Does stress make SPD worse? (husband traveling)

by HP


My 7 year old was just diagnosed last month. This past week, my husband has been on a business trip. My daughter has been worse than ever before. Mornings have been extremely difficult for me (just arriving to the bus stop before the bus gets there). Dressing her is such a challenge. She won't brush her teeth.

She apologizes after, and feels so badly after for her behavior. I can't get mad at her, knowing she can't really help this.

1. Does the stress really make it worse?

2. Is this ever going to get better? She has issues with socks, pants, shoes... we are currently going to OT and doing the brushing, joint compressions and using trampolines at home.

The brushing is only done 2x a day since I am at work and she is at school.

Please tell me it does get better -- the stress level is going to kill me soon enough.


The SPD Help Line Answers...

The simple answer to your questions are... YES and YES! The end. Hehehe, just kidding.

But, seriously, yes... your husband being away, routines being disrupted, extra stress on you and your daughter can easily cause a flare up of symptoms!!

And, yes, with treatment... consistent, hard work things will definitely get better. The more you know, the more you understand, the more treatment she gets, the longer the treatment goes, the more intense it is, the better things will get.

I am curious... is she new to OT? How long has she been going? Did you just recently start the "brushing" (now called the Wilbarger Deep Pressure Proprioceptive Technique)? If you recently started it, things could get worse for a few days before they get better. If you have been doing it for a while... how long? 2x a day really is not the actual protocol. It is to be done every two hours for 2 weeks consistently and diligently, then tapered off. Did you originally do it that way? If not, it should be. Is your therapist trained in this protocol? I want you to better understand this program and the protocol to make sure you have been taught properly and by an experienced therapist. So, please read: The Wilbarger Protocol For Sensory Defensiveness.

Please also make sure your OT is experienced with SPD! Thoroughly experienced and additionally trained in SI theory and treatment. Please read more about what to expect from your therapist and the treatment here... Sensory Integrative OT... What You Need To Know Before Starting.

The best thing you can do right now is to increase her sensory diet activities! She does have a sensory diet, right? Oh, I hope so. Make sure to make time for these activities!!! This will help keep her regulated during the extra stressful times. Also, some increase in heavy work activities may help too. Proprioceptive input is quite regulating. If she is hypersensitive... turn everything down a notch in her environment, leave extra time for things, make pictures and reward charts, etc. Work with her extra needs... enlist help from friends and family if you need the extra time and support. You will get through this. Above all... talk to her OT about what you can do since things are stressful right now.

Oh, one last thing. Take the time for yourself to join and talk to over 1,200 other parents of SPD kids in the online support group SID-DSI_AllAboutKids. A wonderful support you could surely use!!

I hope this helps answer your questions.

Has anyone else experienced similar issues... when a change in routine happens?? Please share, it will certainly help mom know she is not alone and perhaps you have some great suggestions for her?? Thanks in advance.

Take good care.
Michele Mitchell

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