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SPD or something else??
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SPD or something else??

Hi,
I have a 3 year old boy. He's my 3rd child. Seems to have some developmental delays......Socailly he does not communicate with peers...although connects quite well with adults...Would NOT be interested in seeing what other "kids" are doing around him...& would rather stay in his own world or with familiar "adults"....still has some sort of echolalia... can't choose between choices unless very specially and repeatedly laid out for him.Language perception & processing seem to be below average for his age. Has normal loving affectionate behaviour towards parents ...
Displays anxious behaviour in unfamiliar settings(e.g. wont swim at a friend's pool party...but would swim in his own familiar pool)Shows no interest or desire to learn new physical skills like cycling or scooter riding.
What is going on with him??? What kind of therapy will work best for him & will give maximum results.
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973741_tn?1342346373
Hello.  I have a son with sensory integration disorder that is now 6.  As you've probably read sensory integration or processing disorder affects the nervous system and how a child relates and acts in his environment as well as processes messages to and from the brain.  It can be off just a little and cause all sorts of problems. Motor planning is a big area of sensory that can give a child lots of difficulty.  It involves many things and kids that have trouble with it show early to have speech issues and tripping frequently.  Speech can be affected by motor planning in that it first the brain has to organize what is being said to him and make sense of it, then the brain has to organize what the response should be and then the brain has to send the signals to the oral motor muscles to articulate the sounds.  All three parts are motor planning issues.  Organization of thought is a big one.  Carrying out the motor activities is also a big one.  Many kids that have motor planning issues will avoid activities that are new or at all difficult to them.  This is a defense mechanism.  Social things are difficult for a sensory kid as they didn't develop natural skills that other kids do.  I will say that having an issue with speech whether alone or due to sensory makes social peer interaction much more difficult and can impede play.  Birthday parties--------  or any type of party is always hard for a sensory integration kid and sometimes you will see their oddest and worst behavior.  Kids with sensory are often outside the group and are a child that appears to not be enjoying themselves or in their own world and not doing what most of the other kids in a group are.  

My son was 3 and in preschool and having difficulty.  We had him tested for sensory integration disorder which came back inconclusive.  We waited a year and things intensified and had him evaluated a second time and this time --------  there was no doubt.  An OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST is who evaluates it and one that specializes in sensory is great to have.  Then you do occupational therapy if he does indeed have sensory which is like play therapy for he nervous system.  Kids LOVE it!!

On the plus side--------------  things can get significantly better.  Motor planning issues with my son are much better as well as all other aspects of sensory.  

For the specific things you mention---------  Before doing something new, I'd give him something like a piece of gum to chew (soothes and organizes the brain) or have him drink something thick through a straw like a thick smoothie or applesauce.  Then I'd physically hand over hand help him.  Take scissors and place them in his hand and then you use yours to do the cutting action.  This way he is getting the feel of it without his brain telling him how to do it -----------  but his brain will remember the feeling and start to do it naturally.  I did the same thing for feet on pedals.  I moved them myself with my hands.  He gets the feel, the brain remembers and then he is apt to be able to do it alone.  When he is avoiding something, be very patient.  Without getting frustrated or pushing too hard, get him to take some tries with your total help at first.  Let him stop when he wants to.  You think he isn't aware of his not being able to do something?  No.  He knows and it hurts his pride that he can't.  Watch what words you use around him and be sensitive to the fact that he is listening.  I say this because kids that are a little off (and remember it can be very mild and still create issues)------  they can develop terrible self esteem.  AT 3 and 4 my child struggled and we still are working on self esteem.  He doesn't like not fitting in at a party but just can't change it.

Speaking of parties, as I said those are hard.  Give him that gum before a party and do some physical "heavy work" as they call it.  This helps the nervous system stay regulated so that he can remain "just right" at the party and be more able to handle it.  I'd let him stick with you if he needs to and help him through.  If he doesn't want to swim, okay.  Don't make him.  Your goal is some social interaction that is positive.  If the party is you chasing him around the whole time saying "why won't you swim?"----  this again, hits his self esteem and makes him feel bad.  

I've had a couple of years of occupational therapy experience and lots of research hours in on the subject.  I have about . . . a million ideas of things that help.  Let me know if you want more at home ideas to try.  My son is doing really well and is like any other child for the most part.  But we worked to get here.  I'm happy to help in any way I can!  
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I would aks your pediatrician of a good place to get him evaluated.  Sometimes they have those types of programs for children under age five, he might even qualify for free preschool.  My son got free preschool b/c he was speech delayed, did not talk until after age three.  

I took my son who just turned six to a party yesterday, he did not want to get involved, he watched from the sidelines, would not eat pizza, said he was scared, but did eat a little cake.

Speech therapy might not be a bad thing for him.  My son still gets it at school.  You might want to get his hearing checked too just to make sure that is not the issue.  

But I feel very confident, he would qualify for some services based on how you describe him.  

Check to see if there is something like Childfind in your area.  He can be put on an IEP in preschool.

Also, inquire about the SPD, you need to go to a specialized place, not all OTs are trained in this area.  You might check the closest children's hospital to see abou their resources.
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973741_tn?1342346373
If you live in the US, by  law all children age 3 to 5 can be evaluated by the school system per your request.  If you do this, I'd go the full rhelm of speech, occupational therapist, and psychological.  If he qualifies, he then can attend your local public school's preschool intervention program.  It is usually 4 half days a week and a child rides the bus.  In our district, sensory is not its own issue and services have to be provided under another heading.  This does not matter as services are the goal.  I'd say that speech issues would be your best bet for attending the early intervention preschool program in your area.  

I will say that if you have insurance and can afford it, I'd look into private occupational therapy.  It saved my child and he started kindergarten ready to go and with very few issues.  He has NO IEP at school and does quite well.  

I'd use your phone book, ask for recommendations, and CALL your insurance company to see which Occupational Therapists you can be covered with.  Then call those places and ask for their experience in sensory related issues.  They will also help you with a speech evaluation.  But improving motor planning will improve speech.  

Happy mother's day all!
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