Problems in Pre-K

Hi, my first question is; can someone be both hyper and hypo something because my son has some check marks under both for certain areas. My son is having problems in pre-K. He is amazing one on one with adults but as soon as peers get invloved he stops speaking clearly, starts acting out (like barking like a dog or screaming loudly). He cannot focus in school. He has OT, Speech, Feeding, PT, you name it he has had it since he was 10 months old. I see this amazing boy so smart and wonderful one on one, but as soon as he walks into that classroom he is a different child!


I need help!

The SPD Help Line Answers...


To answer your question... YES, being both hyper and hypo sensitive, particularlyin different settings, is very common in SPD kids. This is called a Sensory Modulation Disorder (one of the three sub-categories under the SPD umbrella, according to Dr. Lucy Jane Miller. You can find out much more about the new categorization and classification, including each one's symptoms, in her new book Sensational Kids. I highly recommend you pick up a copy; it will all make much more sense.

It is very common for SPD kids who have a Sensory Modulation Disorder (SMD) to be organized, calm, and focused in "safe", predictable, environments where the sensory stimuli and expectations are both controlled, safe, and somewhat consistent (such as their home). Then, they may completely fall apart in a more chaotic, less predictable, sensory bombarding public place, such as; school, family gatherings, stores, restaurants, birthday parties, public bathrooms, etc. Their nervous systems can't handle the variety of stimuli coming at them and they may look like a totally different child!

What you describe and question tells me several things. Frist, your son's SPD (if he has even been diagnosed with that yet) still needs some intensive OT treatment. Second, that since he has been in so many therapies for most of his life and he is still having these significant difficulties, I wonder if he is receiving the most effective therapies possible. Third, has he actually been evaluated for SPD and treated fot it specifically? Is your OT experienced and educated about SPD? Or are you just now finding out this may be a potential undiagnosed problem?

So... here are my concerns. If he has been in OT (plus other therapies) all these years, has anyone treated him specifically for sensory related issues, or explained what may be going on with him through a sensory lens? Is SPD a new diagnosis you are looking into? If this is "new" to you, I wonder why the professionals haven't picked up on this before, evaluated or treated him for it, or explained SPD to you yet. Have they? I would think their eyes would be alerted to this.

I'm sure you have made considerable progress with treatment thus far and I don't want to diminish or invalidate all you have done and accomplished so far. This was all what he needed, until now. However, at this point, it may be time to add another component to his treatment.

Here is what I suggest. Find an Occupational Therapist who is SIPT Certified and/or experienced with sensory integration theories and treatment, so you can have him further evaluated and, if needed, begin treatment with a sensory integrative focus.

Read as much as you can online, through my site and others, and from SPD related books, such as:

The Out of Sync Child
Raising a Sensory Smart Child
Sensational Kids
(These and many more can be found at The Sensory Processing Disorder Book Store)

Talk to your current OT or a new one regarding sensory modulation issues and/or possible sensory defensiveness (some of what you say sounds like it could be that), and how best to evaluate and treat this. Talk to the OT about a sensory diet and weighted products, and/or proprioceptive/heavy work activities, or other treatment activities that may help keep him organized and focused.

Fill out the SPD Checklist, as you are/have, and bring it to both your current OT and a new one if you will be receiving and SPD evaluation from a different OT. Make sure you read the following articles before doing this;

How To Find An Occupational Therapist For SPD

New To SPD? The Step-by-Step Guide For Parents

Sensory Integrative Evaluations And Therapies; What You Need To Know


Also, I highly recommend joining the SPD online support group AllAboutKids, to talk to over 1,000 other parents who have walked in your shoes! They can help you with resources, strategies, and further understanding, what to do from here, and just a great support system!

I hope this helps get you started and answered your question. Based on what you shared, it may be time to take therapy in a new direction? I am curious about what "sensory related" OT he has/has not had yet and what specific signs from the SPD Checklist you are seeing with him. Can you tell me more about this and his therapies? I want to make sure you are receiving the best and proper treatment, ok?

I look forward to hearing back from you with further information (if you want further direction).

Until then... take good care.
Michele Mitchell

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