Answer to Q & A Submission...
Can School Make SPD Worse For My Child?
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before reading the answer. The
"history" will be important.
Sounds like things are pretty confusing, huh? Let's see what I can do to help.
First, PLEASE accept my deepest apologies at how long it took me to get this
submission up. Somehow it got buried... I am so sorry!
OK, my first thought is that you may be onto something when you are questioning
something may not feel right to her at school. SO many of our SPD kiddos have a
hard time with the school environment. Oh, it it just so common, you have no
idea! It is a tough sensory environment indeed!! The key, of course, will be to
identify the triggers. Sounds like you are trying to do this... great! Before we
talk about this, I want you to read a very relevant article my friend Michelle
Morris wrote, that may help you understand this further. It is called,
It Together… Or Not? Home Vs. School Behavior Of Your SPD Child. This will
help you understand why and what to do in a general way.
Now, specifically... you are going to want to take an inventory of the things
that may be bothering her... remember ALL senses. Is it the lighting, the
sounds, the smells, the sights, fear of tactile input from others, etc. I would
go through the
Checklist, pick things that may be bothering her, sit down WITH her and have
her help you fill it out. You may be surprised what she can identify as possible
difficulties or triggers! That is a good place to start. My gut is telling me
she is dealing with a good dose of sensory defensiveness?!
Once armed with this information, a good heart to heart with your daughter, take
this to your OT! She should be able to help sort out some of the potential
issues for her and possibly being willing to either do some observation herself
(she should!) or, as you said, getting a behavior therapist to do some
observation. However, I would REALLY encourage the OT's eyes, as she will see
things through a SENSORY lens instead of purely behavior. The behavior is
probably a RESULT of underlying sensory issues and the behaviorist might see it
through a different lens.
Ummm... if your OT is not willing to do some
observation within the school... I would seriously think about a different OT.
The school environment is where her "occupational" performance and abilities are
suffering and interfering with her daily life. This is the FOCUS of OT, really!
I'm not sure what kind of OT set up you have now... private or school based, but
I would consider both, or getting the current OT to at least go to the school a
few times. Private or school based, they should be able to be in her classroom
to sort some of this out! (It could be as simple as the fluorescent lights or
certain smells, etc. bothering her.)
I agree the social aspect is a problem... it needs work. I would highly suggest,
again, working with the OT to develop plans for your daughter socially. I would
also encourage a private psychologist or even the school psychologist work with
her... trust me... we have done BOTH. Your daughter sounds just like mine did
and we couldn't have overcome much of this (and are STILL working on it through
counseling) without professional help! The issues need to be identified and
actively addressed. Counseling would really help. And specific, step by step
goals! One thing at a time. But, I would also try to find a psychologist who
understands SPD... not always easy, but it can be done.
I would additionally recommend you and your daughter read a very relevant book
that could help! It is called The Goodenoughs Get in Sync: 5 Family Members Overcome their Special Sensory Issues. This book can help you and her identify some issues and help
her understand and relate to what may be going on with her.
The best thing you can do at this point is work with the school special
education team, counselors, and your OT. It needs to be a team effort and you
need the professionals on your side. Fight for it!
I also highly recommend you join the online support group
so you can talk to over 1200 other parents who have been right where you are
today. I KNOW they can help you on a daily and ongoing, supportive basis! They
are a wonderful bunch, ready to support you and give you the ideas and resources
you may need from here.
Two other articles that may help are:
The SPD Q & A: New School, Moving And Transitions
Using SI Theory To Solve Problems At School
I just want you to trust your gut, know that I feel you are on the right track
thinking there may be some school triggers, get those identified, work with the
OT for sensory and social related issues, find support in other parents of SPD
kids, and hopefully find a counselor that can help you guys through this. OT
will be key, of course. She needs to be actively engaged in weekly OT, for sure!
I hope this helps some. Give us an update if you can, since it took me so
unusually long to get this submission posted! Geesh, I am so sorry.
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