Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sensory Processing Disorder

My son is currently 2 1/2 years old. When he 18 months, I started to get concerned that he wasn't really talking. He grunted alot and was able to communicate well with you, but just never used any words. My doctor said, "He's a boy, He's the first born... we'll revisit this at his 2 year checkup." Well, his 2 year check up comes along and still no words. My doctor finally decided we would get his hearing checked to start. Like I suspected, his hearing was fine. But this was the first step to getting some speech therapy. We went through the Early Intervention Program and they hooked us up with a multidisciplinary evaluation. There was our case coordinator, a med student, a speech therapist and a teacher. They would just have him do some basic activities, etc. Well, he clearly qualified for speech therapy. They also recommended an occupational therapy evaluation because they noticed a few things with his fine motor skills, etc.

He qualified for occupational therapy too, just borderline scores. So, as it turns out, some of his peculiar behaviors are making more sense. He got some Sensory Processing difficulties. He's a little more busy, active than most kids. He rarely sits down to do anything, wants nothing to do with watching TV. He likes to roughhouse and wrestle, crash, jump. This was explained to me that it takes a lot for him to be stimulated. He also has a very high pain threshold, which could give anyone watching him a heart attack. He has some low muscle tone in his mouth, which explains the trouble with his speech... and he drools a lot when he's concentrating on something.

This disorder manifests in different ways with different kids. There are various combinations of difficulties a kid could face. We've been doing therapy for 3-4 months and it has worked wonders. He's speaking much better. Everything isn't clear and he still needs to work on expanding his vocabulary, but we actually have conversations. He has been able to settle down to participate in some fine motor activites more and more. Overall, he's going to do well. He was born 1 month premature and it's possible he didnt' have enough time to cook. We didn't notice much because he's so good at his gross motor skills and those are the milestones that children meet typically in the first 12-18 months of life. We're lucky that we caught it relatively early. I asked the OT, if he didn't have the speech problems, how would we have noticed the other things. (I just figured he was a boy that liked to roughhouse... with the drooling, I just thought he was teething.) She said it probably would have gone unnoticed until school, where he needed to sit still for length of time.

I write this because if you have little ones and notice some different behaviors, you might want to get them evaluated. There's not a whole lot of resources yet on the internet, but I've found some books that I'm gonna check out.