes and shoes, refused to touch grass barefoot, would wipe off kisses. Still freaks out about touching water and having his hair cut.

 

Still extreme hypersensitivity to movement. Scared of the small playground equipment. He'll crawl on it for awhile before he gets comfortable. Won't even touch the higher playground equipment. Can't ride a bike even with training wheels. Gets scared when people pick him up. Majorly freaks out when having to climb stairs that he's not used to. It took him until he was six years old to climb over the play pen. It took Digby until he was 2. Digby learned how to climb out of the crib. I bet Pigby still wouldn't even try (if for some weird reason I had him in a crib:lol:)

 

Used to be extreme auditory defensiveness. Used to cover his ears and cry over EVERYTHING. Toilet flushing, hand mixer, vacuum, water in the shower, crowds. I would say it's moderate now. We take his hands off his ears to get him used to things and he does it much less often now.

 

We always thought he was a super fearful child. Afraid of absolutely everything. There are other things he seems to have, but they seem mostly mild and not a very big deal. I guess with him we just go slow and gradually teach him to over come these things.

 

For Digby: He's mostly normal, but after Pigby he just seems so wild. Climbing on everything, touching everything, always needing to climb and touch me. Earlier I was sitting and he had his upper body draped across my lap, was holding my hand, and had his legs wrapped around my calf. He's always climbing all over me and touching everything he can. I guess this is normal :confused: and he'll hopefully outgrow it. Is there anything to do in the meantime? I have some sensory buckets for him, but he just usually ends up throwing everything so I put them away. I think I'm somewhat on the hypersensitive side of touch and he's on the hyposensitive side. Which is partially why he drives me nuts. I like my personal space and he's always needing to invade it.

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With kids like that, deep pressure helps. Weighted blankets, a vest with pockets loaded with heavy things, a backpack weighted with some heavy things while you're out and about -- that sort of thing. It can be tricky to find what calms a sensory-seeker, and what brings them up and makes them more hyper. It can be a fine-line. In OT, we're currently trying to figure that out with DS. There are 6 ways to move, and if your child can tell you if it brings them up or down, you can hone in on how to direct them when they're super-touchy and hyper.

 

1. Up and down (jumping, especially on a small trampoline)

2. Back & forth (swinging)

3. Crash & bump (you can set up mats, a foam or ball pit, or even crash and bump on the couch, bed, or in a pile of pillows)

4. Circles (spinning)

5. Upside down (standing on his head)

6. Heavy work (lugging heavy things, push-ups, etc.)

 

There is also a program called something like, "How Does Your Engine Run?" where kids learn to identify when their body is moving slow, medium, and fast. We're doing a new program now that feeds into that. It's for slightly older kids and covers emotions and colors. Blue is really down (sad, depressed, tired), green is good (focused, ready-to-work, happy), yellow is higher energy (hyper, unfocused, silly, frustrated), and red is totally losing control (rage, hitting, yelling). It is difficult for sensory seekers to differentiate between green and yellow because kids like this spend so much time in the yellow zone that it IS their normal. We're working on that right now.

 

When my son was younger, it definitely helped to have a lot of sensory toys available. The rice bin never worked that well for us. It would end up a mess and I'd have one more thing to clean up. We used to have a sensory toolbox for DS filled with little fidgets he could play with (putty to squeeze, toys to chew, other gizmos to keep his hands busy) as well as a body sock (Oriental Trading sells them cheap), and bubbles to blow. Until it broke, we had a small trampoline he would be on all the time and a rocking horse. Since he's gotten older, we invested in a cuddle swing for the basement which I send him to whenever I see him getting hyper when we're doing school.

 

If your child is having trouble riding a bike, you may want to look into something called Developmental Coordination Disorder. I thought DS's coordination was all related to his sensory issues, but in his case they're not. He was diagnosed with this through a neuropsych evaluation this year. He JUST learned to ride a bike at 8, almost 9. For years he couldn't even peddle a bike or tricycle.

 

Edited to add: DS also had a sensitivity to noise and sounds. It was pretty extreme, to the point where if we were at a birthday party he would tense up and become agitated if it was getting close to the singing "Happy Birthday" part. I'd have to take him out of the room or block his ears. We started bringing ear plugs or noise-cancelling headphones with us everywhere. I can see what you're doing in forcing your child to listen to the sounds in an effort to become desensitized, but it is unlikely to work with a child like that. Imagine someone making you stand next to a speaker at full-blast and telling you you're not allowed to cover your ears. It's the same for a child with this sensitivity -- it's truly unbearable for them. DS gradually outgrew it, and is now at the point where we can take him to places like Rainforest Cafe without having him freak out over the noise. The noise in stadiums (we take him to watch hockey games) still bothers him, but it's LOUD. He'll either plug his ears, become agitated and unfocused, or both. He will always be on the sensitive side to noise, but it's no longer unbearable for him. Your son may well outgrow this or learn to cope with it over time as well.

Edited by jujsky
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Unfortunately there's a lot of trial and error with Sensory Processing Disorder.

In addition to the above suggestions,

*the resistance of bike riding is the most effective for our sensory seeking son.

*carrying a weighted backpack around seems to help a little bit.

*sleeping under a weighted blanket has helped.

*a body sock where he can get in and push against its resistance

*being swaddled tightly and then rolling a therapy ball on him.

*playdough

*rubber band play

 

Our son needs almost a constant stream of the above to stay regulated.

 

Hope these help!

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OT. Seriously.

 

Life after OT is 180 degrees different. Ds will always have these issues, but we now have tools to deal with them, and he can mostly cope by using his strategies. Tae Kwon Do has helped a lot too. (In fact he is outside right now practicing some TKD to help him focus on math this morning.)

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My son was diagnosed with ASD[autistic Spectrum Disorder] .I learned that with ASD they can go from Hyposensitive [not getting enough sensory information] to hypersensitive [getting too much sensory information].At times he can be really sensitive to noise,usually when combined with other stress factors- like a crowded even or the church nativity.Then he covers his ears[ we must get him ear defenders]

Sometimes he likes noise.Sometimes he is desperate for over the top bear hugs - [weighted blanket is awesome for this] Sometimes he reacts with pain when we touch his shoulder.We had him melting down in Universal Studios because someone brushed against him.Again the key seems to be crowded or over stimulating places means he becomes hypersensitive to touch,noises ,smells...

We have a chewey for him too when he wants to chew something .It helps save his clothes from being eaten to destruction.

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OT. Seriously.

 

Life after OT is 180 degrees different. Ds will always have these issues, but we now have tools to deal with them, and he can mostly cope by using his strategies. Tae Kwon Do has helped a lot too. (In fact he is outside right now practicing some TKD to help him focus on math this morning.)

 

 

:iagree:

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Edited to add: DS also had a sensitivity to noise and sounds. It was pretty extreme, to the point where if we were at a birthday party he would tense up and become agitated if it was getting close to the singing "Happy Birthday" part. I'd have to take him out of the room or block his ears. We started bringing ear plugs or noise-cancelling headphones with us everywhere. I can see what you're doing in forcing your child to listen to the sounds in an effort to become desensitized, but it is unlikely to work with a child like that. Imagine someone making you stand next to a speaker at full-blast and telling you you're not allowed to cover your ears. It's the same for a child with this sensitivity -- it's truly unbearable for them. DS gradually outgrew it, and is now at the point where we can take him to places like Rainforest Cafe without having him freak out over the noise. The noise in stadiums (we take him to watch hockey games) still bothers him, but it's LOUD. He'll either plug his ears, become agitated and unfocused, or both. He will always be on the sensitive side to noise, but it's no longer unbearable for him. Your son may well outgrow this or learn to cope with it over time as well.

 

 

Wow, didn't know other kids felt this way. My son is exactly the same and hates the happy birthday song. We'd have to go outside when ever at birthday parties. We don't even sing it to him on his birthday. He doesn't like celebrations with yaying or clapping. He's gotten better but still doesn't like it. We are working on his aversion to crowds and loud noises, but I know he'll never really like it. I have a tendency to avoid the loud, noisy, crowded places myself. Just too overwhelming.

 

 

Don't have much to offer for original op. :bigear: Picking up on useful information though.

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Dd was like your Pigby. Notice I said "was."

 

It did take years of what others saw as giving in and babying to get her to not be afraid of every little thing. Luckily she was never afraid of stairs.

 

Every piece of clothing had to be tried on to make sure it didn't hurt. Some pieces didn't hurt in the store but once she wore them for a few minutes they hurt so once I found something she could wear I bought the same style just different colors. She wore dresses for years and years.

 

She is okay with most noises now. She will flush and even vacuum. I had to give her warning so she could cover her ears when there was going to be a loud noise - vacuum, blender, power tools. But life had to go on so all she got was the warning. Eventually she was too busy doing her own thing to cover her ears so she grew out of it.

 

Lots and lots of patience was needed. Both for her and for other people who thought we were spoiling her. :glare:

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I dont know how much OT costs, but we probably won't be able to afford it. I would like to put him in gymnastics so his love of flying through the air is in the hands of professionals, but we can't afford that either

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I dont know how much OT costs, but we probably won't be able to afford it. I would like to put him in gymnastics so his love of flying through the air is in the hands of professionals, but we can't afford that either

 

Ok, honestly and gently, can you afford NOT to do something? I would at least be looking into insurance and sliding scale coverage. There is a fantastic therapy center around here that accepts mostly state covered insurance, and waives fees or does sliding scale for most of the rest of their patients who qualify.

 

There is a window of time where therapy is most effective, and while it is still beneficial later, efforts get maximum results in the 3-7 age range, which is right where your kids are.

 

I have a friend whose ds was diagnosed with SPD and recommended for OT at 5 y.o., the same diagnosis as my ds. We opted for OT, and they did not due to busy schedules and cost. Her ds is doing very poorly now, requires a 1 on 1 aide all day in a specially contained classroom, and cannot safely be around other kids w/o full time adult supervision, or function on any kind of a team or in a group. She is now paying more for counseling, psychiatry, and everything else than she would have paid for OT back when he was younger and is extremely worried about his future at the age of 8. She can't even get him into martial arts or sports that might help with his sensory issues because he can no longer safely function around other kids. She'll never know if doing OT as recommended could have prevented a lot of these problems, but I know she wishes she had at least tried it. I do know that our results have been completely opposite their family's.

 

I have another friend who also recognized sensory issues in her son, put off OT at age 5, and now is doing OT 4 days a week with her 7 y.o. because he cannot function at all in the classroom. She has expressed that she wishes she would have just taken care of it earlier, because his issues are only becoming more pronounced and he is struggling more as he gets older.

 

The truth is they may or may not outgrow it, and both bad and good outcomes are possible. But I do have experience with people who regret the decision not to pursue OT and IMHO, I'd be pursuing it any way I could. I don't know anyone IRL who regrets the money they spent on it, even if they had to do payment plans or take on some debt.

Edited by FairProspects
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Ok, honestly and gently, can you afford NOT to do something? I would at least be looking into insurance and sliding scale coverage. There is a fantastic therapy center around here that accepts mostly state covered insurance, and waives fees or does sliding scale for most of the rest of their patients who qualify.

 

There is a window of time where therapy is most effective, and while it is still beneficial later, efforts get maximum results in the 3-7 age range, which is right where your kids are.

 

I have a friend whose ds was diagnosed with SPD and recommended for OT at 5 y.o., the same diagnosis as my ds. We opted for OT, and they did not due to busy schedules and cost. Her ds is doing very poorly now, requires a 1 on 1 aide all day in a specially contained classroom, and cannot safely be around other kids w/o full time adult supervision, or function on any kind of a team or in a group. She is now paying more for counseling, psychiatry, and everything else than she would have paid for OT back when he was younger and is extremely worried about his future at the age of 8. She can't even get him into martial arts or sports that might help with his sensory issues because he can no longer safely function around other kids. She'll never know if doing OT as recommended could have prevented a lot of these problems, but I know she wishes she had at least tried it. I do know that our results have been completely opposite their family's.

 

I have another friend who also recognized sensory issues in her son, put off OT at age 5, and now is doing OT 4 days a week with her 7 y.o. because he cannot function at all in the classroom. She has expressed that she wishes she would have just taken care of it earlier, because his issues are only becoming more pronounced and he is struggling more as he gets older.

 

The truth is they may or may not outgrow it, and both bad and good outcomes are possible. But I do have experience with people who regret the decision not to pursue OT and IMHO, I'd be pursuing it any way I could. I don't know anyone IRL who regrets the money they spent on it, even if they had to do payment plans or take on some debt.

 

It's not a matter of, "Hey, if we don't go on vacation or sell the second car or cancel Netflix, we could afford it." It's a matter of, "Hey, if we don't eat for the month we could afford it." :lol:

 

We only have the bare necessities for bills. We just plain don't make very much.

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It's not a matter of, "Hey, if we don't go on vacation or sell the second car or cancel Netflix, we could afford it." It's a matter of, "Hey, if we don't eat for the month we could afford it." :lol:

 

We only have the bare necessities for bills. We just plain don't make very much.

 

If that is the case, do you have state insurance for your kids? I know income guidelines vary by state, but they should cover it in full. I just wouldn't be so sure you can't afford it because it may be covered. I also do know people who took on debt for therapy and felt that it was good debt. The difference is whether you classify OT as a want or a need. For us, OT was definitely a medical need so we did whatever it took to make it happen (including a major fight with our insurance company which almost went to a lawsuit). I do know it is not an easy decision, so best of luck to you, whatever you pursue.

Edited by FairProspects
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Try reading The Out of Sync Child Has Fun. Lots of suggestions. It's very trial and error- try everything and see if it sticks. If an activity or accomodation is working, you'll know immediately.

 

I have The Out-of-Sync Child and The Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun if you want to borrow them, and the Provo library has them, too. Before 3, I'd say Early Intervention, but I'm not sure how they handle it here after 3. Dd "graduated" a month before.

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Try reading The Out of Sync Child Has Fun. Lots of suggestions. It's very trial and error- try everything and see if it sticks. If an activity or accomodation is working, you'll know immediately.

Thank you, I'll try that.

I have The Out-of-Sync Child and The Out-of-Sync Child Has Fun if you want to borrow them, and the Provo library has them, too. Before 3, I'd say Early Intervention, but I'm not sure how they handle it here after 3. Dd "graduated" a month before.

Sure that would be great. They both appear to be unavailable for checkout.

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I never found OT to be rocket science. We did it for a short time, because of our own limited insurance coverage, and it didn't really help. I know others have been helped a lot, though.

 

If you could read all the books you can get your hands on about SPD and then go to a few OT sessions, I think you may learn enough to implement things at home. My dd had the worst case of tactile defensiveness, as in could hardly get out of the house because of the clothes/socks/shoes problems. She's 11 and rather fine now besides some handwriting issues. No one would guess there ever was an issue. But the tough years were tough, no doubt about it!

 

Instead of OT, we kept our dd very active. She's done kung fu since age 4 and plays piano. Music is great for brain stimulation and integration. I've been told by a visual processing specialist and a physical therapist that music is the best thing we could do for our dd's with processing issues.

 

It does run in families. I see it in myself and my siblings and my niece and nephews. Two of my kids very obviously hypersensitive and one is hyposensitive. One has another processing disorder. We're a mess!!! :lol:

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We just started in Early Intervention in Provo and the sliding scale fee schedule is amazingly affordable. That's for zero to three, but I imagine through the school district for kids over three, it's also either free or very affordable. They also told me that they cannot deny services simply because of lack of ability to pay, so you could, if the cost per month was too high, tell them that and get services.

 

The sliding scale starts at $10 per month and goes to $100 per month. I bet you would not have to pay more than $20, if that.

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I'll just share one super easy thing to set up that ds just LOVED--and so did kids who came to visit. We have swings (with a bar that he could hang off) outside and we bought a waterbed mattress, filled it up and put it under the swings. So ds could run and fling himself onto the waterbed or deliberately fall off the swings or bar and crash. It was terrific proprioceptive input and a great hit with his friends. A waterbed mattress doesn't cost all that much and lasted about a year.

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Unfortunately OT was not covered by our insurance. We're using our HSA to pay for it but we still don't have a lot laying around since we're paying off three adoptions.

We found a place that was willing to work with us. We paid for the eval which the most helpful. We did 1 session per month for a couple months so our OT could get to know our son and I could get my questions worked out. Now that I'm armed with a definitive diagnosis (different that I had thought after research), I can do more informed research. Our OT is happy to answer specific questions by email and we'll probably check in with her quarterly. It was definitely worth the cost to us even if we needed to cut back in other areas to make it work.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have 3 sons on the SPD spectrum. We begged, borrowed, and all-but-stole to get them into OT, which changed our lives. If there is truly no way you can manage OT (and not all OTs are created equal when it comes to SPD...if you're ever able to manage it, you want one specifically trained in SPD, preferably one who does OT in intensives: every day for a period of time rather than 1 hour/week forever...that kind of OT tends to get less results), here are some things that might help:

 

Diet change: eliminate high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors and flavors, BHT, BHA, sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite

 

OT at home: Dianne Craft has a program called Brain Integration Therapy, which has some elements of OT that you can do at home. Her Biology of Behavior program was a lifesaver for us as well.

 

Books: The Out of Sync Child and The Sensory Sensitive Child are my favorites.

 

Yahoo groups: Sensory Homeschool; SID-DSI_AllAboutKids

 

I have a question for those of you who've posted about weighted blankets. One of my sons still has a problem with getting to sleep and staying that way at times. He can go for months and be fine, but if his routine gets interrupted, it can take weeks to regulate him again. Will you please post or pm me with web addresses for where you've purchased your blankets?

 

Thanks, and good luck to you, Meggie.

 

Becky

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After this thread last night, I Googled and found this list of sensory processing disorders. I discovered some things about both boys (and myself too, but I'm trying not to diagnose myself with everything under the sun. But I now know why sock and clothes were always bothering me so much as a child. And why I don't like things touching my neck. And why I like to bite DH's fingers. They're big and fat and just wanting to be squished. Hmmm...I should have added that to the "Secret Weirdness" thread)

 

:lol: because just a few hours ago I was lying next to my dh and said, "I really think I need to bite your arm!"

 

and

 

Several years ago, I was filling out a sensory profile for my son. My 16 year old was helping me as we discussed the comment and how it related to ds. About half way through, I looked at my daughter and said, "You know, a lot of these things describe me, too." Without missing a beat, she looked right at me and said, "Ya' think!?!?!"

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:lol: because just a few hours ago I was lying next to my dh and said, "I really think I need to bite your arm!"

 

and

 

Several years ago, I was filling out a sensory profile for my son. My 16 year old was helping me as we discussed the comment and how it related to ds. About half way through, I looked at my daughter and said, "You know, a lot of these things describe me, too." Without missing a beat, she looked right at me and said, "Ya' think!?!?!"

 

:D

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