Help convincing parents their son has SPD!

by Kristina
(San Antonio, TX)

I am a home daycare provider and my son has a few sensory issues and speech delay. Both of my son's speech therapists have made comments about the 3 year old boy I watch. Then the day my son had his first OT evaluation, I was getting a bottle ready for one of the other babies & the OT sat down with the 3 year old boy - not my son. She was very surprised when I told her that he was not my son. She said that he had definite sensory issues and needed to be evaluated. That brings the total to 3 trained specialists that have seen symptoms in this child.

The problem is that the parents are completely in denial. When I first brought up the subject, the mom seemed like she wanted to help her son, but the dad was totally defensive and now they say that doctors are too quick to diagnose Autism and they are just going to watch him for now. This child is speech delayed, walks on his toes (curled over like a ballerina), won't walk on grass with bare feet, is constantly crashing into the couch, hand flaps and licks the textured walls! The worst part is that he's now inciting the younger kids I care for to try to stand on their head (causing them to fall into the entertainment center & hurt themselves) and to run in circles screaming for no reason. I'm exhausted and frustrated, but most of all sad that this child is not getting the help he needs.

So I guess my official question is - what did it take for you (as parents) to finally see that there was a problem and to seek help? His 3 year well checkup is coming soon. A friend suggested that I call the doctor myself and give them a heads up in case they do the usual 15 minute walk in and out and don't see any of the symptoms. What can I do????

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Sep 24, 2008
Tread Lightly
by: Anonymous

My son has also been assessed for SPD, so this is all new to me. He never showed any of the signs as a baby nor a toddler but we new there was something just not right when he started school. He never had any problem areas with the class work, he thrived in the classroom, but something happened to him when he got out in the playground, he changed, my Angel became hell on wheels as it was too overwhelming for him, however on a good note, over the last 3 months there has been a big change in him and we are very happy with his progress.

Just a short note about your concerns. First of all no parent wants to hear there may be something wrong with their child, we live in a society where children are only excepted if they are so called normal. We all want our kids to be happy, healthy and normal, meaning like the rest of their peers. If my caregiver were to come to me with this, I would take it into consideration, as you as a caregiver would see it considering the amount of time you spend with the child and experiencing SPD within your own family.

However, what I would not tolerate is my caregiver phoning my doctor, slipping notes and having their doctor diagnosis my child while at an appointment with their children. Not only would the caregiver be fired, but they would find themselves at the other end of my lawyers desk. You are in fact the caregiver, you did your job, and you did it well by making the parent aware and this is where it should have ended. Give them the resources, but don't push it, the parent will withdraw.

The parents know their child best and they will come to the conclusion on their own, or maybe they won't. Yes, you care about the child and his well being, but remember you are in fact the childcare giver not the doctor nor the occupational therapist. Tread lightly my friend, if you care about this child and his well being, take it slow, but don't make it an issue. Having said that I have had the same childcare provider since my child was 8 months old and he is now 6, she is not just my childcare provider, she is my friend and if she has a concern, I am there, regardless of the situation. But not all parents are the same when it comes to their kids.

Sep 12, 2008
Convincing the parents
by: Lauri

I am a physical therapist who works with children. I also have a child with SPD. I think I would leave it to the professionals who are working with your child to find a way to convince the parents. Maybe they could talk to them or write them a note. In the past I have been able to convince parents that their child needs help for their symptoms. Downplaying the possibility of a diagnosis and focusing on improving the symptoms the child is demonstrating may help.

Just because a child has sensory issues it doesn't mean the child will be diagnosed with any type of syndrome or disorder. You may also want to point out that many times a child will outgrow the need for therapy if the therapy is started early enough. Many of the children I have worked with who didn't get help early end up with problems that linger much longer than they would have if therapy had started early on. Good luck!

Sep 11, 2008
Hard situation...
by: Jessi

You'll have to tread lightly so they won't take their son out of your care. As for me - I was desperately trying to find out what was wrong with my son and came across it on the internet. About that same time I had an appointment with him to see a developmental pediatrician who diagnosed him. After that we started therapy and he's worlds better after a year.

I would suggest going with the most tangible symptom the child has and bringing that up to the parents. If he's speech delayed, suggest that they take him to be evaluated by a developmental pediatrician to see if he needs speech therapy. A good Dr. will see the other symptoms and bring it up. This may help Dad - the information coming from a doctor. I've read about other Dads on this site who were reluctant to admit anything was wrong with their children. I guess it's a pride thing, and hopefully not anything more.

Just be careful about how you bring it up and hopefully over time they will realize what you already do... that their son will have a happier and more fulfilling life if he gets intervention while he's young.

Good Luck!

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