In The Beginning.
We start off with the diagnosis, my Chloe has SPD(sensory processing disorder). She is largely in the category for "sensory seeker", meaning she needs more stimulation then other children to get her senses really working good. When we first got the information, I'm the type of parent that dives in full bore to the issue. I want all the information I can get and fast. I read "The Out-Of-Sync child by Carol Stock Kranowitz, M.A. in record time. I stayed up late at night looking through information on websites and support groups. Joined the Facebook page for Sensory Processing Disorder and reached out for help and more information on this diagnosis. I can tell you that for me I wanted to do what was best for Chloe and spent the first few weeks working myself to the bone. I just was thirsty for knowledge and ways to help Chloe, however, everything can be overdone and for me I just wanted to get started right away and in the back of my head I was thinking that therapy would start and right away we would see a difference. Parents who are reading this, that are new, therapy takes time and it is good to have a lot of information but as I have come to realize therapy, although great, is a process.
Therapy for my child is vastly different then therapy for every child. My goal is to document our experiences in hopes that it can help another family that may be dealing with a similar situation. As I said above, Chloe is a sensory seeker, however there are different categories for sensory children. First, would be an over responsive child, children that are over responsive have an aversion to many things, for example clothing, food, certain textures, unexpected touches, or light touches, covers ear for loud noises. You may notice they also avoid playground activity or appear rigid or uncoordinated. Second, would be a under responsive child, these children seem to have more of a go with the flow feeling about them. Signs, for the under responsive child would be doesn't notice objects, or being moved, seems lethargic, seems more alert after doing physical activity, responds slowly to objects coming toward them. Third, would be sensory seeker, things to look for would be; loves to dump out all their toys and rummage through them, loves to spin, jump, bounce and doesn't seem to get dizzy. Craves more physical contact, bear hugs, pillow fights, likes objects that are shiny or spinning, lick or taste inedible objects. You can, also, have a combination of these in your child and that is where it can get tricky. This is just a really basic list of signs/symptoms but if you notice some of them it would be a good idea to take a quiz which I have have attached to this hub. It is easy to do and it may help identify some possible issues that you can speak to your doctor about at your next appointment. I would really stress the importance of documentation. In children with SPD, unlocking your child and finding what is going to work for you and for them can all be done with writing down good times and bad times. For example, if your child starts to have a fit or meltdown, try and think about what was going on right before, even if you don't think it is important it could be more then you know. I also, suggest listening to your child. I know when you are a parent and you have kids, they seem to have a melt down every other moment but sometimes it is more meaningful then you think. I began jotting notes down for Chloe and it unlocked several things for us. One being, Chloe would have a fit if we went somewhere too fast. We now realize that we have to take 1-2 hours of prep time before getting her out the door. That made a huge difference getting her to preschool and not having a meltdown all the way there and for at least 20 minutes after we arrived. I know it seems like a lot but I would rather get up earlier then have her be stressed and have a whole day of unhappiness. That way we can start working on a plan to shorten that time maybe just a couple of minutes and just keep working so her transition time will be better. I would suggest getting some of those composition notebooks and take notes, this will also be a big help to your doctor and your therapist.
Sensory Processing Disorder Self Checklist
- Attachment Disorder Therapy - Center for Family Development
Attachment Disorder Center evaluating and treating adopted and foster children and teens with reactive attachment disorder and adoption related issues. We treat US and Internationally adopted children.
Dennis Thorgesen from Beatrice, Nebraska U.S. on December 31, 2012:
One of the little ones here displays all the behaviors I read above. He is diagnosised ADHD. Diagnosis aside what worked with him to speed him up was a contest. One of our vehicles doesn't have front air bags. If he is the first one ready he gets to sit in the front seat.
He is not an only child and has learned he likes to be first. At first we had problems explaining to the other children they had to dress slow so he would win. After a while this was no longer a problem. The other children did win a few times. Every time there was a melt down.
We do have it down to where we can get out the door in twenty minutes now. At first it took over two hours. It took all preschool and about a month of kindergarten to get to this point.
C E Clark from North Texas on December 27, 2012:
This is a very interesting hub about something I had never heard of before. It's good that you are writing about this subject and sharing your experiences, not only for the sake of parents who may not understand how to deal with a child who has this disorder, but for the rest of us too, who may have to work with children with this disorder.
Anna (author) from Auburn, Indiana on September 04, 2012:
What has really been helping Chloe is her Occupational therapist and it then us just continue everyday an hour or two going through what our therapist does with her. When we started it seemed like Chloe didn't pay attention to us at all, we would get on the floor with her and try to play with her and she would just do her own thing like we weren't there. What we started doing slowly in regards to the playing is we would instead of trying to get her to do what we were doing we would try and play with whatever she was doing. So if she wanted to dump blocks and put them back we would do that with her. At first she would get a little upset when we would touch her toys or invade her space but little by little she would let us. This sets up play time on her own terms. Another example was we have this little mini elmo piano toy she would push keys and play with it then I would push a key. The thing that helped the most was letting her come to us, and also looking at what was her favorite toys and focusing our play around those. I'm not sure if you are working with an OT but that would be my suggestion ours has been very helpful. We are currently working on baby sign language skills in order to try and get her to at least try and ask for things even if the words are not yet there. Let me know how the seizure appointment turns out I know that my husband shows signs of sensory processing disorder and he had language delays and also had seizures as a young child but grew out of them. Best of Luck and keep me posted if you have any other questions I have many other techniques that we have tried so just let me know if this doesn't work and I will get back with you.
Carrie Bohren on September 04, 2012:
Wileyspeaks- you are writing my story. My little two year old is a sensory seeker. She is just what you described and more. She started haveing seizures in May and they can't figure out why. She is getting tested for autism in October. Other than the seizures ( 3 times a day meds are helping- BUT I WANT TO KNOW WHY THEY ARE HAPPENING AND HEAL HER NOT JUST MEDICATE), a verbal delay all her " weird/autistic" behaviors are sensory related. I really want to help her. We have done all kinds of things and I can usually meet her sensory needs to help with behaviors EXCEPT her dumping toys and aimlessly scattering them. Do you have any suggestions on this?
Anna (author) from Auburn, Indiana on July 31, 2012:
Hi SmartAndFun- I agree with you sensory seekers sure do look like ADD and I think honestly we were just really lucky to get the diagnosis right so early. I have thought about gymnastics for my little Chloe because her favorite activity is to bounce and bounce and bounce. LOL I really love hearing from other parents that have children going through the same things and learning more and more about SPD!! Please feel free to leave your suggestions too for older kids with SPD so that other parents can learn things that they can try. I hope to hear from you again. Thank you so much!!!
SmartAndFun from Texas on July 28, 2012:
Hi wileyspeaks, nice to meet you. I too have a child with SPD; she is also a sensory seeker. She is 14 now. I didn't realize what she had until she was 8 and a teacher kept insisting she had ADD and the pediatrician kept insisting she did not. Sensory seekers sure can look like like they have ADD, so be prepared when Chloe starts school. I wish I would have been. The best thing I did for my sensory seeker was put her in gymnastics. She loves to jump and spin and it helps her concentrate. If she's having trouble focusing on algebra homework I send her out back to our trampoline for 5-10 minutes and she does better after that. She is a daredevil and loves speed, height, spinning and movement of any kind. She is now a competitive trampolinist, LOL, it suits her perfectly. She trains at her gymnastics gym 6 hours a week. At one point I dialed the hours down because I thought she needed more homework time and down time, but her grades actually went down! The SPD has lessened as she has grown older, but I think she will always be this way to some extent. It does get difficult at school sometimes. They had a sensory room with a mini tramploine and a rocking chair at her elementary school but she was not allowed to use it because she is not learning disabled (a state requirement to receive that "service.") Sorry to go on and on, I just wanted to give you glimpse of things you might come up against in the future. Best of luck to you and darling Chloe!