A Common SPD Problem.... Difficulty Making Friends
(Click here for the FIRST part of this help line submission if you found this
without coming directly from the SPD Q & A)
Kudos to you for getting your daughter OT, PT, Speech Therapy, and educational
help over the years. I'm sure this has make a big impact of her level of
functioning. It sounds as though PT has made the most impact and specifically
addressed some of the core issues-- balance, strength, proprioception, etc.
As far as speech goes? 15 minutes every week??!! Personally, I don't understand,
given her diagnoses, how this could possibly be enough! What can a therapist
accomplish in 15 minutes? I understand this is in addition to the therapy every
other week at The Children's Hospital... but this surely doesn't seem to have
been enough. I would definitely push for more therapy-- on a weekly basis.
Perhaps this will come at your IEP meeting? I do hope so!
Now, as for her OT therapy? I am quite concerned, particularly regarding the
therapies that appear to have NOT been done to address the underlying sensory
processing issues. First, the once every other week, given her many issues, is
just not enough. Not only that, but it does not appear, from what you have told
me, that the OT who treated her was certified or experienced (to the extent she
should have been) in sensory integration/sensory processing theories and
treatment. And, by what you said, it sounds as though your daughter has been
discharged from OT?? Perhaps she made some progress in some areas, but if the
underlying processing and integration issues were not treated and addressed, she
will continue to have difficulties. So I highly recommend your daughter is
working with an experienced SPD, or SIPT certified, therapist. To find one,
To Find An Occupational Therapist For SPD.
Also, I highly recommend you read
Integrative OT... What You Need To Know
for a deeper
understanding about the type of therapist you want and what you can/should
expect from therapy.
Until your daughter receives OT from a sensory integration certified/experienced
OT at a greater frequency and a
that can be done at home between therapy sessions, her sensory seeking
behaviors will continue to interfere with daily functioning and her friendships.
With that information, I know you WILL find the therapies you need! Obviously,
the current OT is not giving you, or your daughter, what she needs; as is
obvious from your statement "I have asked the OT how to give her what she is
seeking but have been unsuccessful."
THIS is unacceptable, if
that is exactly how it happened.
Regarding your question about the joint compressions... "How can I do this if
she wants to go outside and play with no notice?"
Here's the thing... If you
get an OT experienced or certified in sensory integration theories and
treatment, you will learn a few things:
1. Following a sensory diet every day will keep her more regulated throughout
2. These joint compressions you talk about work great for sensory seeking
behaviors and self-regulation when done VERY consistently and in addition to the
Wilbarger Brushing Protocol (MUST be taught to you by an OT; do not do the
brushing on your own.... the joint compressions are ok to do though).
3. That IF she is following a sensory diet every day, throughout the day, the
big body movements she engages in outside will, in themselves, be therapeutic
4. That you can teach her to do some quick joint compressions herself (push down
on the top of her head, on her shoulders, do wall or chair push ups, etc.)
BEFORE she plays with her friends or when she is feeling out of control (or YOU
notice she is out of control).
5. For now, you will have to help her play with her friends and get the input
she needs, also monitoring her seeking behaviors she uses ON her friends... she
can't help it (you know that) and you will have to help her until she gets the
therapies she needs.
Re-direct her. Help her notice when she is being too rough. Monitor her while
she is playing with her peers. Have HER explain she can't feel things the way
her friend does and sometimes she gets rough or will hug too hard. Have her ask
her friends to let her know when that happens. Talk to her friends and their
parents about her difficulties, that she is getting therapy to help her, that
you will monitor all play, and that she wants her friends to let her know when
she is too rough or too intrusive. Some kind of agreements with them and their
parents? You know? Is there another sensory seeker friend? That would be better
than a hypersensitive child.
Also, plan very ACTIVE play dates, so she is getting PLENTY of input during that
time with her friend. And give her the heavy input she needs before playing. To
learn more about activities you can do with her during or before getting
together with her friends, go to Heavy
But, know it WILL get better through therapy.
I am hopeful that you will receive help through an IEP and that with that, your
daughter will have access to the sensory room at school. I am excited that she
is even at a school that has a sensory room! That is rare and a wonderful
advantage you have of being at that particular school! Even if she does receive
services through the school I would also encourage private OT and/or speech
therapy with a SIPT certified OT and an SLP with similar experience to really
address the underlying processing issues for a few months.
As for cranial sacral therapy? I do not know enough about it in relation to SPD.
I know some do it and had success, but I can't really say anything from any
research and/or personal experience. Anyone reading this have any experience
with SPD and cranial sacral therapy? We would LOVE to know!! (You can let
us know in the comments box on the
page the first part of the answer is on.)
Good luck at the IEP meeting and finding the therapies your daughter needs. Any response or input? You can submit it below in the comments box. Thanks for all you are doing for your daughter and for reaching out for help!
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