Getting My Tactile Defensive Daughter To Wear Long Sleeves
My 2.5-year-old daughter was recently diagnosed with SPD, and seems to mainly be oversensitive to touch and sound. We live in the Chicago area and it's starting to get cold out. She refuses to wear long sleeves or a coat, and I'm not sure what to do. If we try to force her to wear them, she has a meltdown. Please help with any suggestions!!!
This will improve through OT. I know that doesn't solve the problem TODAY, but I want you to have hope... this will not go on forever. Will she always have a "preference" for short sleeves? Maybe. But, with sensory integrative OT, she will be willing and able to tolerate long sleeves with time.
The most successful technique/therapy for her tactile defensiveness
is the Wilbarger Brushing Protocol or the Burpee Method of buzzing and brushing. Is your daughter's OT trained in either of these? The Wilbarger Brushing Protocol is a very common treatment used in OT for SPD, especially hypersensitivity to touch sensations. I would be leery of an OT who is not trained in this... so make sure yours is, OK? Chances are, this will begin soon if you are just starting therapy.
Have you tried a variety of materials/fabrics? Sometimes some work better than others.
Fleece vs. cotton vs. lycra etc. ?
Have you tried tighter vs. looser fitting? Believe it or not sometimes the tighter the fit, the better as it gives even deep pressure calming/regulating input (for example, a lycra/spandex shirt that is tight to her body). Some though will avoid tightness around the neck or wrists.
Have you tried tons of fabric softener? Soak her clothes in it as much as possible... many respond very well to this.
Have you tried second-hand/used clothes. They tend to be more comfortable when "broken in".
Just make sure your OT will be using SI theories and treatment to address the underlying defensiveness. To make sure you have the best OT to treat her SPD, please read The SPD Companion--- Issue #020 Are You Ready For Sensory Integrative OT... What You Need To Know Before Starting
Also, make sure you follow through with any home programs they suggest, consistently. Know the first few weeks and months will be the most intense, but will become less so over time as positive changes happen.
Because you have pursued and received this diagnosis so early in her life, know that the charges should happen fairly quickly. The earlier we identify and treat SPD, the 'easier' it is for her neurological system to change.