Saturday, June 5, 2010

Sensory Processing Disorder - a family affair?

Each and every day I see evidence of my boy's SPD. Whether it is having to wear his seamless socks or no socks at all, or having to be carried quickly through the doors of the store on the off-chance the alarms will go off, he clearly is sensory defensive. 

When I think about our family, I think of my boy as the one with sensory issues. He is the one with a diagnosis - it's true. However, lately I'm beginning to see each of our own sensory behaviors. Dad doesn't like the textures of things like guacamole or refried beans. I seek comfort in rubbing my fingers together in a repetitive way and get easily overwhelmed by loud whining and crying (who doesn't?)... but could we all have an actual diagnosable case of SPD or just little issues? 

As I sit typing this, I am looking forward to the day I can finally seriously have my daughter evaluated for what I think just might also be SPD. It looks so different in her that I've often assumed it just couldn't be. The boy avoids things and she seeks them out regularly -- sensory seeking anyone? And now I realize things like her shyness in the beginning of things and her extreme concern about what others might think of her, could all be related as well. She melts down and ends up in huge tantrums of enormous proportion... emotionally overwhelmed, unable to self-sooth. Ugh... could I really have two SPD children to parent? 

I am beginning to think I might. Stay tuned. 


  1. I, too, have to hurry through store doors for my son's fear of the sensor alarms going off. When we go to a store he's not familiar with, he always asks if there are sensors. I have shown him the sensors in objects' packaging and have explained why they are there. With noises, he's defensive. With other things, he's a sensory seeker. He needs proprioceptive stimulation- especially when he's tired. When he was little, I could not get him out of the bathtub. Not exactly sure what he got from it, but it did something for him.

    Did you see the Student SPD Checklist at ?

  2. Wow... although I'm sorry for you, I am thrilled to know at least one other person who can understand this in the way we do. My son seeks very little in regards to sensory. I'll check out the checklist.

  3. I completely understand many of the issues you are dealing with. Rose got a bike for her 5th birthday (she'll be 17 next month) fell off of it the first time she rode it and to this day still refuses to get on a bike because they are "dangerous". No matter what, she will NOT get on a bike. No way, no how, NEVER!!! Rose actually said to me when she was little and I asked her what "noises" we like to her,that noises equaled pain. The noises physically painful. Chris' aunt is an occupational therapist and she told me that this is a common trait for children with sensory issues. When she was 4 she had the flu and was sick. We had salad that night and ever since that day, she is "allergic" to tomatoes because that was the first thing she saw when she got sick. Doesn't matter that she will eat them in virtually ANY form other than ones where they look like tomatoes. I am sure, like your son, that once something is set in thier minds no manner of reasoning, proof, talking or threatening is going to change their minds. I also know that after Joyce was born every mile stone that she shared with Rose meant Joyce also had Aspergers. They shared so many of the same mile stones and the last thing I needed was two challenged children. Turns out, Joyce does not have Aspergers and many of the mile stones that I so feared were not necessarily indicitive of Aspergers. They were indicitive of an exceptionally bright child. So, I say to you my cousin, try not to see your boy in everyone...I know this is difficult because I, being an expert in all things Autistic, was able to diagnose my husband, my other friends children and other people in my life with Aspergers as well. I think that you were right when you said we all have our own sensory difficulties...I am TOTALLY on the boy's side with the sock issue. I have BIG sock issues...must be the EXACT texture I like with a specific type of seam or I cannot wear the socks at all. I don't care if my damn feet freeze off, I only wear socks when I have no choice. We can see everyone's issues when we know what to look for...I say, watch the girl and see if her tantrums are not just a reflextion or extention of what happens with her brother and that her sensory issues are just her personal quirks and not an actual diagnosis. I am not implying that she is acting out or that you are overly indugent with your son...merely saying that I have experienced this personally. I also say, ANY person who has the gall to give you grief on how you handle your boy should live for an entire day as his care taker and they will realize that you do what you do to survive and help this smallish person just to walk through the day to the end of his road with everything still intact!!! I actually did this with a friend of mine who thought that "reading restriction" was the stupidist thing she had ever heard of. Rose's most constant perseveration has been words. Any form, any where, any time. If it has letters she MUST read it no matter what. She will take extreme measures to make sure that she reads any words that she comes in contact with to the extent of nothing else matters other than reading the words that she sees. After my friend spent the day with Rose she understood that reading restriction was a necessity in our house because Rose would rather read than eat, sleep or empty her bladder. If you didn't take the reading material from her sight (could be a book, could be the TV, could be the tag on the pillow that says do not remove-ANY words will do) she cannot focus on anything else. So reading restriction was invented. Keep in mind that between my husband, myself and our girls we probably own somewhere in the neighborhood of at least a thousand books! We are ALL avid readers but I would rather eat breakfast than to read the cereal box over and over and over and never eat a thing because the words were more important.

    Love ya cuz...


  4. Daren - wow Cuz! Thanks for sharing and thanks for all you did for Rose! You were an excellent hard working Mama and still are of course! I am not convinced my girl also has sensory but I think it is worth at least doing an eval in case -- just to be the good Mama... in case I can get her some supports.

  5. Great blog! I have five kids. My fourth has some sensory issues. My second has Noonan syndrome. So never a dull moment at our house LOL

    Kelly in Colorado

  6. Kelly - 5 kids! Wow... you must be very busy and you deal with both sensory and Noonan's. Thanks for reading the blog and commenting! How did you get the Noonan's diagnosis and when?