7 year old daughter--this might finally explain things

by Beth

I am a teacher and have taken classes in special needs, but have never been able to "figure out" my 7 year old daughter. I took her to be evaluated at 3, concerned that she didn't speak clearly and was very distractible. The OT suggested I have her hearing tested, it turned out she had fluid in her middle ears (though had never had ear infections), she got tubes, and we hoped that was the solution. Her hearing improved, but her distractibility didn't. She does well in school, and we've been able to get her services with an OT for fine motor delay, but the verdict is always that, though there's a delay, she still falls in the low end of normal (though she's high in all other areas), so it isn't a "real problem." Reading this list was like reading a description of her!


She's a charming girl, very snuggly and affectionate, all her teachers love her and she works hard. But she seems to be hyposensitive to a lot of things, and can appear to be very spacey--I think other parents on here will know what I mean! She will walk around with food on her face after a meal seeming to not even feel it, she bumps into things a lot, if she says her stomach hurts she can't tell if it's nausea or cramps or if she has to go to the bathroom, she's unsure of her balance, very cautious walking down stairs or ramps, and she seems to "forget" she's left-handed, picking things up with her right and then having to switch. We have to use reminders for her, like, "People are not furniture," because she will just walk up and jump on people's laps (which can hurt if you're not expecting it, and be dangerous if you're drinking coffee!) and, "Think about your face," to prompt her when she's got food around her mouth or a runny nose.

I've never seen anything that seemed to link it all together until now, and have just been addressing behaviors. One strategy that seems to help is to get her to process information in more than one way. If I give her multi-step directions, I'll tell her to close her eyes and make a picture in her mind of doing each thing as I say it, and even have her make movements to mimic the action. This improves her retention greatly, I've found. Her handwriting is slow and can be almost illegible, so her OT introduced a program that involves writing a letter on a chalkboard while telling a story about how it's written, having her erase it with a small sponge, then trace it with a wet finger, blow it dry in the same shape, and write it herself with her eyes closed. We spend 10 minutes doing a letter/number or two a day and it has definitely improved her handwriting in the 2 months she's done it, especially reversals. Another writing exercise we do is posted at www.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/casl.xml, a handwriting program designed to help with legibility and writing speed.

I actually found this site after a friend's child was diagnosed with SPD. I had never heard of it and was looking for information--I was amazed to find an answer to my own questions! Thank you for putting so much information together in one place. And, as a teacher, I would just add to other parents, please be ready to explain SPD to your child's teachers--I graduated just a few years ago from an excellent teaching college, and still had never heard of this.

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Jul 15, 2010
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thanks!
by: Anonymous

My 7 y/o daughter, diagnosed with SPD, has the same troubles with multi-step directions - thanks for the tip of visualizing the steps before starting out. We're also having our dughter's eyes checked out by a pediatric ophthalmologist to see if some of the problems may stem from her eyes not working well together. She's definitely got some mid-line crossing hesitancy and it would make sense that it affects her eyes as much as her hands, arms, etc...

Jul 12, 2010
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vision?
by: Anonymous

Hi, I've read your post and my daughter (7)exhibits some of the same symptoms. There was something you said about walking into people and things. Have you had her vision checked? I had my daughter's checked because of difficulty reading- she would get fatigued and frustrated easily. She has 20/20 vision but when I took her to a vision therapist, the found out her eyes weren't always working together- this results in clumsiness and no depth perception (also difficulty in tracking and reading letters). She also forms her letters incorrectly and has many reversals. Recently her hand started shaking when she was trying to write a note. And her print, for whatever reason, is exceedingly small. Anyway more stuff to figure out. Best of luck to you and your DD.

Feb 20, 2010
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HELP
by: Anonymous

My 9 yr old has all these problems as well. I went to her developmental doctor, yesterday and because of a few things the teacher said they won't to try adhd med. I'm so upset. On top of all of this her speech is delay she can't tell me when she is in pain. She only eats soft foods. she has texture issues, only like soft clothing, won't wear a jacket in winter, and want's to wear one in summer. He said they wasn't enough there, to call it spd. But her o.t says she has it. He said she does have sensory problems but wants to try this. Why is it that a teacher can say what my daughter has but a mother can't? I don't won't to start these meds. because she has had problems w/ other meds for her sinus trouble, she was a zombie on a over the counter med. so the doctor had to change it.

She can hear things that are far away and it seems to bother her. I'm so tired of trying to prove this, I don't want to make her a lab rat. she is so sweet and i love her the way she is. I wish others could understand what spd is and expect it. Her hearing sounds that wouldn't bother us gets in the way of her trying to do activities as well as going places. I wish that the teacher and doctors would look at the big picture and not only small pieces of it. Has any else had this problem?

Feb 20, 2010
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ITA- handwriting
by: Anonymous

My DD is 11 and in the 5th grade. She was diagnosed at age 9 with SPD.

Her printing is illegible, especially if she has to print very fast. We were not able to obtain help from the school OT, to improve her handwriting, because her poor handwriting was NOT affecting her grades, (So they said- we have been sending her to tutoring for math and reading since 2nd grade, and we believe that her 4th grade teacher was a mindreader when it comes to her printing-LOL)

We have tried this with my DD- using a slant board (use a ring 1 inch binder)and directional practice sheets. Also pencil grippers and special pencils help. And "Our" OT has worked with her on hand strength. If you daughter loves art- especially coloring and drawing, this will help her. Also you may find that your daughter may become fatigued after a writing for a while. Watch to see if she puts down her pencil frequently, this is a sign of fatigue- so it may take her longer to complete printing. Have her stop and shake her hands and flex and unflex her them.

As your daughter gets older, she may not be able to write very quickly from things written on the blackboard. My DD's teacher helps out by sometimes writing the assignments from the board in her assignment book.

You may find that your daughter will never become a very neat printer- but maybe when she starts writing, she will excel. And starting keyboarding early for our kids really helps. My DD will be in Middle school at the end of this school year. She will attend keyboarding classes during the summer to help prepare her for homework assignments, so the computer really helps. And believe it or not the kids from 3rd grade on were handing in typed homework assignments, when they could.

IMHO- my DD does not like the "feel" of the direction in printing numbers and letters. We did not catch how she was printing early, so she prints many of her number and letters in a non standard format (wrong direction). Also when she wrote some of the letters backwards, she said that she felt confused. ALL backward printing completely disappeared by the end of the 4th grade.

My DD at age 11, still, does not quickly get left and right directions. And she is working with our OT on body placement awareness. She feels fearful or uncomfortable going down stairs and will not ride down an escalator.

So.. all I can say is "Are our daughters twins?"
LOL, You are doing great- keep telling everyone in the school system about SPD. Many facility and staff are starting to understand.

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