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Sensory Issues?

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Sensory Issues?

Postby hannahsmom » Fri Oct 01, 2004 04:52 pm

My daughter (who is 3 years old) started Ocupational Therapy this week and her therapist thinks she might have sensory issues. She asked about her hyperactivity, whether she throws tantrums, and what she eats. What kind of testing do they do for this, and what exactly are "sensory issues?" Can it be connected to autism at all? It seems like I heard the two go hand in hand, but I may be totally wrong. A little background - Hannah was born at 26 weeks gestation, was on a vent, had a grade 1 brain bleed, and has been a little behind developmentally most of her life. She had speech therapy for almost a year and stopped just a month ago. Now she is in OT for fine motor skills. She is also ADHD, although the official diagnosis can't come until she's 4. Anyway, just curious about the sensory issue thing.



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Re : Sensory Issues?

Postby meg » Fri Oct 01, 2004 05:00 pm

Sensory Issues are very common in Autistic children but can be found in children without Autism too, especially preemies. its just means that she processes sensory information differently than the "normal" child. Like sounds or smells or touches which wouldnt normally bother someone may be very intense feeling and painful for her of the opposite where her sensory system could be "under aroused" by stimuli. Often you see kids have problems with "different" tactile things like touching finger paints, going barefoot on grass, food aversions to strange textures, etc. The issues can be worked on my an OT. They basically work on desensitizing them to these sensory stimuli.
Good luck!! She is such alittle miracle to be alive and it sounds like she has done great!!

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Re : Sensory Issues?

Postby deerhart » Fri Oct 01, 2004 05:18 pm

The info from our OT
All people have some sensory issues to some extent. From not liking tags, to certain materials irritating you, to being to cold, to warm, liking movement, disliking movement etc.. but for most people we are able to handle these sensations without it inferfering with our lives.

But there are people out there who cannot handle these sensations and they send them overboard a bit, thus in children they can cause tantrums and other behavioral problems, as well as health issues, delays etc.. OT's typically only treat the sensory issues when like Meg above said they interfere with everyday life, like not bieng able to eat most foods, not liking things touching at all etc.. The OT worked with Alex told us she had worked with children who would physically become sick when certain types of fabric touched their skin etc..

While Alex had some sensory issues (he hates having his hair touched, including washing, combing, cutting, he also hates tags in clothes, sun or bright light in his eyes, and dislikes the texture of red meat, we also have some problems with some creamy textures as well) the OT felt his issues were not severe enough to need treatment. She thought some of them we disappear as he got older (which they have lessened so far.. we can now get him to wet his hair and brush it most of the time.. cutting and soap still very difficult issue). She instead spent most of her time working on his transitions from one activity to another, specifically from a well liked activity to a most hated one.
While sensory is also associated with Autism (quite frankly I think if you look hard enough almost everything seems associated with autsim) they are very prevelant in everyone. I, for example, hated getting my hair washed as a child, removed all the tags from my clothes, have problems with sunlight/bright light, and still to this day find socks and shoes rather uncomfertable. I dislike the feel of shoes and socks and take them off whenever I can. Other sensory issues I have is that I have issues dealing with heat. While I try to avoid these items, they do not disrupt my life (yes I do wear my shoes when I have to hehe) and really the dividing line is if you can operate despite the issues. Also, as you get older these issues tend to diminish some.

Some things they do to desensitize espeically for tantrums is a techinique called brushing, which they basically take a brush and stroke the child's skin. It is supposed to be extremely relaxing and we were going to use it on Alex, but he responded so well to just the OT she felt it wouldn't be necessary. Other things they also do is use weighted vests that the child wears. The weight is supposed to place pressure on the child and help to call them down.
Other techniques depend on the type of sensory issue the child has (certain fabrics, textures, etc..)
If you just want to read about it the book I think our ped recommended was The out of sync child. I have not had a chance ot read it with all the other reading I have to do (along with a few other books recommended to me) but I have heard it is a good book.

One other thing to remember is that SI (sensory integration) is not accepted by some of the medical field as an actual disorder because so many normal people also have the same issues. The real difference you will see is how disruptive these can be in their lives.

HTH's
Erin

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Re : Sensory Issues?

Postby aimeejane » Fri Oct 01, 2004 05:27 pm

Sensory Integrative Disorder (SID) is often confused at early stages with ADHD, so it's entirely possible that Hannah's issues come completely from SID and not ADHD/ADD. I have a friend whose friend's son was recently diagnosed with SID, and has shown remarkable improvement, now that he's being treated for the correct issue. I will find out what specific type of doctor they saw to determine that...I need to anyway, because Nicky needs to be evaluated for the same thing, I think.

Nicky was treated by his OTs for SID on a physical level when he was an infant and toddler, but it was never mentioned to me that it can have specific behavioral consequences as well. Looking back, I wonder if his OTs even knew it. I'm guessing it's a relatively recent revelation, although I don't know for sure. How it's been described to me since then is that everything is just so overwhelming to all of their senses that screaming, running around, tantruming, etc. is the only way they can think of to block all the extraneous STUFF out. My friend's friend's son described it like this, "I yell, because that's the only way I hear my words." What I see in Nicky is that he retreats into himself and doesn't listen to ANYTHING. I often wonder if that's his way of blocking out the extraneous stimuli.

Prematurity is DEFINITELY a big factor in SID - the early exposure to the world is obviously overwhelming. However, I also believe it can be hereditary, and I've recently begun to believe that I have it, too. I wish I could afford OT for myself! LOL

Let me get in touch with my friend, Suzanne...it might be a big help for both of us. I'll let you know as soon as I find anything out. Unfortunately, there is almost no helpful information out there on the internet.

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