Is This Tactile Defensiveness? How Do We Help Her?

by Joanne
(Canada)

I'm very, very new to this whole SPD thing. But looking over the checklist (which I haven't finished yet), my 7 year old daughter is described perfectly! I'm now starting the process of getting help. In the meantime, my questions are:


1) Like I said she is 7... is it too late to really help long term? We've been frustrated for years but I'm only now seeing this stuff and I feel so terrible that we weren't able to get help sooner.

2) Besides all the stuff on the checklist, our main concern which is interfering with every day joy and function is a) her eyes and b) her bum. She's definitely easily irritated by light, TV, reading, etc. but our additional problem is that she's saying that her eyelashes "stick" together which leads her to rub along the rim of both eyes and even pull her eyes apart constantly, leading to very inflamed eyes and the skin around her eyes. We're currently using an allergy eye drop but it's not showing any improvement at all. Any suggestions for relief?

3) She complains constantly that her bum bothers her... the underwear feels awful between her cheeks, but even when it's off, she complains that it feels like there's a stick in it or that her bum cheeks stick together, etc. Between her eyes and bum, she is constantly in a state of turmoil (as are the rest of us) throughout the day. We've tried various creams on her bum, but nothing helps. Walking, sitting, anything drives her crazy with these two things. Suggestions for relief?

She had severe ezcema until 2 years old and thus has very sensitive, dry skin and we've been thinking that maybe all this was related. But this website has been very helpful in hopefully pointing us in the right (or different) direction.

Thank you for your coming response.
Joanne

The SPD Help Line Answers...



7 years old is definitely not too late to get your daughter into therapy and for long term results. It may take her system a little longer than a 3 year old, for example, to become better integrated, but now is the time to do this.

Now, about the guilt... about not getting help sooner? I understand where that feeling comes from, but I want you to try to know deep in your heart, you have done the best you can do with what you knew. And that is enough. No one ever told you about SPD before, so how could you have done any different? What's important is you are learning now, and this may be your answer. So we move on from here with new knowledge, an open mind, and a deeper understanding. An article that may help you is... The Moms Have It. How To Deal With Guilt.

As for your daughters specific issues regarding her eyes and bum... it could be related to tactile defensiveness, but it is hard for me to know for sure until/unless she is evaluated. If it is a result of hypersensitivity, then there are desensitizing and sensory integrative techniques that will help her. And, honestly... the best I can do for you at this point is to help you make sure she gets an evaluation and treatment. It sounds like your daughter will need and benefit from this.

If you need help finding an OT to do the evaluation, please read Finding An Occupational Therapist For SPD. This will help you know what to look for and provides you with a database with which you can look up a certified OT who has experience working with SPD kids.

The only suggestion I have for her bum is to try powder, as that may diminish the skin-to-skin contact.

As for her eyes? The allergy medicine sounded like a good idea to rule that issue out. But, since it isn't working... maybe you can have her doctor check out if she has "dry eye"? Which would mean a different type of eye drop.

Since I don't know your daughter, I highly suggest you continue talking to your doctor to rule out any physical causes of these two particular issues. And, while you await an SPD evaluation, read as much as you possibly can so you have a greater understanding of how SPD may be affecting your daughter and what you can do to help her. In particular, pay attention to information regarding tactile defensiveness, as this may give you some answers.

Also, check out my recommended books about SPD at The Sensory Processing Disorders Store. These should give you some additional information you are looking for.

So, hang in there. Know that you are on the right track. Be thankful you did find out about SPD now while she is still young. And know that with an evaluation and proper therapy your daughter will get better and you will find answers and hope.

One last place you can find information, validation, answers, hope and resources is in our online support group with over 1,000 other parents of SPD Kids. I highly recommend you join AllAboutKids.

I hope this information helps get you started in your pursuit to help your daughter.

Does anyone else have any ideas or suggestions? Respond below.

Take good care.
Michele Mitchell

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