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sensory integration disorder

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
My son was recently diagnosed with sensory integration disorder. He's four years old and has just started occupational therapy. His motor skills have always been somewhat delayed, though his verbal skills are advanced. We're in the midst of reading "The Out of Sync Child" and much of what we're reading fits, though we haven't experienced many behavior problems. Has anybody had experience with this disorder? If your child was treated, did you see a noticable improvement with therapy? Any advice? Thanks!

post #2 of 4

My son was a 30w preemie, has mild CP and some mild sensory issues, so we have been there

"The Out of Sinc Child" is probably the best reference you will find. Things that I can mention from experience--make sure that your OT is SI certified or at least trained, doing the wrong thing can make SI much worse and even more difficult to fix !! Delayed motor skills can result from being overwhelmed by sensory issues, so it important to address them, but your child has to build up a trusting relationship, so often the OT will tell you what to do and have you do the "tough stuff" for your child.

The biggest treatment that helped us was brushing--Walburger (sp) protocol. Every day every little while and gradually we didn't have to do it any more.

Depending on what your son's difficulties are, there are other things that can help or not. For Jimmy, lots of rough play and bouncing on the bed (I will eventually invest in a trampoline, but...), keeping the TV volume low and reducing background noise in general, having people warn him and ASK PERMISSION before touching him. A box or support under his feet when sitting in a chair. Having his environment organized and clutter free helps him from being overwhelmed. Keepings colors in his surroundings relatively neutral and unstimulating keeps him more calm. Jimmy also has what we call a "large personal space", so we try not to be in the middle of crowds, point out the doors to him (knowing where an exit is helps him feel more in control, even though he doesn't use it, knowing helps) and staying near them until he feel more comfortable. Also, playing with and in large tubs of dry beans or pasta is a good sensory exercise that helps to make touch more tolerable. Playing in trays of shaving cream, whippled cream, pudding, fingerpaints, things like that are also good sensory input.

If you're comfortable with it, let me know what specific issues your son has, and I can try to help more. Also, check out http://www.kid-power.com It is an organization for parents of kids with mild CP and other disabilities. SI often goes along with CP and other brain injuries. There is really good info on their site, and they also have a discussion list that is excellent. I would really suggest joining, even if just to ask a few questions and then lurk. There is also a SI discussion list run by a friend on the kidpower list, can't think of the address right now, but I can get it if you want.

Please email me if you would feel more comfortable talking that way.

Carrie, Mom to Jimmy 3 1/2
post #3 of 4
Forgot to say in my incredibly long post taht Jimmy did respond extremely well to therapy, mostly done at home with professional supervsion. He can now eat most textures, although is somewhat selective he is able to eat a well balance diet now. He can tolerate "social touching"--high fives, shaking hands, bumping into others, patting his head (he has very make you want to touch them blond curls!),etc. He can handle malls, grocery stores, etc unless he is tired. He still has a large personal space, but we usually just pass it off as shyness if it causes questions. We still avoid major crowds when we can, point out doors if he acts uncomfortable, and allow him plenty of alone time to get used to a situation. Allowing crowds to build around him instead of forcing him into it works well. For example, arriving early to church, when there are only 1 or 2 people there, then more and more has worked well. Also, eating out at restaurants as often as you can, family buffets (Golden Corral was and is our favorite) are more tolerant of meltdowns, starting at odd times of the day where there are very few people, giving goodies and treats that he didn't normally get to make a positive association, and gradually working towards busier times and then cutting back on the treats helped him a lot in dealing with social situations. Oh, and allowing lots of time to make transitions, whether its to go somewhere, do something else, go to bed, etc., really helps. We started with reminders at 5 minute intervals half an hour ahead, then and now we're to 1 reminder 5 minute beofre, and 1 minute before.

Okay, another really long post. So much you have to figure out by trial and error, and I loved it when people gave me ideas for what worked for them.

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hi Carrie,

Thanks for your replies! I've never heard of the brushing technique you mentioned (Walberger?) - can you describe? I attempted to email you directly - per your offer -and didn't find your email address, but these new boards have some type of personal posting system so I posted you on that. If you go to the bottom of the list/menu of all the possible boards you'll find the personal posting board and will hopefully find my message.

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