Pacified attachment

by Sophia's Mom
(New Hampshire)

Being summer and sensory issues on the mild side (sorry I don't know what else to call them except Sophisms ~ daughter's name) we tried to have the binki fairy come to the house. Since we have always talked things through with Sophia we did the same with our attempts to remove the pacifier (her binki). She was at the point where she would only use it in the car and at bedtime (hardest points of transition, to school and to sleep). Rather than just have the fairy come I said we could "just try it for a night" when she was ready. She said she was ready to try it and did ok for the first night. Then we pushed it a bit and all the sensory issues that had been mild all summer went to the extreme.

Sophia has never been able to self sooth and relied on either the binki or me to help. Determined to stick with it and urged by other parents who advised it would just be a few days we kept the binki away. She was a mess, we never worked through something this way. The meltdowns were hours long and violent. She could feel every seam on every piece of clothing, she could feel every hair that was out of place, her blocks would never line up in just the right way, a drop of water on her dress was agony... I have never seen her throw herself on the ground so hard, bite her clothes, literally rip her cloths off of her (torn at the seams). The only way she fell asleep was from exhaustion of screaming (our perfect soothing bedtime routine became a trigger to scream). After an intense workup, she would not want to be touched for about 30 minutes while she scream so I just sat near her. Then when she was ready I had to hold her in a specific bear hug way wrapped with her weighted blanket to fall asleep.

On day 5 I listened to my supportive family and called the OT from the local school (not qualified for IEP but the OT wanted to help) she had little to offer except the advise to give it back (this was not her specialty but works with many SPD kids in her class). We called the developmental specialist at Sophia's doctor's office who has known her since birth but summer also mean vacation for many people and we did not hear back from her. Wanting to help her but really not knowing what to do, I called a local OT place that specializes with SPD. They did not advise either way about the binki but scheduled us for an evaluation (a few weeks away).

On day 7 (averaging about 3-4 hours of sleep a night) I brushed her hair and the meltdown started. I had to put her down to swap the car seat between the cars and in her rage she ripped two huge handfuls of hair out of her head. I picked her up and simply said "oh becareful hun" she looked down at her hands and said "what happened?" Like she did not even know what she was doing. Then the melt down continued since she could not get that last piece of hair off her hand. Then I grabbed the binki and put it in her mouth. Done.

It took three weeks to get my loving child back. Now our bedtime routine is great and sensory issues predictable again.

We are going to the OT in 2 days for the evaluation but I am asking you parents who have been through this. What have you done? Is it worth the wait?

Reasons for wanting to remove the binki:
1) open bite (her teeth no longer touch by at least 1/2 inch
2) doctor and dentist said enough
3) speech is impacted
4) social stigma

Advise and personal stories are welcome. This site is great for helping me know that we are not alone even when all the doctors dismiss the symptoms.

Thank you!

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Dec 30, 2012
let her decide
by: Anonymous

My daughter Ryleigh who is 8 worries about what other kids will think. We try what ever she wants. At school she no longer wanted to use "the desk orginizer or chewy" other kids didnt have one so she didnt want to be different. So we got rid of both and let her desk be a mess and she chews on her hood strings. I also talk to the teachers so that we are on the same page. But she feels like one of the girls and feels no different. In the end its the battles we choose to fight or let be that ultimatly help our children be comfortable.

Aug 26, 2012
Thank you
by: Sophia's Mom

Thank you for the support. Your personal experiences assit me in knowing I have made the right choice. I have always been able to talk things through with her and as stated so well above, it is all about chosing your battles.

SPD children are very smart, they have an amazing ability to know what they need. As parents the trick is knowing how to listen when they are in meltdown mode. Better yet, knowing how to prevent the meltdown.

I have heard that the damage to her teeth is not perminant till her adult teeth are in. Hearing that others required minimal othodontia is good news. Over the last week, my concern is falling more toward the social stigma. She (like many SPD individuals) has a hightened awareness of positive and negative feelings of others. In part because of this and also her age she is terrified of people laughing at her. She has started a new school and while she does not use it at school, there will be a time when one of her new friends see it at pick up time.

How have you worked through this?

Aug 25, 2012
pacified attachments
by: marjory scotland uk

Hi boy you know your child well, as we all do. And we all know not two of them are the same. My loveley boy is 8yrs old, he has problems with nails being cut, hair washed or cut, school shirts, being touched unexpectedly, loose clothing, i could go on and on. O.T. are the best people in the world. Thank you.

I not realising have cured well maybe the wrong word helped, get over these problems. School shirts and ties we wear only on none P.E. days which is 3 days out of 5. We found an older barbour who is great, i explained all to him and we go regularly, my son even asks to go now. You can see he isnt 100% at hair cuts but accepts he looks smarter afterwards.

My philosophy has been if it has to be done talk it through , explain, and get going. Keep with it and it will all sort itself out. The older he is getting different sensory issues have cropped up. I have been lead to believe this happens throughout their life. I have picked my battles, and so far it has worked. Nailcutting is still a nightmare, we do this every 2 weeks, not to the exact day as he would worry himself if he knew before hand. When getting dried i mention that its time for nails to be done and thats fine. His wee face tells all. I just get it done and that is that.

I feel somethings are essential and others less so. Shirts and ties i feel he will have to wear them at different stages of his life so wearing them now, does get him used to it. I do cheat, i buy larger shirts that collars are too big and dont annoy him, he prefers this. alittle compromise goes along way. Him being older and able to explain how things make him feel also helps a great deal.

I hope this helps and good luck to all parents.

Aug 24, 2012
some thoughts
by: Janice

My son had a breakdown today just before school today, after being awesome for 4 days in a row - first week back to school. All because he couldn't wear the soft sports shorts he wanted to wear - he just crumbled. Your description of your experience reminds every parent with SPD of times like these...but we seemed to all make it through. What works for other kids doesn't work for SPD kids, and we have to pick our battles. I sucked my thumb for 10 years, and then did a paper in college about it and found that it did not affect children's bites until after age 5 - by the way I only had braces for 6 months and turned out pretty ok. I wasn't sure how old your child was -so this may not apply.

Last year the school gave my son a "chewy" - a T shaped red rubber thing on a string. It really soothed him and was better than a pencil health wise. I think they are for sale on this website or other sensory websites. He still bites his finger nails, but no longer needs the chewy and we are negotiating that with rewards and "manicure" by big sister. Also, you might try large muscle massage, foot massage before transitions. You seemed to completely on the right track on everything and have you child's best interest at heart. All the best.

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