Five-Year-Old Can't Behave Himself

by Alexandra
(Ohio)

I believe my five-year-old is hyposensitive. He's been given the developmental delay label, and he is in special-ed kindergarten, goes all day. He is in speech and occupational therapy.


He likes to throw things (including chairs), knock things over, clear tables of objects, and he likes to lick everything and chew on his sleeves. The odd thing is, he typically does this only at school but seldom at home.

What can we do for him?

The SPD Help Line Answers...


With respect to SPD what may appear "odd" to you makes perfect sense. The fact that your son exhibits these behaviors at school and not at home can indeed be a significant indicator of SPD. When a child's behavior is noticeably different in different settings, it throws up red flags. It might tell us his ability to process sensory input is inconsistant. It may tell us that your son is experiencing sensory overload at school and using these behaviors to express this and/or to try to regulate his system. His home enviroment may be easier: more predictable, structured,less chaotic,less stimulation... thus the better behavior.

I am pleased he is in a special-ed Kindergarten and receiving speech and occupational therapy. However,if you suspect SPD (based on Sensory Checklist AND Signs Of Dysfunction... What You Must Know then the best thing you can do is get an evaluation done by an Occupational Therapist who is specifically trained in sensory integration/sensory processing disorder. I suspect your current OT is not? Has she mentioned any suspicions of SPD? If your current OT is not trained in diagnosing and treating SPD, you will need to supplement school therapies with private OT. It will only be through this therapy that some (most) of his behaviors will subside (if it is SPD)

If you need help finding an Occupational Therapist trained in Sensory Integration theories and treatment, Click Here. This evaluation will be the best thing you can do for him.

Meanwhile, talk to your current OT about your concerns & see what she suggests. Also, I would try increasing proprioceptive input throughout his day. For ideas on activities you can do with him... read heavy work activities. These can help give him some input he needs to help him regulated and better able to tolerate the variety of unpredictable input he faces at school every day.

If you want to fill out the Symptom Checklist, then submit additional information in the comment box below, based on the checklist, perhaps I can give you a better idea as to whether his behavior may warrant an SPD evaluation. I just don't have enough information yet, but I would be happy to do so.

Additionally, can you find out from his teacher if there appears to be any particular times, situations, demands, or possible sensory input (or lack of) that may be setting him off? See what she has/has not noticed.

Lastly, if you can give me further information about what, specifically, his current OT is working on with him... what, how, how often, why etc., I may be able to help you further.

Looking forward to your response.

Take Care,

Michele Mitchell

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