Friday, October 29, 2010

About sensory processing...

Good morning, wow it has been a difficult one at my house. Not only do we have about $10,000 worth of wind damage to deal with, but our own little "hurricane" "A" blew through this morning. Talk about stormy, he was extremely irritable. From the moment he woke up until I walked him into the classroom. We had a MAJOR meltdown this morning. It was one of the most serious I have seen so far! I'm not sure what is making "A" so upset. Maybe it is the change in weather. Alex has sensory processing disorder this is common with children with autism but can also occur with other disorders or even by itself.

Children with SPD may be hypersensitive to touch, as infants these kids often do not like to be held or cuddled. They may be fussy during diaper changes and hate having their hair washed or brushed, they wipe kisses away, and they prefer being hugged. They dislike messy play, certain textures and they may hate wearing clothes, dislike the seams in their socks and are picky eaters. A's baby brother Elijah is like this. He was born extremely early he was not held often during his early months and when he was held it was often to receive uncomfortable or painful treatments.

Children with SPD may also be hypo sensitive to touch. These kids are considered under responsive they

  • crave touch, needs to touch everything and everyone

  • are not aware of being touched or bumped unless they are bumped with extreme force or intensity

  • are not bothered by injuries, like cuts and bruises

  • may not be aware that hands or face are dirty or feel his/her nose running

  • may be self-abusive; pinching, biting, or banging his own head

  • mouths objects excessively

  • frequently hurts other children or pets while playing

  • repeatedly touches surfaces or objects that are soothing (i.e., blanket)

  • seeks out surfaces and textures that provide strong tactile feedback

  • thoroughly enjoys and seeks out messy play

  • craves vibrating or strong sensory input

  • has a preference and craving for excessively spicy, sweet, sour, or salty foods

"A" seems to be more of a hypo sensitive kid, but has some hypersensitive tendencies as well. One of the things A does is play with my bangs. When he is nervous or sleepy he wants my hair, it doesn't matter where we are at, he will ask for my hair. A is also a kid that likes to wrestle, jump, and pretty much bounce off of things and people! One treatment A has been prescribed by his OT is a Sensory Diet with Heavy work Activities. Some of these activities are:

  • Whole body actions involving pushing, pulling, lifting, playing, and moving

  • Oral actions such as chewing, sucking, and blowing

  • Use of hands for squeezing, pinching, or "fidgeting"

I have found that allowing A a small stretchy toy to fidget improves his concentration. My main concern is getting A the supports at school for his sensory needs, but that is a whole other story, and I promise to write about it soon, we have a eligibility meeting next week. I am sure it is not going to go well. So I am getting prepared!

There is so much more to understand about sensory processing, I just wrote about the two that seem to pertain to A. the most. To learn about the other aspects of SPD go here

A great book to read about Sensory Processing is "The Out -of- Sync Child" by Carol Stock Kranowitz. It is a great book for parents and teachers alike!

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