Sensory Disorder or just self soothing? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 12-15-2015, 05:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Sensory Disorder or just self soothing?

I have a son who will be turning three in a few months... He has a habit of rocking and making a soft, singing "ahh" sound at times. He will shake his head or move it in a circle, rock back and forth or side to side, can be standing or sitting, sometimes bounces himself when rocking off, say, a couch cushion.

We used a swing and a bouncer with him when he was younger... he grew out of liking the swing after a few months but loved his bouncy seat. He started his "ahhh" sounds when falling asleep maybe around five or six months old and we just thought it was cute, called it his "sleepy song." We thought he was becoming a little too dependent on the bouncing to fall asleep when he was close to turning one so put it away. He started to just sit in the floor and rock himself to sleep for a few days following but since then it's just been an on and off thing.

It's usually just a tired cue. If he is out somewhere and it is nap time he will start doing it when he's done and ready to go to sleep. He will rock his head back and forth for a minute or two at night before he falls asleep or when he is down for a nap. But I have noticed an increase with it lately at other times... When he's first put into his car seat he will rock back and forth or when he's really, truly upset he has a number of times as well.

I've brought it up with his doctor but she has never expressed any concern. But then we started speech therapy. This started seven months ago because he wasn't saying much but understood everything... he was evaluated and scored too high on every section but we were able to see her anyway due to a medical note on his smaller head size in his history. She did about an hour once a month with him and he's now more than caught up to where he's supposed to be. However, during their last couple of sessions he spent the entire time rocking, avoiding her, and doing that sound. We also started a "school prep" session once a week with a special instruction therapist as we were thinking about putting him in an early childhood classroom when he turns three and when he gets upset with her, he starts to do it then as well.

This past week (her second session) she mentioned that she thought it might be a bigger sensory problem than we might have realized. Of course this made me extra worried and looked up everything she had on her notes... which only made me worry more.

The speech issues of the past and this rocking "thing" are really the only big concerns we've ever had. He's a very smart little boy, typically very well behaved but does have those moments (and a few days) where he's this side of being a nightmare... but nothing out of the ordinary. He was born 37 weeks early and has always been a tad tall, small in weight but not to the point of concern, then his head size was always smaller but they concluded that it was just genetics on that end.

So... I don't know, I was just looking for maybe input or advice or thoughts. I have been worrying that maybe this was our doing with bouncing him or rocking him to sleep or letting him stay in the swing too long. Worrying this was a bigger issue than we thought and just ignored it. I don't know if this is just something he will grow out of or if it's more than that....

We are supposed to meet with an occupational therapist next month to see what they think but in the meantime I'm just left with the wondering and all.
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#2 of 3 Old 12-16-2015, 07:21 PM
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Does he have any other flags for sensory integration dysfunction? There are usually multiple flags for sensory issues, though those flags can vary widely from child to child.

What is a "special instruction therapist"?

"I have been worrying that maybe this was our doing with bouncing him or rocking him to sleep or letting him stay in the swing too long."
No, bouncing and rocking don't cause sensory problems, quiet the opposite. Movement is really good for sensory problems.

"Worrying this was a bigger issue than we thought and just ignored it."
It sounds to me like you have been very responsive to his development and gotten him all appropriate interventions.

Two books I really like are:
The out of sync child.

Quirky Kids: When to Worry and When Not to Worry
Amazon Amazon

I think it is really great that you have an appointment with an OT. They are the experts on this.

One more question -- did he crawl?

but everything has pros and consĀ  shrug.gif

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#3 of 3 Old 12-16-2015, 09:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for the reply! Since it was brought up I have looked into sensory disorders and things of that nature and he really doesn't follow with any of the other "typical signs." Both his speech and special instruction therapist mentioned that the rocking looked like it was more a sensory problem which made me start to look more into it.

It is a strange sight to see, and he will get louder with his noise if he's being ignored in public when doing it and say we're not saying "Okay, we're going home now," or something like that.

The special instruction therapy is a school prep that the program we have him in offers for children who might start daycare or preschool after they finish with them. The therapist comes out once a week for an hour and just practices things like following through on an activity or following directions and helping show transitions from one activity to another. I had never heard of anything like it before but I thought it sounded like something to try out! He might start an early childhood class in a few months so it seemed like something we could check out. Through it we learned his stubbornness about not always wanting to listen to someone he's not familiar with give him orders so I am hoping that he works through that with the lady we have for it.

He did crawl, he learned to move backwards first but it was not even a week before he was going off in every direction. This was the end of eight months and start of nine months that he started crawling, then he was walking the following month.

I will look into those books, thanks! I'm trying to learn as much as I can as I go along. Even if this turns out to be just a comfort thing and he grows out of it you never know what else might come about and if it is "more" I want to have an idea of what all is going on and how I can help.
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