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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sensory Processing or Just Her Thing?

Most of us have some sensory issues in some capacity. Whether it's a certain something we don't like to touch, or a certain texture of food or drink we don't like to taste. For instance Kayla likes apples and applesauce but she doesn't care for apple pie/apple crisp (or any pie for that matter). I don't think she likes the soft texture of the apples when they've been baked.

A lot of kids with a disability are sometimes also diagnosed with a sensory processing disorder.

Kayla's never been diagnosed with this and we've never had any real concern about it, but sometimes I wonder if she does have something sensory going on that maybe impacts her more than we realize. Or not. Maybe these things are just little quirks like we all have.

She does not like having her hair brushed. Sometimes it's because of little snarls or tangles, but I condition her hair and I spray it with de-tangle spray. There are times she acts like it's the most painful thing in the world to have her hair brushed.

She also will not keep anything in her hair. When she was younger I could put barrettes in (not that they'd stay in very well because of her fine hair, but I could still put them in) and put her hair in ponytails. Not anymore. No ponytails, braids, barrettes, or hairbands. Some mornings she'll tell me "yes" that I can do something with her hair, but she usually doesn't come home with her hair the same way.

Last year I bought her a few of those shirts that have the necklaces attached. She would come home with the necklaces in her backpack. She's doing somewhat better this year of leaving the necklaces alone.

Belts on her dresses? She constantly unties them and then fiddles around with the belts to the point of distraction until those, too, come off.

She won't keep on any other type of necklace, rings, bracelets or watches. She seems to like jewelery ... she'll get excited about something, pick something out of a treasure box, but she simply won't keep it on. She got a watch for Christmas last year and several times would ask for it on but less than an hour later she's asking for it to be taken off.

She has come home from school with 3 of these rubber band bracelets and 1 ring. She excitedly shows me that so-and-so gave her this one and so-and-so gave her that one. She'll wear the bracelets; briefly. Back in her backpack they go. I've tried encouraging her to wear the bracelets by saying that's what the other girls in her class are wearing (as if I was ever the fashion-conscious girl growing up - not!), and telling her how nice it was that so-and-so gave her a bracelet and she should wear it to show her she's wearing it. Some mornings she'll head off to school with it on, but it's in her backpack by the time she comes home. In other words, she doesn't like to accessorize!

She loves things like paintbrushes, leaves ... anything feathery. She likes just holding them in one hand and brushing it across the palm of her other hand. She likes pretending many things are paintbrushes and that she is painting.

Sometimes she'll get a hold of a pencil and just walk around all afternoon with it. And then there is the thing that she does with the erasers on the pencils that drive me crazy.

She absolutely loves these Shoulder Buddies. Or more specifically the hair. She'll brush their hair over and over and over on the palm of her hand. Or brush the air with them. Or shake them out and then mold the hair over and over and over again.

She also picks at her nails, and the skin around her nails. Her fingers look bad, but I can't get her to stop something she doesn't seem to be aware of doing.

What kind of sensory quirks or habits do your kids have?

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ckbrylliant said...

Bridgie loves hair. We call it silking...like you would silk a soft blanket. Only she does it with hair...most often Barbie doll hair. Our barbies have the most cared for hair on the block. B also dislikes any touching of her ears. It is the most horrible thing you could do to her....touch her ears.

Stephanie said...

Owen's got all kinds of sensory quirks, but he has been diagnosed with sensory processing disorder. He likes to mouth lots of things, particularly cloth/clothing. He likes to spin, which gets completely out of control sometimes. He doesn't like touching things that are cold/slimy. We've been working on these things in private OT. Some things have calmed down, but are not completely gone. We just keep working on it!

Kerri Ames said...

Oh my gosh, every morning Boo screams as I do her hair. It is like I am torturing her. I've had some success of doing it while she is in the bathtub but even then it is a struggle.

It makes me wonder just what it is that sets her off

Thara said...

Lola doesnt have any sensory issues at all. It makes sense as she is a under simulated child.

Some children with CP are oversimulated and some are under simulated like Lola.

Could be just Kayla's quirks. My sister HATED having her hair washed.

My mama would speak softly to her as she washed her hair. My sister calmed down- the voice calmed her I think.

Margaret Bender said...

Alex is the same way about clothes and hair. I have always thought that any type of restrictions were not comfortable her....Me I can tolerated restriction. Alex does not. Interesting.

LJ said...

Maybe it's just kid quirkiness! :) Aaron too picks at his fingers all day. He's learned not to pull at the dry skin and to come find me so I can snip it. He learned the hard way that pulling it is painful and gross when it bleeds all over. I'm constantly giving him manicures!!

teal915 said...

Kamdyn is only 3, but she definitely has some. She is easy scared by things like swings and amusement park rides like the carousel, even though a year ago she loved them. Not any more. Playgrounds with slats or holes (pretty much all of them) scare her. Any kind of heights (stair wells where you can see down) freak her out. We are finally making progress on waking down steps. It scared her for the longest time. She does not like to be thrown up in the air like most kids her age do. She freaked out last week in the moon bounce at the buddy walk, so I guess we
Can add that to the list. She also
Hates her hair brushed.

teal915 said...

Oh, and she doesn't like her hands messy when eating or playing. No finger painting.

Jaimie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jaimie said...

Rest assured mama's, some of these things will get better with age! I am 26 and definitely would have been diagnosed with SPD as a child, had that been more of a "thing" in the late 80's/90's. I ate only very thin chicken or even had meat ground up until I was in high school. I won't sit down at happily eat a thick steak or anything these days but I can now eat meat off of a bone and order normally in a restaurant. I couldn't tolerate "dusty"(think of a the dry, dusty skin on a potato)/rough (flat paint) textures at all, as they literally made my skin crawl. Now? I don't want to throw up if I touch something with those textures. True, they're not my favorites but I can deal. I don't love big crowds of people but don't HAVE to leave a crowded/loud room now. Anyways, many kids learn how to adapt to those sensory needs and find appropriate ways to get input as they mature. There are so many great tools out there these days (chewable flavored rulers or chewelry anyone??) and OT is very helpful. Please feel free to email if you have any questions :) jgoeble at gmail dot com

FBF Rothkopf said...

You've described Sofia perfectly! The only time I can be mostly sure that the ponytail will stay in her hair is for swimming lesson (because otherwise her hair gets pulled by the goggles ...assuming the goggles have not been tossed across the pool already).

Sofia loves her "long glowing hair" (like Rapunzel), and loves to have pony tails and headbands...for about 20 seconds. Recently the head bands have been staying a little longer, maybe because the teachers make a big deal about keeping her hair out of her face. Without something to hold the hair back, she looks like Cousin It.

Same with jewelery: she loves it, but usually won't keep it on. Only recently has she started wearing a necklace for several hours at a time.

I bought her a bunch of makeup brushes at the dollar store. She'll use the big powder brush on her hair, her face, her arms, for hours on end.

She likes something to brush her fingertips. When she starts chewing her fingernails too much, I spend a few days really holding her hands and brushing the tips; it seems to calm her. It's also a good technique for putting her to sleep at night if she's too wound up.

She's certainly not the only kid with sensory ... preferences... in this house. As long as her hair is pulled back for swim and schoolwork, I'm not worried about it. And as long as she doesn't make her fingers bleed (which she sometimes does) from biting her cuticles, I'm ok. She'll never be able to scream as loud as her brother does when his socks hurt.

Beth @ Hope And Coffee said...

You just described Lauren. Especially the hair-brushing and hand-biting. Her hands are so marked up and picked at, I'm surprised she doesn't get infections. We've tried everything to get her to stop - chewies, vinegar, bandaids, reminding her (every.two.seconds), ignoring it. I'm convinced this is why she is always sick.

Kacey Bode said...

Ella doesn't keep jewelry on either and she hates "hairy" socks, those with threads on the inside. Hunter on the other hand has more quirks or whatever...he doesn't like any pie either, doesn't like fruit because it's squishy except for apples (not cooked) and grapes. If he is near anything silky he MUST go and rub it between his fingers, he will not blow his nose because he doesn't like that feeling...I'm sure I am missing a ton of his weird things that he does, but I had to point it out because he does not have Ds : )