Understanding Sensory Integration Disorder

The slightest change in our brain processes can influence how we manage things that come into the brain, and are then processed. It is a neurological disorder that affects daily living, academic progress and social interaction. Some of the signs that you may see in a child with SID are:

– acute awareness of background noises

– fascination with lights, fans, water

– hand flapping/ repetitive movements

– spinning items, taking things apart

– walking on tip-toe

– little awareness of pain or temperature

– difficulty with transition

– self-injury, or aggression

– fearful in space (ie on swings, seesaws or heights)

– avoidance of physical contact with people or certain textures

– child may have a short attention span and becomes easily distracted

– may react strongly to stimuli on face, hands and feet

– A strong dislike of certain grooming activities

– unusually sensitive to sounds and smells

– frequently adjusts clothing (ie socks, pant legs)

Some of these things effect Malik now, some in the past, and I’m sure some are still to come. Right now the things that I currently deal with and make me nervous are the fact that Malik does not feel pain (or if he does, it is very little) or temperature. It doesn’t seem to matter how cold or hot something is, whether it is food, water or temperature outside. They have no effect on Malik. As well as pain, I can count on one hand where I actually can remember him crying out because something “hurt” him. Even then, I wonder if he was reacting to the shock, more so than actual physical pain. There is minor self-mutilation. Malik out of frustration and over stimulation bites his right hand, and has for about two years. I really hope that there isn’t any permanent damage from this. Living in Las Vegas makes his light obsession a little hard. He wants to stop and STARE at any moving or flashing lights and brushing his teeth is a serious daily task.

So what can be done to help with this overload that our kids are experiencing? We need to help them get to a better place where there is less sensory over load. This can be done by providing vestibular and proprioceptor input. Swinging and bouncing are two very simple ways to provide vestibular input. Malik has a therapy swing in his room that his Mimi (grandma) bought for him a few years ago, as well as a trampoline in the back yard. He started on a little mini one in his room because he was so small, and now has graduated to the large one in the back yard. Another request that Malik makes often is water play. Whether its going swimming, playing with the hose in the back yard, or as simple as a bath, all of these forms will help him get the proprioceptor input that he needs.

Malik is my little cuddle bear. He loves to receive compressions, especially when trying to fall asleep. Needless to say, him and Mommy sleep together a lot.

If you need ideas on how to help regulate your child with SID let me know, I’d love to help.

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About From One Special Mother to Another

I am a mother of two special needs children. I understand both the stress and confusion that it takes to start and continue the process of getting your children the evaluations and assessments needed before and during school years. What I would like to do is provide information and support to parents either just starting, or continuing this process. While at the same time providing a place where other parents can ask questions, share information or just talk to parents who are dealing with similar situations.
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