Thanks for joining me along the journey! I'd love to hear what you want to know ... do you have questions about sensory processing disorder, gluten-free/dairy-free diets, homeschooling, faith, life in general? Send me a note or post a comment and I'll try to write something that addresses your interests and questions!

Friday, October 8, 2010

30 SPD Facts in 30 Days -- Fact #8

What are some signs of Sensory Processing Disorder?

Proprioceptive Sense: input from the muscles and joints about body position, weight, pressure, stretch, movement, and changes in position in space.

Signs Of Proprioceptive Dysfunction:
Under-responsive:  Constantly jumping, crashing, and stomping; loves to be squished and give/get bear hugs; prefers tight clothing; loves rough-housing; and may be aggressive with other children.

Over-responsive: Difficulty understanding where body is in relation to other objects; appears clumsy; bumps into things often; moves in a stiff and/or uncoordinated way.

Difficulty Regulating Input:  Doesn't know how hard to push on an object; misjudges the weight of an object; breaks objects often and rips paper when erasing pencil marks.

Remember that inconsistency is a hallmark of this disorder, so you may find yourself/your child being hypersensitive one day and hyposensitive another day and on yet another day seem completely normal.  For a more complete checklist of symptoms, click here.

In our initial evaluation, the OT believed this was one of the only systems that was working well for Josiah so he tended to rely really heavily on it.  I'm not sure whether his difficulty with it just wasn't showing up then, or whether he just uses it as his primary coping mechanism to get some sensory input that makes sense, but he looks and acts under-responsive in this area.  He fits EVERY description above -- he tends to walk and run with heavy steps, is constantly jumping and climbing, he loves to bump, pound, and crash into anything, especially people, loves play-wrestling with daddy, especially when daddy squishes him, prefers all his clothes a bit too small (particularly his shoes), and does tend to get aggressive with people, though he's learning to use his words more than his body :) 

Proprioceptive input is our best bet for calming him (though it doesn't always work).  Especially after he's done something that activates his vestibular system, which really ramps him up, we try to follow up with some "heavy work" to recenter him a bit.  We try to end OT sessions with some climbing, hanging or deep pressure, and some days he leaves OT with a heavy pad to put on his lap in the car.  We give him big bear hugs or send him to jump on his trampoline when he's getting a little crazy, or we burrito wrap him (a game we play that is essentially like swaddling our 5-year old!)  He sleeps with a weighted blanket to help keep him calm through the night (though at nearly 6, he still doesn't sleep through the night).  No matter the reason, he clearly seeks out a ton of proprioceptive input and we do our best to find safe ways for him to meet that need!

Don't forget to stop by Hartley's Life with 3 Boys to read 30 Stories in 30 Days, guest blogs from 30 different families about their experiences with an SPD child.

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