I'm An OT With A Daughter Who Has SPD (I think)...

by DP

First of all, I want to thank Michele and Michelle for providing this invaluable resource to parents! I want to thank Michele specifically for creating this website because now I feel I am not alone. I,too, am an OT that has a daughter with SPD. She is 4 1/2 and such a wonderful, loving child. Yet, when she gets sensory overload, she is a COMPLETELY different child!

For about a year, I have been second-guessing myself, feeling that, perhaps becuase I learned about SPD through continuing ed, I was "reading into" my daughter's behavior. Because she only had mild SPD symptoms, I constantly asked myself, "Are her actions (especially tantrums/controlling behaviors) just behavior or sensory-related?"

However, in the past eight months, it has become more and more clear that she does have SPD. Her behaviors have increase due to A LOT of change. You see, eight months ago her baby sister was born AND one month ago we moved to the other side of the state, to a new house, and no longer see grandma and grandpa (who used to live next door) several times a week. What a LOT of change for anyone, let alone a child with SPD!

She is hypersensitive to sound, touch, and food textures. She insists on only wearing tank tops or her special "soft" pajamas, even when it's cold. Although she used to climb (with help), slide, and swing when she was two, from three years on, she became afraid of playground equipment (She also had health issues from 2-3 yrs old that prevented her from having enough exposure to playground equipment, which made me think it was just "lack of exposure" as opposed to SPD.)We just took her to a parade last weekend and she was on overload the rest of the day from all the fire truck sirens!

In the past few weeks, she has begun getting rough (and LOUD) with her little sister, yet, before now, she almost seemed afraid to be near her. (When her sister was a newborn and would wake up during the night crying, my oldest daughter would FALL APART, screaming even louder than my newborn while covering her ears.) She used to want to hold her sister, but would quickly move away with even the slightest wiggle of the baby. Now that her sister is 8 months old, my oldest does hold her, but "pulls" on her a lot, too and is a bit too rough with her at times. (But, overall, they ADORE each other and I love watching their interactions!)

Anyway, I was not able to find an SIPT certified therapist in the Pensacola area and am struggling with having both the OT and mom roles in her life, not to mention that I don't have the proper SI equipment at home to treat her. (I'm currently a stay-at-home-mom.) It's "easy" for me to see the SPD issues with other children, but I really need an objective (OT) person to look at the "whole picture" of my child's history from the outside, as I keep second-guessing myself and have my own "mom issues"/blaming going on. Just like any parent, I want to do what's best for my child! :)

Thank you in advance for any assistance/input you can give!

The SPD Help Line Answers...

It it hard being an OT, knowing what we know, wanting to help our kids ourselves, but then finally admitting we need additional help, isn't it?? As you know, I have been there too.

In your case, it does indeed sound like the additional, "non-mom", objective and experienced SI OT will be to your benefit! I am proud of you for recognizing that and admitting it, and reaching out for help! Not easy, but I am glad you did.

As for SIPT certified OT's in the Pennsacola area? I am not all that familiar with what towns surround you, but I do want to make sure you check the database I highly recommend. It can be found at: Florida SIPT Certified OT's in Florida. I know Florida is a big state, so there may not be one near you, but with 5 pages for Florida of SIPT certified OT's maybe you can find one??

If you have tried this database to no avail, then I would suggest you contact Michelle Morris directly as she lives in Florida... an hour north of Tampa, and she may have some possible resources for you. You can contact her via her website; www.spdparentshare.com. Her contact information is on that site and she would be happy to look for some resources for you, or direct you to someone who can.

I think you are right on track, given the information you provided me and the evaluation will be EXACTLY what you need. I think seeking outside help is a wonderful idea for the diagnosis and weekly treatment. Then, I know you will be awesome at helping her follow a sensory diet and follow through with whatever treatment she needs!! She is so lucky to have YOU as her mom, and a stay at home mom too. She will get all the help she needs.

I hope you can find a SIPT certified OT so you can get going!! Other suggestions on how to find an OT for SPD can be found in my first newsletter, just click here. And, don't forget to call any OT schools in the state... they may know of some too! But, I do think the database and Michelle can help you find one.

Take good care.
Michele Mitchell

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Dec 05, 2007
Re: OT with daughter who has SPD
by: Lauri

Hi DP, I can certainly relate to your plight. I am a PT who has a daughter with SPD. She is 10 years old now and has come so far. My daughter is hypersensitive to sound, touch, and vestibular input. My daughter started getting aggressive around 2 1/2 - 3 years old. My mother died when she was 2 1/2 and they were really close. I attributed her behavior to that, but it just would not go away. An OT friend of mine gave me a Sensory Profile to fill out when she was 5 and finally everything began to make sense. When she was 8 we took her for the SIPT. Prior to the eval her school would not recognize her problems for what they were. After the SIPT they finally started to give her the help she needed. We had to drive 2 hours from home to find a SIPT certified therapist and paid for it out of pocket, but it was definitely worth it. Good luck!

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