Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sensory Processing

I've avoided talking about this because, well, I don't really want to add anything else to the list of things related to Luke and his therapy.  But a month or two ago his speech therapist told me that she thinks Luke may have a sensory processing disorder.  Basically it means his body hasn't matured to deal with everything sensory related.

Is it a diagnosis?  No.  

Does she seem pretty confident that it's another thing we're dealing with?  Yes.

The day she told me, I drove home in tears.  It was just one more thing to add to my list of worries for him.

She sent me home with The Out of Sync Child.  I read it.  Mostly.  I'll admit that I did a lot of skimming.  Yes, there were things that sounded like Luke.  But there was also a lot that doesn't sound like him. And there was quite a bit where I said, "don't all kids do this?".

She referred us to an occupational therapist.  I contacted her - but in the end, we decided to hold off.  Financial, logistical and time reasons were behind our decision.  More money out of pocket than we can handle right now + lonnng drive at least once a week + already full weekly schedule = too much to deal with at this moment.

Every session the speech therapist brings up sensory.  She feels that it's keeping him from benefiting as much as he can from speech.  He moves around a lot.  He becomes startled if someone picks him up quickly.  He has days where he doesn't want her touching his face to do the PROMPTs.  He works on their activity for a minute or two then moves on to something else.  Etc, etc.

One thing I read in the book is that we ALL have sensory issues.  Everyone has one or two things they don't deal well with.  For instance, I can't stand the dentist.  And it's not a pain thing.  It's the noises and smells that freak me out as soon as I walk into a dentist office.  I don't like to wear hats or anything too restricting around my neck or wrists.  If I'm sitting in a chair and someone even slightly tilts me back, I start flailing like a chicken because it scares the living daylights out of me.

So I'm on the fence.  I want to do whatever we need to do to help him.  But, he's only 3.  I want him to have a chance to come through things on his own.  I don't feel that the sensory issues affect his daily life, and so I don't feel that it's anything urgent to deal with right.this.second.  We're working on them at home, using sensory activities, and I feel that it's a good start.


  1. Melinda-

    I have friend whose son has sensory issues. She had him in Occupational Therapy for quite some time. It helped but it got to the point where they just had to stop. What she told me--and this is just what works for her son--is that it works best for him to do short (a couple of months) sessions of OT and then take time off to "process" his therapy before starting up again.

    I guess what I'm saying is that Occupational Therapy is something you should consider, but not necessarily something you need to do right now.

    I don't know if that helps you or anything, I just thought I'd pass it on.

  2. Melinda, I can't say your son doesn't have a sensory problem, but... kids move around a lot. And neither of my kids liked their faces touched -- especially if it was to get their attention. And kids don't always like to be picked up. Especially between the ages of 2 and 5 they are in a rebellious phase. Again, perhaps there is another issues here with Luke, but I wouldn't call the speech therapist's view a diagnosis if I were you.

  3. Thank you both for responding.

    I think that's basically where I'm at now. At what point do you decide that a 3 year old is just being a 3 year old, or has sensory issues? I'm not against taking her advice, but my main goal right now is letting him be a 3 year old and getting through the speech issues. What if it's just his personality and nothing that needs therapy to "fix"? If, as he gets older, it becomes a problem I will be all for working on it. For now though, my focus is speech and I feel like I need to get the speech therapist back on that track.