Hey All, as I was talking about in Part 1 & Part 2 of this blog series, I decided to put together a blog series basically of things I wished I would have known early on. Things to do, questions to ask and treatments to seek. We will pick up with number 3.
#3: Deal with sensory issues. I know this was a HUGE struggle for both Emma & Jen's little guy. Daily tasks of getting dressed resulted in reactions that sounded like the kids were being cut with glass. Going to the store was a meltdown inducing outing and the wrong food texture would result in gagging and projectile vomit. Good times.
Probably 99% of the parents that have come to our group have a child struggling with SensoryProcessing Disorder to some degree and ranging in what is affected. Emma is a "Sensory Seeker" in most ways. She never sits still, needs to chew things contantly, climbs, jumps, twirls, spins. She also has had avoiding behaviors. It used to be mostly around textures that she touched and ate & clothing issues like sock seams and jeans. Now it is mostly sound but she still struggles with the way certain clothes feel. First on our list was finding a good OT. Not all OT's are created equal and they general have areas of focus. When you call to schedule make sure that the OT they are sticking you with understands and treats Sensory Processing. They will first have you fill out a sensory profile assessment, talk to you and work with your child to get the entire picture. From their they will create a treatment plan which will include how often you are seen, what they do while you there and put together a "sensory diet" for home and school. I cannot even begin to tell you how much this changed our life. Knowing what helped Emma regulate gave me invaluable tools to help her. We put a swing in her room a couple years ago and this is still something she will use to calm down, we made a weighted lap pad to help her focus &/or calm down and always have a chewy on hand.
Seriously, I cannot say enough about OT!! I have attached links to certain terms and put the two places I can personally recommend for OT.
PrimaryChildren's Rehab is who we have used for the last 5 years for everything from feeding therapy and OT for both sensory & fine motor. They are amazing, pretty much take all insurance and are always willing to work out payment options. Their staff are the best of the best.
Easter Seals - Goodwill Northern Rocky Mountain (they are located in The Children's Center in Salt Lake City). I have not personally used them for regular OT but Jen has, as well as friends of ours. They have been very happy with their work. Insurance is a little trickier, but I do know they are working on adding more plans and offer sliding scale. I did do their "Wiggly Worm Sensory Processing Disorder Class" with Emma. It was a wonderful program for both me as a parent and Emma. It is offered a couple times a year.
We got our swing at IKEA, it was a fraction of the price of "therapy" swings. But there are other types of swings like a Lycra huggy swing that could easily be made for a lot less.
We made a weighted lap pad - again, all about saving some money! There are directions HERE
Chewy's are our very best friend! They calm down, save her clothes and her fingernails!
**Abilitystation.com is a locally owned special needs website, they donate a percentage of sales to Utah Easy to Love**
Other things that have been helpful - ear plugs, gum, fidgets, bubbles for deep breathing.
Sensory Processing Disorder is tough, it affects the very basic day to day things we have to do. It is also always changing. Things that bothered Emma 2 years ago have evolved and changed. There are things that don't bother her anymore and new things that have started bothering her. Getting a handle on this and knowing how to accommodate has made a huge difference in our journey.
Mark your calendars for March 12th (Salt Lake members) & March 19th for Davis County. Our Support group topic is “Sensory Processing Disorder” and we will have an OT presenting and answering questions.