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Sensory Integration Dysfunction
My 5 year old son was just diagnosed with sensory processing disorder (SPD) (also known as sensory integration dysfunction). Currently undergoing medical evaluation to see if primary or secondary. We need recommendations for a good neuropyschologist in the Bay Area (preferably the east bay) to do recommended pediatric neuropsychiatric testing. Also need recommendations for a good occupational therapist experienced in treating SPD.
I am concerned about my almost 7 year old son who is in first grade and has sensory integration dysfunction. I will pick up The Out of Sync Child today, but wanted to ask all of you who might know from experience: Once a child has OT is he then more or less OK? Is the therapy ongoing and the dysfunction something that will be with my child throughout his lifetime? What alternative therapies on top of OT have worked for children out there?
My many thanks to BPN b/c upon reading other discussions of SID I
began to see my little boy in the descriptions and pushed for an
assessment! He has a mild case which many seasoned professionals
missed, while I didn't even know it existed. I am feeling immense relief
to have a framework for understanding and now moving forward to meet
my sweet and ''spirited'' little boy's needs. I want to encourage any
parent who thinks they have a high need baby or are raising a spirited
child to seriously consider seeking some sort of evaluation sooner
rather than later. It is my (limited and elementary) understanding that my
child was expressing his needs through his behaviors from day one. If
we'd known sooner it would have taken a lot of the grief and pain out of
the equation as we all learned to live together in harmony. Thanks in
advance for your answers to my questions at the beginning of this post.
Loving, Living and Learning
There are a few alternative therapies such as Auditory Integration Therapy and Vestibular Therapies such as horse back riding, and surfing experiences. These have proven successfull on some patients. The most inclusive therapy is The Bolles Method of Sensory Integration developed in by Mary Bolles some 15 years ago combining the three sensory stimulations into one therapy.
Hope this is helpfull, if you need any more information or would like to talk about this please call or e-mail. Sincerely, Bryan McDade, Director Sensory Learning Center SSF
My 4 1/2 year old son was just diagnosed with mild sensory
integration dysfunction. We are planning on working with an
occupational therapist recommended by his preschool, and
possibly a speech and language pathologist. I am confused about
what kind of assistance our public school district (Albany) can
offer us, given that our son will not be starting kindergarten
until next year. All that they have told us thus far is that
they do not evaluate children over summer break and that
someone will contact me in the Fall. I am interested in hearing
from other parents (particularly those in Albany) who have
children with the same diagnosis to try to better understand
what we're supposed to do now.
If your 4 1/2 year old has other delays such as cognitive or speech delay than you can request that the District conduct an assessment to address these issues along with the SI concerns. The Albany SChool District can provide services at the Preschool Level as long as the child qualifies for special education. THe District has no obligation to conduct assessments in the summer or when school is not in session. Once the family signs the consent for assessment there is a 50 day time line in which the assessments must be conducted. I would put your request in writing and send it to the Special Education Dept. The contact person used to be Suzanne Nelson but she has moved on to a new position.
I am wondering what preschool your child attends and who is the OT. ALso, is your child involved in any other programs, such as the REgional Center of the East Bay. There are many fabulous OT out there that address SI issues and I would be happy to refer you to them. I would first seek an assessment through the District so you don't have to pay out of pocket. The District has wonderful OTs at the preschool and elementary school level. Good luck. anonymous
Good luck to everyone on this forum. I personally believe special needs kids are truly blessed.
I have an 8 year-old son that has some complex problems and we
are trying to sort it all out and find out what direction he
should go. He has attention issues, speech problems that
translate to his written language-( a very hard time expressing
himself at times and using the appropriate language to recall
an event or story. He has been diagnosed with ADD with other
delays. He is in the public system - 2nd grade, 50% resource
as well as speech and OT. They want to him to repeat 2nd grade
next year, although he has made great progress, his math and
spelling skills are excellent, they feel he would do well
socially and academically to repeat. He has seen several
doctors, does not fall under the category of autistic,
aspergers, or ppd. He has been defined as ''globally delayed''-
he is highly sensitve to sounds, and as I read the message
board and info from a website, he seemed to have a lot of
similarities of Sensory Integration Dysfunction. I need some
advice as to who we should take him to be tested for and what.
I feel so lost because in my heart I feel we have not found out
what is really going on so we can help him along. He is a
wonderful boy who is athletic and happy in his life- but really
struggles at school to keep up. Any advice would help .
You may also need other interventions, maybe a speech language therapist for example. But if you work fulltime (and so your kid does not spend all his free time at appointments) you won't be able to do everything at once.
I'm sure you can make progress. Good luck! anon
136 N San Mateo Dr San Mateo, CA 94401-2777 (650) 340-1280
I have been a Certified HANDLE Practitioner for 2 years and have a practice in Lafayette. My daughter has benefitted immensely from her HANDLE work. I have worked with many children (and adults) with issues simialar to your son's and have seen them make huge progress, becoming happier and more balanced in their lives. I am always unsure about answering these postings because I don't want my response to sound like an advertisement, I am just simply excited about what this approach can do, gently, respectfully and effectively.
Please look at the website www.learningandgrowth.com and call me if you would like more information email me at sindy[at]learningandgrowth.com. Sindy
We've been working with an occupational therapist for our 4-yr-old son's mild to medium Sensory Integration Dysfunction. She is interested in using ''Therapeutic Listening'' with him. I'm hesitant to embark on the additional expense, and also to incorporate a required portion of the program that my son doesn't really seem to like (doesn't like wearing the headphones.) I'm also a bit skeptical. Does anyone have experience with this? Did it work? What did the before and after look like? (ie. what kind of results did you have?
My son, 2.9 years old, has been diagnosed with Sensory
Integration Dysfunction. At 3 he will ''graduate'' from speech
and occupational therapy services from the Regional Center, and
now I'm looking for ways to support and help him. He has a
particularly hard time with very sensitive ears, which makes
preschool a challenge for him. He copes with sensory overload
by going off in the corner with hands over ears. He also tries
to counter the environmental noise with his own voice, talking
and singing to himself. He often avoids contact with other
kids because he is afraid they will cry or shout. Has anyone
experienced this problem, and have you found ways to help?
Unfortunately, staying at home with him is not an option; he
needs to be in full-time care. Have you found any therapies,
devices, schools, etc, which help such a (wonderful, bright,
delightful, but struggling) child?
Want to help my son
I've just been told that my 13-month-old son has sensory integration problems. Although he is a loving and sweet boy, he certainly has been a very difficult baby -- long bouts of screaming, difficult to soothe, inability to self soothe, inability to fall or stay asleep, tactile defensiveness, developmental delays, and so on. Although I've found a lot of information on this disorder in older children and in preemies, I can't find anything about what to do with a baby such as my son -- not an infant, but not yet a toddler. Has anyone else in this community been told that their baby has this disorder? And if so, what resources have helped you -- and what have you done to help your child? Thanks. Weary Parent
First off, please realize that all 13 month olds have very disorganized neural systems. They are all figuring out how to ''integrate'' all of the information - it just comes easier for some - so, please realize that 13 months is very early to be saying that someone has sensory integration issues.
That being said, whatever is going on with your son, there are specific activites that you can try which could help him feel more comfortable in his body and make you both a lot happier. ''The Out of Sync Child'' by Carol Stock Kranowitz, which is available in libraries and most book stores is an excellent first stop for info on sensory integration dysfunction. She offers many suggested activities and is very good at explaining neurological concepts in a very down to earth fashion.
If you need more specific information, I am a pediatric physical therapist and do work with kids with sensory integration issues and would be happy to talk with you further. Best of luck! sara
As is the case with your son, children with sensory regulatory difficulties tend to face these challenges from an early age. Frequently this goes unrecognized, as all infants are learning to manage their regulation to some degree. When something is recognized, infants are frequently labeled cholicky without further exploration into why. That you have discovered this about your child at such a young age is wonderful, as early intervention can be quite powerful. As every child is unique both in temperament and in specific sensory profile, the management of sensory regulatory and processing difficulties is, when applied appropriately, equally unique. LJ
We are discovering that our 4 year-old son may have a sensory integration problem and might benefit from OT. I'm interested to hear recommendations for private OT's as well as those who provide services in the Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito/Kensington public schools. We are unlikely to be able to afford private services for very long and want to find what's best for him in the public schools. Does anyone know of public school programs directed toward all students as opposed to just kids in special education? I've heard of a program in the Albany schools in which an OT goes into classrooms and teaches all the kids about things like coping with frustration and/or intense feelings, regulating activity level, managing need for high/low activity, regulating attention, etc. Also, what about names of specific teachers in the public schools who understand SI problems and how to address them? I'm also wanting recommendations for dance/movement/gymnastics type classes that could help my son develop his gross motor skills without leaving him feeling discouraged. He's a kid who is very active and loves to try new things but is uncoordinated and lacking muscle strength in isolated areas (mostly his upper body). I've had him in gymnastics and some other classes and he always ends up getting frustrated and responds by avoiding the activities and running around the room exploring instead or using the equipment in ways that aren't allowed. He's acutely aware of his difficulties and constantly compares himself to other kids (maybe just a normal 4 year-old thing?). The other day he overheard me talking to a mom about her son's gymnastics class and he told me, ''I want to take gymnastics again!'' only to tell me later that night that he'd changed his mind because, ''they are all better than I am.'' Sigh. anonymous
I would be interested to know of any occupational therapists in the Bay Area specializing in sensory integration, who can visit my child's classroom, observe, and make suggestions on improving the learning environment. Also, I have heard that equine therapy is particularly useful for children who did not have appropriate early childhood sensory stimulation. Has anyone found a resource they could recommend? Finally, is there a parent who has had Love and Logic Parenting training and who would be willing to share the experience? Many thanks! Needing some resources
Hi. I am a Pediatric Physical Therapist that loves working with kids who have sensory integration issues. I have experience teaching kids, parents and teachers about ''sensory diet'' and how to modify home and school environments. Much of this work is based on an approach called ''The Alert Program'', which teaches kids how to self-regulate. I'd be happy to speak with you further regarding this, or refer you to helpful written material if you are interested.
Regarding equine or ''hippotherapy'' - it's great stuff, and wonderful for kids with sensory issues. Xenophon in Orinda does a great job. They run from May through October. They usually have a waiting list, but put your name on it - things can open up more quickly than you think 925)377-0174. There is also a program in Nicasio, which is apparently free - I have no idea what it is like - call Julie, coordinator at 415)662-2488. I have heard of a program that recently started in the Oakland Hills (maybe Joaquin Miller?). Best of luck to you. sara
My son is 4-1/2 and his preschool suggests that he might not be ready for kindergarten next fall, although they aren't sure. They have suggested that we get a neurological and psychological evaluation, as well as an assessment of his success/lack thereof in sensory integration. His pediatrician suggests that we might also consider getting an "Individual Education Plan" done for him. If anyone has had a similar experience and found good people or services to provide one or all of these results, we'd really appreciate hearing names/numbers. Thanks!
As far as the sensory integration piece goes, this is something new that has entered our lives this fall. We always knew (and his preschool teachers would comment upon) that he moved a little differently than others and had some trouble with small motor skills (cutting with scissors, threading beads, etc) that led to mostly avoiding those tasks until recently. Our wonderful speech therapist recommended that he have an occupation therapy evaluation by the district O.T. He concluded that my son has mild sensory integration dysfunction, and we are now working at home on a home-based o.t. program that involves alot of fun big and small motor skills. For more specific info on the program they're adapting, get the book "The Out-Of-Synch Child" --there's also a website for this book as well (the author is Carole Kranowitz, I think). From there, you can find links to other sites that deal with this issue. I've found it tremendously helpful to finally have a diagnosis I can work with. More than that, though, the o.t. work has been amazing--we've been doing it for less than 2 mos, and my son can now draw, write his name, hold a pencil correctly (most of the time) and cut with scissors. We do alot of work with sewing cards, eyedroppers, etc, as well as working with his bigger muscles to build tone and flexibility (so he can modulate his muscles). I highly recommend that you consider having the evaluation done now, as well as looking at having him stay an extra year at preschool if that's warranted. The jump between kindergarten and first grade is significant, so even if kindergarten looks like it would work, consider whether he will be ready for 1st grade when it comes around. We are also supplementing this last year with taking Lawrence Hall of Science classes after school, so my son can get used to a more academic environment. Best luck with figuring out what's best with your son. -Roxane
I have a very sensitive 4 year old who does not handle group situations well and a pediatrician recommended Sensory Integration therapy with an occupational therapist to help him cope. He does not have any coordination or developmental problems, has friends and is doing well in pre-school. The problems arise at social events outside his normal routine, for example friends' birthday parties, school parties, and visits to our friends' homes. He is frightened, and will cling, cry and refuse to eat or use the bathroom. Has anyone had experience with Sensory Integration therapy? Does it work for a child who is very stressed by social situations? Does it work at all? Does anyone have advice about other coping methods? Thanks. Theresa
If you are as lucky as we were, your health insurance will direct you to the Oakland Easter Seals office, where you'll find Rita Montez, a truly awesome occupational therapist for children. She also works at an organization called Therapy Link for Children out in the eastern regions of the Bay Area.
Our journey in this area has been a real learning experience for me, characterized by almost universally fun activities that have brought about often profound change and growth for my child, and deepened my understanding of him as an individual as well as my understanding of the complex developmental processes of children in general. The more involved you become, the more progress he will make and the more enjoyable it will be for your whole family.
On a less "therapeutic" level, you might check out the classic *Raising Your Spirited Child* for strategies on helping him prepare for these high-stress situations. Best wishes -- Letitia
Oh yes, we have had a very good experience Sensory Integration Therapy My daughter (now 6) seemed to be doing just fine - articulate, fine in one on one situation, a little clumsy. We sent her to preschool when she was 3 yrs old because she was very excited about the concept of it - and she became absolutely overwhelmed, withdrawn, inarticulate, spacey. We had her evaluated by a physical therapist first, and she did have gross and fine motor delays (I'm actually a Physical Therapist, but at the time was working strictly with adults, so I didn't really "see" it in my own child), but traditional PT was only so helpful. We then took her to an OT (Denise Killingsworth in Walnut Creek - a great help) for sensory integration therapy and what a difference! We started seeing major changes, more comfort around crowds, less anxious, etc. within a few weeks. One of the pieces that was also a problem for my daughter was auditory defensiveness (noisy setting amplify to an almost unbearable decible level), which could also be a piece of your puzzle - there's things that can be done for that too.
The therapy is really fun for the kids - spinning, swinging, bouncing etc. Not all OT's or PTs are trained in this - you need to be very specific when you are looking for a therapist. It's nice that your MD mentioned it - there are many camps that scoff at the theory, even though its been around since the 70's and many, many people have been helped by it.
I could go on and on - if you would like to discuss it further, feel free to e-mail me and best of luck with your son. It's always a little scarey when someone suggests anything not quite normal might be going on with your kid - even if it's not a "big deal". The good news is, if he has sensory integration issues, there's lots of great stuff you can do. Sara
My 4/1/2 year old son is overwhelming me by his pure physicality. He is constantly climbing the furniture, me, my husband, jumping, rolling over things, etc(while a real dawdler when it comes to walking from point A to B.) We try to take him to parks a lot, and he is taking gymnastics now once a week, but things are still the same at home. I try very hard to point out the toy chest of unused toys, and engage him, but he'd much rather race through the house and throw his body all around on the sofa and chairs, jump from a table, etc. This stuff is not okay, as a rule, but he does it anyway. If I give him a timeout, I'll find him in his room teetering on the top of his sister's crib. He *can* sit still, when it involved a computer CD or a TV show, two things I'd like to keep to a minimum. Even my 2 year old daughter says, "Mommy is not a climbing structure", she's heard it so much. Any ideas besides more gymnastics? Should I allow him one chair that he can do his thing on!
The good news is that virtually everything I've seen so far in addressing this problem is sort of win-win, that is, it's stuff that is fun and that any kid might enjoy. Our child tended to be low-energy with hyper-energy bursts, and his balance wasn't so hot (trips alot). Some of the things we do in that regard involve spinning him -- you can go to the park and do the tire swing, or also I hung up a hammock from a single hook -- like a loop -- and I spin him a lot in that. The spinning can and should involve a *somewhat* abrupt change of directions -- depending on whether he's well-supported in pillows in the hammock, or not so well-supported out on the spinning tire, I stop the spin direction and reverse it. His body should not ever flop around: the idea here is that of a spinning bottle of fluid as metaphor for cerebrospinal fluid. When the bottle is stopped from spinning, the fluid sloshes against the other side of the bottle; in the body, this stimulates the sensory input in the nerves, helping them to mature and become more coordinated.
This is only one example; there is a huge range of activities that can help your kid. We also had delays in fine-motor skills and problems with visual perception. Other kids I know have benefitted enormously from a "brushing down" once or twice a day -- the parents or therapists use a soft-bristled brush that is stroked "in the direction fur grows". This seems to provide the body with extra overall stimulation that calms the kid down. The more in-home "gym" equipment you can provide, the better. If that means assigning one chair as the "jumping" chair, great! Or get a little trampoline.
You might think about taking your kid to a developmental specialist; I hear often about Dr. Bruce Berman, but we did not use him. Try to avoid the doctors who are inclined toward a ADD/ADHD diagnosis (hyperactivity) as long as you can; if you can keep your kid off Ritalin & other drugs, he will be better off in the long run (in my opinion). We do regular "occupational" therapy visits at Easter Seals in Oakland and have been very happy with their therepist's insights into what goes on with our kid.
A book that we found really helpful is *The Out-of-Sync Child*. It can help you identify what "flavor" of SID issues your kid might have and offer ideas for the kind of input he needs to help him gain control over his body. Keeping a journal of activities he's engaged in with overall assessment of "good" days vs. "bad" days is a good way to get a handle on things too, i.e., what activities consistently help this particular kid? Good luck!
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