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.