DS is 4 1/2 and 4 weeks into public pre-k. He is an incredibly smart and funny little kid. He has always been a little challenging (nothing major, just strong willed and a little quirky). But in the last few weeks, I have been piecing some things together and I really think that he's got some sensory issues going on. He sucks his fingers and has recently started chewing on his shirt (and other fabrics--like the towel that he dries off with after a bath). Sometimes, he even swallows the fibers because he "likes it" (his words). He has always been one to constantly rub and knead on us with his hands and feet if we're cuddling or in bed. Haircuts are traumatic unless we use LOTS of bribes and distractions and even then, we get maybe 5 minutes to get his hair cut. Trimming toe and finger nails is a pita. If we're watching a movie and it comes to a more intense part, he'll cover his ears. He doesn't like loud noises and will cover his ears. He is an extrordinarily picky eater. Is reluctant around splashing water (I say reluctant b/c we have recently been able to convince him that splash pads are fun). And, um... what else... oh a friend of mine who is our counseling teacher (DS attends school where I teach first grade) told me that the first day in her class (during specials) he kept raising his shirt to go rub his belly on the window in her classroom. He loves to roll and rub his head in sand and pea gravel... I don't know... there's a lot... and it has intensified since he started pre-k. It's not like I didn't know these things about him before... I guess it's just that when he started sucking and chewing on his shirt a few weeks ago, that really bothered me and I started seeing the big picture.
So far, I have informally filled out a short sensory profile that I got from our school psychometrist. I scored him at 142, DH scored him at 141 (141 and lower is "definite difference" and 142-? is "probably difference").
What's my next step. Should I give it another month or so for him to adjust before making an appointment with the ped? I don't think he would qualify for OT through the school (it's got to be pretty severely limiting to get school OT services, and so far it isn't keeping him from being able to participate in the classroom). Our insurance coverage for OT sucks (we have to cover the first $1000, and only 20 visits are covered... and all the visits that we pay out of pocket go toward the 20 visits... so basically, they'll pay for 2 or 3 visits). Could/should we get a 504 so that he can have some modifications in the classroom (like straws to chew on, a cushy/bouncy seat, or something?). I guess I just worry that if we don't address it now, that when school becomes more academically structured, he will really start to stuggle and get singled out. I want him to enjoy school and do well... I actually think that he would do better at a montessori program (because he's a very motivated learner and does well with self-initiated stuff). But we don't have a montessori school income, so that's not an option.
There are a couple of good books that you can use to figure out what sort of sensory diet would be most helpful for your son, and then create that sensory diet on your own. For example, my DD needed lots of time with her body moving through space, but with different orientations. So we signed her up for kiddie gymnastics and swimming. Lots cheaper, lots more fun. (she turned out to be a really awesome swimmer, and at $50 a month for up to 10 hours a week of swimming, a heck of a lot cheaper than therapy.) It might be something totally different for your son, but there is most likely something.
The Out of Sync Child by Kranowitz was like the bible to me when my DD was young. Now there is another one, The Out of Sync Child Has Fun.
In our state, one cannot get a 504 for sensory processing disorder. Sensory issues can be addressed through a 504 only if the child has another diagnosis, such as autism. It's stupid. On one hand, I'm all for evaluations and making thing official. At the same time, it is my experience that the diagnosis of sensory processing issues doesn't get you much.
If you really feel Montessori would be better, call the school you like and ask about scholarships and work trade. My kids go to a private school that really tries to work with parents. They can't say "yes" if you don't ask. Different things work better for different kids, and some special needs kids are better served by public schools which have more resources, but we have several kids at our little school with sensory issues. It's one of the harder things for regular school to address, and just being in a smaller school can help.
but everything has pros and cons
I was reading on another thread and found a link to the checklist... 45 of the items applied to him... and they were all over the spectrum. Olfactory and Visual were the only two that he didn't have anything. hmmmm
I guess I have to be glad I work at the school and that I can hand pick the best teachers for him. I have had some informal conversations with our school psychometrist, who gave me a sensory short profile and is going to informally type up a report to take to our pedi. Also, I had a good conversation with his teachers about our suspicions and they told some things that they've notices that I didn't know about. They are going to document for me. And we have an appointment with the pedi next week. The next thing I need to do is have a conversation with insurance. So hopefully, we can get him into private OT. And possibly a 504 plan. He doesn't need to be labeled sped, but if we can do a 504 then we can ensure that he gets sensory modifications in the classroom. I can't imagine having to do this not having immediate access to the school. So even thought I don't think public school is the best setting for DS, I think that b/c I teach at his school, this whole thing is going to be a little easier to navigate for us. And I know that I work with some GREAT teachers, and I can choose the ones that I think will work best with DS and his personality. His 3 year old daycare teacher was wonderful. She knew him and gave him the space to be who he is while pushing him to learn and develop. I know there are many teachers at my school who can be the same kind of teacher for him.