Sensory processing disorder / sensory integration issues — The Bump
Special Needs

Sensory processing disorder / sensory integration issues

I haven't posted on TB in a loooooong time. DS, Colin, is almost 5 and was just diagnosed with sensory processing disorder. He was also tested for Autism Spectrum Disorder and was found to have markers (the biggest being that he stims and flaps his hands/arms), but not quite enough for a diagnosis. The psychologist who tested him wrote "ASD - Deferred," meaning that we will need to have him reassessed as he gets older to see if he has developed more markers. She explained that many kids can't truly be diagnosed until they reach an age (somewhere between 8 and 10) where their peers are developing socially, but they seem to stay behind.

Are there any SPD mommies here? We're waiting for a referral to an OT and I don't know what to expect just yet. He will also be starting kindergarten at a public school in the fall, and I worry because at preschool he's been hitting and pushing his classmates when he starts to feel overstimulated.

I'm hoping that OT will be helpful to him and that we'll be able to get him the resources he needs at school.

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Re: Sensory processing disorder / sensory integration issues

  • DD1 (SPD) started OT in January and by the end of the first week, we could see a difference. It helped immensely. She was going twice a week and we did brushing at home, as well as reflex exercises and core muscle building exercises. She started therapeutic listening after a couple of months and that really made a difference. We've had to stop going because our health insurance has a limit on visits, but we're looking into paying cash for extra appointments. She will be 5 in December and has "outgrown" a number of issues that were very prevalent just a year ago. She's in a Montessori preschool, but wears noise reducing headphones to avoid sensory overload. I'm thinking that we'll be homeschooling her after that because I know that she would not be able to hack it in a regular public school classroom as she stands right now.
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  • That's what I'm afraid of. We have talked about homeschooling, but we really can't afford for one of us to stay home right now. It seems to me that if he could avoid high student/teacher ratios, that would help. He is currently in a preschool class of 17 kids and it's just too much for him most days. He is hurting his classmates daily and while the administration is understanding of our situation, they have also mentioned that we "need to do something" when so many kids are getting hurt. I offered to come in and shadow him one day this week; maybe that will help. I don't know. 

    I'm glad OT helped your DD.. hoping it will make a big difference in DS, but I'm STILL waiting on the referral to go through. I've been making a lot of calls, it's been hard to get someone to call me back. As if we weren't stressed enough already. 

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  • Chiming in late, but wanted to offer some encouragement. My DD (almost 7 now) was diagnosed with SPD two years ago. She's always had some autistic traits (hyperlexia, speech issues, social immaturity), although never enough to quite push her into official ASD territory. SPD works really well as shorthand for her unique challenges, although no one IRL seems to have heard of it.

    Let me just say she is now a very successful first-grader in her public, neighborhood school. The first couple of months of kindergarten were ROUGH. I kept worrying that the school was going to call me and say they'd have to put her into the special ed classroom. But my fears were overblown. The challenges your kid with SPD will face are no worse than the challenges plenty of other kids will run into. Lots of kids go into kindergarten with their parents not realizing they're dealing with ADHD, dyslexia, etc. We just use that year to figure stuff out, you know?

    We started OT about 6 months before kindergarten began and made a lot of progress. Brushing worked great to calm her down. We also did tendon guard reflex release exercises (look into them). We never understood how much anxiety she was dealing with until, suddenly, she started relaxing. That, too, was hard, because I felt guilty for not seeing it before.

    Your SPD kiddo can go into public school, into a mainstream classroom. There's no reason not to. We've found our daughter to be challenged in ways I don't think she would have been in a homeschool or nontraditional environment. Yeah, it's hard. Harder for you than for DD. But she'll grow. My DD took headphones into music class all of her kindergarten year to block out the noise. Now, she doesn't. She actually participates. She's gone from ignoring her classmates to making real friends. She's a quirky little girl, and the teachers adore her. She'll grow up going to school with the kids who live down the street from her, at a school that's within walking distance.

    So, do what's best for your family. We never know what challenges we'll face, so don't let a little hint of SPD/ASD/whatever keep you from what you want. You'll adjust as you go along. I hope that helps.
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