Although I didn’t have a name for it at first, this is something I have been asking myself since my daughter was born.
She earned her first nickname, the friendly pterodactyl, at three months old. She always had the need to screech and make sounds–especially in response to other sounds. Always.
Then there were the rocks. The rocks she was compelled to put in her mouth and chew. Every. Single. Day.
Yes, this is something most babies and toddlers do. But there was a level of compulsion to her rock fetish that made it different. She would scream for them from her stroller and collapse in a never-ending pile of sobs when I would pass them by.
To top it off, this child never, ever, stops moving. Even the most spirited children have nothing on this one.
Calm down? Forget about it!
She doesn’t even stop moving when she sleeps at night. Believe me, I know. My husband and I co-sleep with her.
She is constantly kicking, rolling, moving and never wakes up in the position she started in. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to place her back in bed right side up.
Worse, she can not keep her blankets on. Even in the dead of winter we wage our blanket war. I am constantly pulling them up while she is constantly kicking them off.
Squeeze the animals until they squeal, yeah.. that one took a while to correct.
Try a new food? Good luck with that. Hot or spicy? Yeah… never.
Wear jeans? No way! Forget about socks, she won’t even wear shoes.
Parking garages are the perfect reason to chirp like a bird. Let the caregiver beware, anyplace else with a good echo is also fair game. Yes, even restaurants.
When we go for walks she barks at the sound of cars driving too fast. Freeways are barked at ferociously. She is often a doggie during pretend play so this makes sense.
Inside voice? I really don’t think she has one.
Watch fireworks? Boom, boom, WHAAAAAAA! At least she and the dog have that in common. No fireworks, check.
Still today every unknown noise is met with a fearful, “What is that mommy?” If I’m not nearby, she will run screaming to me as if she were being chased by an ax murderer. “Mommy! Mommy! What’s that noise?!”
Then I discovered the term SPD–Sensory Processing Disorder.
This post contains affiliate links — opinions are my own.
Does My Child Have Sensory Processing Disorder?
Could this be the answer I was looking for?
It’s still too early to tell, but it’s a start. For now we are just watching and waiting along with our doctors.
She has no problems with some typical signs, while others are a perfect match.
Balance issues, nope not her. Problems with coordination and agility? Not this champ.
Simply, she is intensely overstimulated in some situations and cool as a cucumber in others.
All in all, she is a normal kid.
Instead of wringing my hands in wait I have decided to meet her uniqueness head on. I have armed myself with resources to help her develop her sensory systems.
Most importantly, I have learned that no child with sensory issues is the same.
To put it simply, children with SPD either over react or under react to the sensory stimuli around them. They are even known to both over react and under react to the same type of sensory stimuli like my daughter does with sound.
My daughter speaks loudly and never stops screaming while she is fearful of loud or strange noises. Very interesting stuff.
There are those that claim the decrease in outside play and increase in screen time has been met with a corresponding rise in sensory processing disorders. I have answered them with lot’s and lot’s of outside free play.
Still I wonder, Is there something more I can be doing? Is there something out there to help me understand what my daughters needs are?
In it I learned,
ALL children have unique sensory preferences and needs. When we don’t fully understand sensory processing, we may misinterpret behaviors, labeling children as “naughty” or “spoiled.” When parents and teachers understand the basics of sensory processing, they are more tuned into kids’ basic needs and can use simple strategies to address them at home and in the classroom.”
Whew! Thanks. I really needed to hear that.
Of course, it is important to stay in communication with your doctor if you think your child may have sensory issues, but it’s nice to have a guide filled with lots of information that even doctors and therapist can use.
This book is for everyone whether you are blessed with a child like mine or not. Every parent, teacher, and therapist can benefit from the knowledge contained within this book. Even so-called normal kids can thrive and develop their sensory systems to the fullest using the simple activities found in this book.
This is a book about sensory processing and how it supports healthy child development in all children. If you’re looking for answers to understand your child’s sensory needs and things you can do to help develop your child’s sensory systems in addition to what your child’s OT offers, this is the book for you.
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Nell has over 20 years of experience working with children and is the founder of Rhythms of Play. She believes in the wonder of childhood, the power of the imagination, learning through play, and getting outside in all seasons! Learn more…