Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sensory processing disorder

Well, I'm a believer. A couple weeks ago I'd never heard of this and now I'm amazed at how much it explains about Quinn's sometimes odd reactions and behaviors. How he runs around on gravel without seeming to notice how sharp it is, how well he tolerates the cold, how he can spin forever and not get dizzy - all those things are related to his sensory processing.

What I've learned is that he is a "sensory seeker," meaning he needs extra sensory input for certain internal senses to kick in. Oddly, when he gets really cranked up if we give him deep or sudden pressure - anything from a long, hard squeeze on his shoulder to literally throwing him onto a huge, cushy dog bed that has been renamed his "crash pad," he calms right down. It's pretty amazing.

The occupational therapist at his school has started working with him - apparently the first session consisted mostly of her putting on a weighted vest (the constant deep pressure helps sensory-seeking kids to concentrate in school) and him commanding, "Take off! Take off!" We're also working with his private OT (the one we see for his post-surgical shoulder therapy) on coming up with a "sensory diet" of exercises we can do for him.

I read "The Out of Sync Child" - which many of you recommended - and was blown away at how perfectly the sensory-seeking examples described Quinn. Now reading "The Out of Sync Child has Fun," which is where we got the idea for the much-loved crash pad.

Still learning, and still kicking myself that we didn't figure this out sooner. I was told that Quinn had been tested for sensory integration issues and showed no sign of it, so anytime a therapist would bring it up I'd tell them he'd already been tested. Now I know he was only tested for being over-sensitive, which he most definitely is not.


China Dreams said...

So glad this is working for you. My oldest grandson will be having his first private OT session in a week or two. He is the overly sensitive type, but he too can spin for hours.

The Drinkwaters said...

I think it is important to note that your child can have aspects of both. My daughter has some sensory seeking needs, as well as challenges with being oversensitive in certain areas.

I'm glad that you have had success with some of the activities, we love the ideas from "Out of Sync Child Has Fun" as well.

melissa j said...

You might want to check out the book Disconnected Kids by Dr. Robert Melillo and also Dr. Kendal Stewart at the NeuroSensory Centers of America.
My daughter came home 2 yrs ago with sensory issues. We have been trying to figure out her behavior and when we took her to the center(at her OTs reccommendation) they were able to get right to the root of the problem and treat her VERY successfully! She has been on the centers protocol now for 4 months and she's like a different child.We actually saw a difference in the first 2 weeks. She is now able to attend dance class, science class, and AWANAs ....all things she could NOT tolerate before beginning the protocol. The doc at the center suggested the book. He has treated many kids with similar issues and has seen positive results.