We are in the process of adopting a child. We just got a referral from our agency for a 10 month old boy with "sensory" issues. That is about all the detail we have. Since I have no idea what the implications are, I'd rather know as much up front as possible and be prepared to anticipate what to look for/questions to ask.
I am hoping some here will be able to share any experiences they may have with sensory issues in babies this young. There are always "minor issues" that could resolve themselves or could end up with long-term problems. The trouble is, "they" (those working for the system, whether it's purposeful omission of details or just innocent ignorance) tend to minimize the possibility of long-term effects, and then I find out later from doctors/others who've BTDT a different story, so I want to nip that in the bud this time around if I can.
Thanks for any insight you might have!
UPDATE: We just got a *little* more info -- he has some eating and feeding issues due to texture, is in speech therapy and physical therapy for sensory development. He has been described as hyperactive with low sensory skills and slow movements due to lack of fine motor development. What does that all indicate to you?
There are a bunch of flags there for more complex problems. Sensory problems by themselves can be worked with. The Out of Sync Child is like the bible for sensory issues, and your library may have a copy.
Sensory issues can occur with other disorders such as Asperger's, Pervasive Developmental Delays, Non Verbal Learning Disabilities, and Classic Autism. A book that talks about several of these is Quirky Kids by Klass.
My DD has sensory issues that have gotten better as she has gotten older (she's 15) but haven't gone away and we don't expect them to. She also has Asperger's and a Social Anxiety Disorder. But at 10 months we couldn't have told most of that -- she had some mild sensory stuff but seemed like a happy, content baby who was just a little late on gross motor skills.
but everything has pros and cons
It doesn't have to be autism. My DS's best friend had sensory issues with food as a baby, he was in OT until he was around 3 (IIRC). He is still a limited eater, but is getting better. He also suffers from food intolerance, systemic yeast and anxiety. He is small for his age and his mother has spent years trying to heal his gut to help him grow and put on weight. Over the past year he has really started to improve, filling out and growing taller (he is never going to be a six footer), and his anxiety is improving. At 12 he is looking hale and hearty! His mother believes likely cause of his sensory/gut/yeast issues was prophylactic antibiotics given as a neonate, compounded by the DTaP vaccine (he only had the first series and no further vaccines). It has been a long road to healing, and his issues are minimal compared to many children.
Ugh. You brought up ANOTHER point that helps, and I can't do anything about it... VACCINATIONS. B/c he is in foster care, he is REQUIRED to have all recommended vaccines on time. That can't be helping matters. At 10 months, I'm sure he's had at least the first DTaP. IDK about any meds other than what he may have had in neonatal ICU for drug exposure. He IS on a gluten-free, lactose-free diet so I'm wondering how long it takes for that to start showing signs of helping. I feel so bad for the little guy, and if we are matched I want to get started on the right path to help him heal and grow but I need to know what the possibilities are so I know what direction to take.
Thanks for chiming in -- I'm compiling a huge list of things to ask/look for.
it varies a lot.
I think part of the variance is because autism is a spectrum, and it can be easier to tell if a child has classic profound autism at a younger age. The higher functioning a child is, the more difficult it can be to determine if they are on the spectrum or not at a young age. There's no way my DD could of been dx'ed with anything at 10 months. Even at 3, they said "autism like behaviors." She was eventually dx'ed with PDD-NOS, and eventually that changed to Asperger's.
Even with a solid diagnosis of "this kid is on the spectrum," there's no way of knowing what the child will be capable of, what sort of life they will have as a teen or adult. There are lots of people on the spectrum working jobs and raising families and doing all sorts of things. One thing that has been difficult for me is that even knowing my DD's diagnosis, no one can tell us what it really means for her long term.
I think it also depends on who is doing the evaluations. For kids primarily receiving services through EI, I just don't think they get diagnosis. Rather, they look at symptoms and work on therapies. For a child seeing a developmental pediatrician privately, I think they are far more likely to get diagnosised younger. However, those often seem to just be wild guesses. I know several kids who have drastically exceeded what a developmental pediatrician said they were capable of, even if the diagnosis was in the right general ball park.
But all this is just based on what I've picked up from other moms -- I could be off.
but everything has pros and cons
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