Sensory Processing Disorder

Sensory Processing Disorder

Joshua also has Sensory Processing Disorder, which can be associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder, or not. It is quite fascinating and there is a whole website in and of itself of information:

Suffice it to say, Joshua has many of the symptoms:

Tactile: input from the skin receptors about touch, pressure, temperature, pain, and movement of the hairs on the skin. Joshua is both hypersensitive and hyposensitive to tactile stimuli. He doesn’t like showers, but loves to have a bath. He avoids “messy play” such as finger painting, is overly ticklish, takes off his socks, gets distressed when he gets his hair cut, only prefers to brush his teeth himself and avoids anyone else brushing his teeth. However, he also loves firm hugs, mouths objects excessively, seeks out surfaces that provide strong tactile feedback (ie. falling asleep while laying on the hardwood floor, table, dresser), seeks out certain messy play (playing in the dirt, playing in his food), has a preference for sweet food such as fruit), has Poor tactile perception and discrimination: difficulty with fine motor tasks such as buttoning, zipping, and fastening clothes, may be a messy dresser; has difficulty using scissors, continues to mouth objects to explore them even after age two.

Vestibular: input from the inner ear about equilibrium, gravitational changes, movement experiences, and position in space. Joshua is both hypersensitive and hypo-sensitive to movement. He has a lot of fear of elevators, ceiling fans, difficulty with riding a bike or scooter. He also loves to run around in circles, loves to jump on the bed or trampoline, likes to swing, has poor core muscle tone, frequently slumps, lies down, sits in a “w sit” position on the floor for stability. He certainly is a kid with a routine plan. When we go to get out of the car, he has to climb up and sit in the driver’s seat and then call for me to open up the driver’s door so he can get out. He also has to step up on our porch and jump down into the garden, run down to the fence and back again about twice before coming into the house.

Proprioception: the sense of “position”; input from the muscles and joints about body position, weight, pressure, stretch, movement and changes in position. Joshua likes “squeezy hugs” and playing “steam roller”. He enjoys getting his skin brushed and having his arms and legs “squeezed and slightly pulled at the joints, a technique the OT showed me, early on.

Auditory: input relating to sounds; one’s ability to correctly perceive, discriminate, process and respond to sounds.
Joshua doesn’t care for the hair dryer and vacuum. When I use the mixer or food processor, he runs in to check it out, but not get too close. He also is really in tuned, it seems, musically, singing songs he has learned. He has also been quite impressive on the piano and strumming Bryan’s guitar. We may have another Beethoven on our hands.

Oral: input relating to the mouth; one’s ability to correctly perceive, discriminate, process and respond to input within the mouth. Joshua has some difficulties with the suck, swallow, and breath synchrony as demonstrated by difficulty using a straw, poor lip closure on eating or drinking utensils, and limited skill with blow toys or whistles. He also avoids crunchy/chewy foods and even ends up biting his tongue at times. Joshua is generally a good eater, eating a variety of foods from all the food groups.

Olfactory: input relating to smell; one’s ability to correctly perceive, discriminate, process and respond to different odors. I’m not sure if Joshua has difficulties in this area or not. Due to his limited verbal ability, it’s hard to know the source of his melt downs. Once, when in Target, he had a melt down as we went down the laundry detergent aisle, which had some extremely strong smells.

Visual: input relating to sight; one’s ability to correctly perceive, discriminate, process and respond to what one sees. Joshua was observed during his OT assessment as having “difficulty tracking a moving object and turns his head slightly diverting his eyes or body when a ball is tossed to him to catch. He also presents with difficulties modulating visual input as demonstrated by his poor eye contact. Joshua can also appear overstimulated in busy visual environments (i.e. large crowds of moving people); and he frequently appears clumsy or hesitant to engage in climbing or descending stairs without support due to poor depth perception or delayed awareness of visual input.” Joshua will react to ceiling fans and look sideways at books or toys, even laying his face on the object to get a “unique” perspective. Joshua is quite hesitant to come into my mom’s house due to her ceiling fan, even if it is turned off, he will look in her front window and stay outside, or avoid the room if he can. It’s taking some time to work with him about that.

I think this is one of the saddest part for me. I have no idea how the environment really affects Joshua. What I’m seeing and experiencing is not what he is experiencing. It’s no wonder he’s crying when he’s on the elevator, for instance. The way he clings to me for dear life, gives me a glimpse as to what he’s going through. He may feel like he’s falling off of the end of the earth when the elevator is lurching as it begins to ascend or descend. To get him through this, it will take a lot of patience, prayer and professional input to help us, help him. I’m grateful we are making progress.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 6th, 2010 at 4:34 am and is filed under Sensory Integration Disorder. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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