4-Year-Old with possible sensory issues - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 11-18-2013, 07:48 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a 4yo daughter who has always been high strung. She was colicky for her first 6 months and since then tends to overreact to anything and everything.


She can be very sweet and giving, but then just freak out without warning. Most people roll their eyes or call her a drama queen. When she freaks out I cannot figure out how to help her calm down.


Someone suggested that she might have some sort of sensory processing disorder. I don't know anything about those and don't know what to do. We can't afford to go to the doctor and I really would like to avoid going to the public schools who will then have a file on her for who knows how long or what use.


I used to have similar issues when I was a child and mostly grew out of it and was hoping that she would do the same. But she is so out of control that it is negatively touching different areas of our lives. People don't want her around and even I get impatient with her and don't know what to do. I have a 2yo and am due with our third in February.


She has been working on potty training since last Christmas when she decided to be like her older cousin and she still pees a bit in her underwear every day. Sometimes going through 4 or 5 pairs of underwear a day. She also seems to have a hard time dealing with clothes. She prefers to be naked and hates certain types of clothes like jeans, which are "cold."


Loud sounds lead to crying and shaking even if she was having fun before. It doesn't matter if it is fireworks, loud music, or even her brother crying. Most often she shouts for quiet or just starts crying or screaming incoherently.


If kids aren't playing the way she likes she starts screaming and crying.


I don't want her to grow up isolated because no one can stand to be around her and I already see her being shut out by other kids and not getting invited to certain gatherings, and I can only assume it is because she is unpleasant to be around.


Can anyone point me in the right direction to helping my sweet girl manage herself? I don't even know where to begin. When I posted on Facebook looking for resources for my difficult child I got the "OMG, just spank her" reply that I expected which is why I waited so long to ask for help. But someone mentioned this forum so here I am hoping to find some wisdom that will be more understanding about our situation.

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#2 of 4 Old 11-18-2013, 09:37 PM
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We are just getting around to having our 5yo evaluated for sensory processing issues, but it definitely sounds to me like you're on the right track! Rather than your daughter being a "drama queen" or "freaking out" on purpose, it sounds to me like she is simply being completely overwhelmed by her surroundings.


I was recently loaned a book called "Sensational Child" by Lucy Jane ****** Ph.D OTR (one of, if not THE, leading expert on the subject at the moment) and it was so great to finally understand what my child is (likely) dealing with and I HIGHLY recommend it. She also has a website here that could be very useful. One of the biggest things I'm coming to realize is that even if the child learns to mask their obvious discomfort when it comes to sensory overload, they're still dealing with a lot internally and that makes them prone to blowing up/"freaking out" more easily then most.


In the meantime, one thing we do for my son is to keep a pair of ear defenders (sound-deadening ear muffs) on hands for times when the noise/activity level is getting to be too much for him. He can still hear someone speak to him but it helps filter out all the "extra" noise and is one less thing for him to have to deal with. (And if it makes you feel any better, last year when he was in preschool my son yelled at the visiting singing Grade 1 class to "Stop singing!" bag.gif )


Sensory kids also tend to seek to control their surroundings as each change in their environment can potentially introduce new sensory stressors. I believe Sensational Child also included some suggestions on how to help your child cope when overwhelmed, most being proprioceptor exercises (a new, handy term I've learned that helps when searching).


I hope that helps at least some. You may also get a lot more suggestions if you post in Special Needs Parenting.

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#3 of 4 Old 11-19-2013, 07:11 AM
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The out of sync child is another good resource. Both of my children (and most people IMO) have some sensory issues and it doesn't always lead to a dx. Could you take her to an OT instead of a traditional doctor? Even a few good sessions would give you some tools to help your daughter.

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#4 of 4 Old 12-16-2013, 08:16 AM
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She is probably getting overstimulated very easy.  Figure out her triggers (for mine it was sound, covering her ears was my cue to get the heck out of there, wherever we were, plus other specific phobias and generally not liking chaotic, crowded places).    Make sure she is getting a lot of time outdoors and down time.  Don't try to talk her out of an emotion, and stay calm yourself, when they are in that emotion there is nothing you can do.  Follow up with pbjmama's recommendations... the OT should absolutely be able to help you.  

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