My son wants everything as tight as possible.

by Donna
(Richmond Hill, Ga.)

My son is six years old and was diagnosed with SPD and OCD when he was four. His issue seems different than the one's I have read and researched about. He likes things as tight as possible. When he began school, he was supposed to wear a belt. Well, he was wearing the belt so tight that he was making his waist raw and scabbed. This went on for a couple of months and I just couldn't let him continue to hurt himself even though this is what his body wanted him to do. So, I spoke with the principal of his school and he no longer has to wear a belt to school...ever. It became part of his permanent file.


That problem was solved except, the pants that he wears have adjustable waist bands. This became the same problem when he figured out how to adjust them to the number 9 hole on each side. He would hold his breath and tighten them accordingly. This went on for some time until once again, I decided to do away with this kind of pant. Now, we use pull on pants..no belts needed and no adjustable straps. I have had to alter the waist with a stitch or two because sizes and brands vary so much.

The other issue is his shoes. He wants me to tie them as tight as I can. He actually wants the eyes of the shoes touching each other. I have tried velcro and it is the same way. He still is unable to tie his own shoes. He wants to learn it he doesn't think he will be able to tie them tight enough.

The last issue is ..when he is seated at a chair at the table, he holds his breath and wants you to push him in until it is tight on his stomach. If it happens not to feel tight enough, he will remove himself from the chair ,push the chair aside, and stand to eat. This is not a problem at school because the school lunch benches are stationary. If there is anyone out there who has had to deal with this type of sensory disorder,please help. I am in tears over this. I just don't know what else to do.

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Aug 29, 2016
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Same here 21 y old from France
by: Pauline vaillant

Hi, i am same about the need of tight belts. So strange, hard to explain.

Aug 29, 2016
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Tight shoes.
by: Anonymous

As a kid for a long time i used to where lace up shoes because they were tight. However I loved how tight they were so much I would tighten them to the point just before they broke. But this ended up stunting the growth of my feet meaning that now a at the age of 16 I am wearing size 4 shoes (My friends that are similar heights to me are wearing shoes almost twice as big).

Jul 25, 2016
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Daughter is 11 and still doing this~
by: Anonymous

My daughter has been doing this since she was a baby. At first it was cute, she loved the feel of silk think (such as her blanket- rubbing it etc.) then as she aged and began tying her shoes and tightening the waist bands of her pants it became problematic. After research, my concerns were confirmed: Tight clothes (such as waist bands, belts, etc.) can cause nerve damage. She is going into jr. high this year and everyday is a struggle having to tell her to loosen up her pants. She gets tearful, saying they feel too loose. I may ask her doctor to refer her for possible help or therapy to help her cope with her sensory issues. I don't know what else to do- I have even threatened to cut the waist band adjustors out of her pants because I don't want her to have nerve damage around her waist. Thank you all so much, so glad I am not alone!

Feb 04, 2016
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tight shoes an belts
by: Pauline Vaillant

Hi, happy to find other peoples to talking to about this.
I am f 23y from france, and not a lot of information in france about "spd" or this type of "problem".
Since young, i must have my shoes and belt really tight. It make me in secure, cant really explain why !
Nobody really known this, i was not diagnosisted.I just have some probleme in school about concentration.
I just whant to say if your daughter or son wear tight shoes or cinch waist really tight, dont judge and even let him doing it, cant injury (myself never probleme).
i have a question please : your son or daughter ever asking you to try yourself wearing a tight belt ?
Thank for talking...
Pauline

Oct 16, 2015
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Son wants his pants very tight. SPD or OCD?
by: Anonymous

My 9 years old son started a year ago to like his pants tight as possible on his waist,if the pants does not have string or belt then big tantrums comes.and the worse part is he starts to roll up the pats down till show all his butt,and the shirt has to be long to cover his butt.and then the pants length get short on his leg and looks like he's wearing a size 5 pants.

He also wears two underwears every day and roll up the underwears down till looks like a string and show all his butt,he makes basically a string with his two underwears and positions on his rip that letting his butt out,yes very weird.

He is also a selective mutism,but he got a lot better with that lately.
He was diagnose with high level of anxiety,the doctor wanted to him on a small dose of medication,but my ex husband doesn't let him take the medication.

He also does not accept to cut his nail,he cries and says that hurts and the day I cut his nails he can't touch anything at all with his hands. I have to cut when he's sleeping because if he sees he gets very aggressive.

Now I'm not sure if this is SPD or OCD

Aug 28, 2014
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Spd
by: Anonymous

Tactile defensiveness and propioception therapy from an occupational therapist will help but, I would buy crocks, no belts use a weighted jacket or carry a heavy backpack or something. Use a stool at the table.

May 03, 2014
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I'm 34 now and I remember feeling this when I was around 4-6 years old
by: Anonymous

So interesting,
I resonate with a lot of these comments. I remember I needed my ponytails and pigtails pulled tightly, my velcro shoes as tight as possible against my feet and would always want to feel a bit of tension... I think it helped me feel secure in a way but also 'supported' (( I still like my sneakers/hiking boots tight to help keep my ankles supported)).

I am not sure what its all about... I also like things visually lined up and organized, which i noticed some other folks listed.

the kids will figure it out and perhaps its helpful to have them work with therapist specialists to help them work through these issues that may be related to emotional processing?

To this day, I love feeling 'snuggled in' to things - like those massage squeeze-booty things- it helps me relax...

perhaps these kids need a bit of physical therapy massaging for tension relief?

Good luck!

Dec 15, 2013
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Shoes laces way too tight!!
by: Anonymous

My son turned 9 last month. For approximately the last 6-12 months he has tied his shoes so tight that we've had to replace broken laces numerous times. Now, he tightens them so tight (eye to eye) that he has constant bloody sores and scabs under the tongue of each shoe.

He also makes this facial movement that pops his jaw so often that he complains of ear pain. When I point it out, he is not even aware that he is doing it. After reading these comments, I also realize the tightness of his pants/drawstrings is yet another related issue.

We had him tested for autism/aspergers around 3 years of age due to his unusual way of "playing" ( lining up toys and anything else). The hospital said he did not have it. He is a perfectionist, I'm guessing a bit OCD, and will usually stop what he is doing to put things in their "proper" place (paper in trash an etc.) before he can continue his activity. We have an appointment with the pediatrician in 2 weeks. I hope I can get some clarification as I am extremely concerned that these could be signs of deeper issues. Thanks for sharing!

Feb 09, 2013
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I am in the same boat
by: Anonymous

I am dealing with the exact same issue with my 4 yr old. She hasn't been diagnosed but I came to the realization about 1 yr ago. She soon after got diagnosed with Epilepsy. I haven't seen much in my reading about the tightness. It is a fight with us ALL the time!! I have cried in the parking lot at school after dropping her off. She is also very rough. She hugs rough, kisses rough, etc. she needs a forceful contact. There are many more issues we deal with from day to day. I'm trying to let her mature a little before I take drastic measures. Just hang in there and know you are a GREAT mom and you are doing everything you can.

Jan 29, 2013
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This sounds farmiliar in my 7 yr old son
by: Anonymous

Our son is constatnly tightening his pants...adjustng the length of them and always tieing and retieing hislaces until they are tight enough, which by the way never seems to happen. Socially he is spectaculr....is very good with smaller children and has no trouble with friends BUT is very shy, as odd as that may sound. He does not accept kisses and gets upset when someone kiisses him against his will. Also he has to be extrememly close ot the kitcen table, very snuggled in, and also loves to snuggle up really close with me. He is ever so bright in school and does not throw temper tantrums BUT does get quite emotional when somethinghas not gone correct. He puts on a tuff guy persona but really feels it when he was not able to help someone out. with all that said Im quite concerned about him. this constant having tohave everything tight is my biggest worry and I could really use some help.

Nov 16, 2012
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Amy's tight belt
by: Anonymous

I am 74 and I have known the feeling all my life from the age of about 6 - and I don't think it's a disorder - unusual perhaps, but 'normal'

Nov 14, 2012
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Tight Belts!
by: Anonymous

Hi,im Amy,15 years old.
I Love to have my belts very Tight!
I always wear thick leather belts that can get tightened without stretching or bending.
I love to pull them in about 3 holes tighter than 'normal',and it gives me a really Nice feeling in my body,specially in my stomach!
This has gone on since i was 11.
I dont know if its related to SPD.
It certainly isnt harming me,
and i Love the feeling!
Anyone else who recognices this???

Jun 19, 2012
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I was like this as a child!
by: Anonymous

I can't believe I've stumbled across this, I thought I was the only one. As a child, around the age of 5 I was obsessed with everything being tight, my hair had to be tight, my seat had to be pushed right into the table so it was tight, and I always made sure my dad held my hand as tight as he could, so that it was near enough bright red, otherwise I would start crying and taking tantrums. I'm not sure why I was like that, in a weird way I think it made me feel secure or in control.

I was very shy as a child, but had no problem socializing with friends and I loved school. I think I definitely had some symptoms of OCD, I couldn't touch anyone elses belongings or I felt extremely dirty, and would wash my hands repeatedly and I was obsessed with everything being perfect, even ripping up my school work if I'd crossed anything out on it. I also had massive mood swings as a child, if something wasn't 'perfect' or wasn't in my control, I'd scream, cry and get really worked up.

I'm now 18 and I don't really think it still affects me, I like my clothes fitted, but not extremely tight and I don't obsess over it. I was diagnosed not too long ago with GAD, and was just wondering if maybe anxiety was the cause of my need for tightness.

Jun 18, 2012
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My 5yr.old daughter has to have everything tight.
by: Olga

It began at around 3yrs. old. Her sleeves had to be fitted and long even in the summer, her socks never fit right, she didn't want to wear any jeans, hated shorts. Couldn't explain to me what the problem was. Always seems angry with something. Now she just turned 5yrs.old and still does not wear jeans, not because the leg is too loose but because she can't have anything touching her belly button. She only wears leggings because they are fitted and can easily be rolled down. Her skin is raw on her hip area from the seams digging into her skin from rolling everything down, even underwear. Will not wear anything too bulky on the top of her waist for that reason. Everything has to be a certain length on her sleeves and waist. Her hair has to be in a tight ponytail at all times even bedtime, she would even pull it tight first thing upon waking in the morning or even if she gets up in the middle of the night. She is always to hot or cold. She hates bath time, brushing teeth or having to change clothing. Hates having to go anywhere as it relates to all of the above. Will pass up any kind of fun to avoid these things. If i make her do any of it, will be a tantrum the whole way through it. I dealt with the same thing as a child so I am grateful to know what I'm dealing with here but sometimes it is a challenge to find the balance between being stern with her and having the sympathy because i know what she feels inside. It has gotten easier because she is learning to verbalize it. We are currently being evaluated to help us with the start of kindergarten in September.

Mar 17, 2012
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5 yr old
by: Anonymous

hi i am going through the samething with my 5 yr old he has to have his straps on his shoes as tight as can get them we bought him shoes without straps that he just slips on,also he will want to go with his aunt then he dont wanna go then he screams cuz he wants to go its like he can't make up his mind he talks obsessivly,he is loud i'v tried to figure out ways to help him cope idk what else to do,

Nov 20, 2011
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My son has just started this behavior
by: Anonymous

My son turned 9 today and started needing his waistband and shoes laces tight in the last 2 weeks. Along with this came what I thought was him cracking his neck however I realized today that it is mainly just a neck movement which he is not always aware of. He is ADHD and on a stimulant so I will discuss all these new behaviors with his pediatrician. I'm at a loss to help him.


Nov 10, 2011
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My son does the same things
by: Anonymous

As I was hemming the waist band of my sons Sweat pants, I decided to google My son wants everything tight, and I could not believe what I was reading. I had no idea that there were other families dealing with many of the same issues. My son tightens his belt so much that I don't know how he breathes. Every time we put on shoes, its the same thing "tighter,tighter" he says. I am so mad at myself right now, because I can't tell you how terrible I have acted dealing with this problem. I seriously have had tantrums like a 2 year old arguing with him. It becomes a screaming, yelling, crying match. I feel so bad!! We too have 6 pants/ shorts whatever in a different color. I take in waistbands and tie shoes in thousand of knots.

I try to appease him and then a new season or school uniform comes and I try to "break" him of what I thought was a phase. Only to lose the battle every time, which leads me to once again take in pants... I certainly now am going to look at what we jokingly call his "Issues" very differently. I had called his pediatrician about this once before but was told it was probably just a phase, I will be making a call again. Thank you for opening my eyes

Sep 17, 2011
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I was similar to this as a kid
by: Anonymous

This experience sounds so similar to myself when I was a boy. I had an older cousin who always used to hold me on her lap. And somehow there was an unspoken custom between us, that she always had to hold me with her hands pulled way back deep into my stomach. She would hold me quite tightly, with my stomach held in an inch or two deep.

I was perfectly content as long as she was holding my stomach in tight like this. I guess our family looked on it as just one of those quirky things. It continued until my cousin went away to college.

I also asked my babysitter to hold me this way, with her hands sunk back into my stomach "just as tight as you possibly can." It was a simple way to keep me entertained, so any time she came over to babysit she would hold me on her lap with my stomach pulled in extremely tight. She was a big farmgirl, and she used to hold my stomach in just about as absolutely tight as was physically possible. I don't think it could have gotten any tighter. And then I was quiet and perfectly satisfied, and we would watch TV together as she held me this way all through her favorite TV shows.

I also sometimes wore my belt pulled in really tight, I would pull it in to the last notch and I remember I wanted it even tighter. And I remember riding in the back seat of our car on vacation trips, with my seat belt pulled in on my stomach just as tight as it would go.

I never understood what all this was about. I don't think anyone did back in those days. It was just one of those things! To this day I've never entirely outgrown it, and it seems it's never done me any harm.

Apr 19, 2011
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Tight belts
by: Anonymous

I, too, as a kid used to like my belts very tight. I had elastic 'snake' belts and used to adjust them so tight I could only just fasten them. I was not into wanting anything else too tight although I did like any sort of pressure on my stomach. I used the chair/table method often. At school at a desk with fixed seats, I used to push a 12" ruler into my stomach and wedge it against the desk.

I never grew out of it, there was no evidence of any kind of disorder, physical or mental, and it has never done me any harm but has given me much pleasure over the years.

I introduced my daughter to the practice when she was 8 - very gently, no coercion - and she took to it quite well. My view is that this is not necessarily a disorder, but an experience many could have given some initiating factor. to parents i would say "Don't worry".

Apr 08, 2011
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I was also Just lIke That...
by: Anonymous

I think I know why he does that...When I was about 9 or so I remember having to wear 2 pairs of socks & have my mom tie my shoes as tight as she could. I would get irritated or mad because she didn't do it tight enough. It had to hurt. Same with my pony tails. She wouldn't let me wear more socks only 2 pairs. She used to comment about how weird it was and said it will cut off my circulation but that was the end of it for her. No Dr's. I wish I figured out the allergy stuff when I was a kid. My life would have been so different.Less suffering.

I'm now 43 and know what causes it. Once in a while that same feeling will come over me but in a different forms too. I feel the need to put pressure on my gums or did my nails in them (I know weird) or bite my lip until it hurts. It happens when I eat foods I'm allergic to. I have discussed this with my MD and she agrees. I also have Aspergers and had an uncle with sever autism/aspergers.

I have tried this out numerous times and as soon as I eat wheat, soy, eggs or preservatives especially sodium benzoate and MSG, I get that same weird feeling of a need for tightness till it hurts. When I am eating really healthy I do not feel that way at all. Not even a little bit.
I also remember back then, I would not feel well and get worse after hot dogs and would eat only the bun when we were at a picnic. The signs were there. It was always after breakfast or dinner that I would feel this way the most.

It's worth a try. Don't have a blood or scratch test those did not work. I had an inter-dermal allergy test that worked the best. Although it did not pick up on eggs and they are what make me the most sick next to preservatives. So food tolerance tests are the only full proof way. Time consuming but well worth it.
Hope it gets better!

Mar 12, 2011
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I was one of these kids
by: Samantha

Hi, my name is Sam. I'm nineteen, and student athlete at a university. It seems all of you are parents dealing with the extremely similar problems with your children. You see, my parents had to deal with the same thing. But they never knew what it was, instead they would just make new holes in my belts, and tie my hair so tight their hands would be swollen and red. Today I was curious, because I, along with the rest of my family, were very aware of my "tightness" problem as a child. Funny thing is nobody ever knew what it was, and it seem's all of you are describing me when you talk of your kids.

I dont remember when it all stopped, but I do remember always being SO angry when my shoes, hair bands, belt, gloves, jacket cuffs, soccer cleats, and snow pants weren't tight enough. A tantrum almost everyday, and once in a while my parents would get so mad and give up, telling me "that i would just have to miss practice" (which would by the way, not work and only result in hysterics from me) When I would visit my dad's house he could always get things tighter than my mom did, but nowadays he always tells me that he thought he was going to kill me when he pulled belts so tightly around my stomach.

I dont know what to think of all this, or where i could possibly relate it with other problems i have had in my life. I am being assessed for adhd by my university right now, but I'm not sure if that has much to do with any of this. I know besides the whole LONG "tightness" phase, I am an extremely stubborn person, with wanting things a certain way, and (though i try hard to stop myself) will feel very upset and distracted if one thing small thing goes wrong, or is unplanned.

Anyway, it was always weird when I was reminded of my "little" obsession when i was young. But besides a few scars across my waist, and the many belts, hairbands, and shoelaces that were destroyed for the sake of my feeling comfortable...it would seem i have nothing to show for it.

Thank you so much...it seems i have something to let my parents in on.

May 27, 2010
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response
by: jen

Your child needs OT. My child is also a sensory seeker and likes to wear tight clothing, she loves swim suits. goodluck

Apr 27, 2010
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My daughter likes things tight
by: Whitney

Reading all these stories are reflections of our every day life. Shopping is not fun or easy, dressing is not easy and riding in the car with the seat belt touching is not easy. I feel that our family is on a runaway roller coaster. You get one thing under control and then something else pops up. She is 8 and I find that if her clothes are not good then when she gets home from school she is out of control. Gymnastics has helped some but not fixed the problem.

Apr 26, 2010
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Deep pressure
by: Anonymous

My son is 9 and has to have lots of touch often tight hugs and so on. We have done the brushing and scratching of his back. He also needs a seat to sit on at school and a ball. He also has a weighted pressure vest that he loves a ton. I am also checking into the weighted belt and am making a weighted blanket. He is very aggressive and gets agitated very easy. He has never been diagnosed with SPD but trying these things and seeing them works is proof to me that this is very much a big problem in his life.

Apr 24, 2010
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I know what you are going through and more
by: Anonymous

I am a single mother with a 9 year old son who absolutely positively needs his sneakers, boots, jacket hoods, pants, and waistband of jacket incredibly tight. He makes me tie his shoelaces unbelievably tight. The only unique thing is that he is afraid of the shoelaces untying so he demands that I tie shoelaces so the eyelets literally touch from toes all the way to ankles on his sneakers with 20-25 teensy weensy minuscule knots in each. It takes a good hour getting him out the door for school each day. Untying those incredibly tight balls of knots on his sneakers takes a good 60 minutes!! He wants each knot pulled as tight as I possibly can.

He had a unique experience this week as I brought him with me to mall on week off from school and I was looking for new Nike Shox at Lady Footlocker. He asked the young salesgirl, who was wearing glasses and a ponytail in brunette hair, to help him tighten the waistband of his North Face jacket. He whispered to her while I was trying the sneakers on that it was pouring outside and if she could tighten his jacket.
Well, she most certainly obliged. He said to make it as tight as she possibly could, I'm assuming. This is because when he came to me the jacket bungee like ties were pulled so tight that they reached (no exaggeration) to his ankles. He then boldly asked her if they would get caught on anything. She said yes and then proceeded to tie the cords on the right and left sides with really tight individual precise knots. These bungee cords were stretched out so long by what she did that the knots were really small.

As I paid my bill, she apologized for what she did, saying that he was concerned about the safety of his jacket. She must have tied 50 knots in each. He was so proud and scolded me for not tightening his jacket and tying up the bungee cord the way she did. It took me a whole 5 days to untie all those horribly tight knots that young Lady Footlocker girl did.

My son is obsessed with knots. At this craft store in mall, he asked Chinese sales girl to tie strings into knots while I was with him. He wanted her to make a "knot ball." Somehow, she knew what it was and tied the shoelace strings into well over 100 knots!! He loved it. It took him 3 days to untie all those knots!

It is nice to have this forum to vent and empathize with you. My son likes everything as tight as possible and with tons of ridiculously tight knots! It is nice to know I am not alone, though very embarrassed!

Feb 16, 2010
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Confused
by: Anonymous

My 8 year old son has to have pants so tight that it leaves terrible marks on his stomach. He will only wear Starter pants because other pants have to thick of drawstrings and won't get tight enough. His shoes have to be very tight. Laces have to be tied up to 10 times each morning to make sure they are "the tightest ever". He has actually torn several pairs of shoes when he pulls the velco tabs off. He has started not wearing shirts with logos or prints on them because it feels terrible on his skin. Mornings are so unbelievably hard and he says he is sorry but he can't wear what I want him to. OMG - I had no idea this was happening with other kids - I feel so bad for being ugly to him.

Jan 16, 2010
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my daughter needs everything very tight
by: Anonymous

My daughter just turned 7 and she has to have everything as tight as possible also. she will not wear sneakers because when she is in school she can't make them tight enough. she will take her socks off and just put her shoes on. the only thing that she will wear on her feet are boots. (thankfully it is winter, i don't know what i will do in the spring)getting dressed and out the door for school is a nightmare. i filled out and evaluation through her school 2 weeks ago, the guy refuses to call me back. any ideas on what i can do in the meantime. does anyone else have the behavioral problems as well?

Dec 22, 2009
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I know what you are going through!
by: Anonymous

I know exactly what you ar feeling. My son who is 5 was recently diagnosed with SPD. My son is going through the shoelace issue. It is a battle every morning before we go to school and throughout the day. Buttons on his shirt is also an issue. He has to wear an undershirt. Wiping off the kiss you give him to the belt etc. My husband and I felt bad when we finally got the diagnoses. we new something was wrong but could not help to think he is just being difficult. We have started the brushing and have seen a difference. He longer wipes off the kiss and now his shoelaces at times are tight or loose. There is hope. Hang in there.

Dec 21, 2009
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brush treatment
by: Anonymous

You may can try a brush treatment on him so.. it can redirect this as well as give them input. Also try alot of deep pressure w/ a large ball before dinner or before putting on clothes.

Dec 15, 2009
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My Daughter Wants Tight Clothing Too!
by: Betty

Hi there

Just so you know, you are not alone on this one!

My daughter, who turned six in August, needs her clothes and shoes to be very tight or she can't wear them. For the longest time I had no idea what was going on, she would tantrum when getting dressed every day without fail. There would be a repeat performance at the front door when having to put shoes on. I realized that "tight" was her feeling. It seems to settle her and make her feel that she is in control of herself and I stopped trying to fight it.

She now has her "Happy Clothes" which give her what she needs. She wears track pants with wide elastic and a drawer string. She wears an age five t shirt under her day clothes and her pjs. She wears socks and panties that are a size too small for her and shoes that lace up, or velcro up as tight as they can go. I have bought about six of the same tracksuits and about six tshirts all in different colours but the identical type. This is all she wears, all day every day!!!

She took it a step further having to have her hair tied up very very tight. This really concerned me and lead to so many tears every morning when I couldn't get it tight enough that we eventually cut her hair in a bob style. She now settles for the same two tight hair clips to make her feel okay.

Her need for tight clothing hasn't gone but our way of managing it has improved her ability to get dressed incredibly. I still brush her daily using the Wilbarger Protocol and have her on a sensory diet at home. Anxiety definitely increases her need for tightness and now that I am aware of this I can try and help her before she spirals into misery.

It is not easy, but one day at a time, it seems to be getting easier to manage. All the best, Betty

PS Compression clothing is available too, but we decided to try other things first and so far have not needed to go that route.

Dec 14, 2009
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Son wants tight everything
by: Shane's Mom

My son is six too and he does the same things except the table and chair thing that he has not thought of yet , I suppose. He is in OT at school where they ordered a special seat for him that has sides and moves. He also goes to OT at a Rehab hospital once a week and has aqua therapy to teach his body differently. I too get frustrated, but only at the people who say I made him tat way or that I am doctor shopping to find something wrong with him when I know he was born this way.

Dec 14, 2009
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supplement
by: Anonymous

Please post the name of the zinc supplement and the place that produces it. many thanks.

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