What to do with 2 opposite SPD children?

by Krimzon

Hello. I am a single mother of two children, a daughter who is 8 years old, and a son who is 17 months old.

My son was recently diagnosed with SPD, and we are starting to begin treatment.

My daughter however was diagnosed with ADHD, OCD, anxiety and depression some time ago. I have always questioned this because she only shows a few signs of ADHD. Not completely. When I read information on SPD for my son, I literally sat here in tears, not for my son, but because of my daughter. It was perfectly clear to me that she actually has SPD and has been suffering through ineffective education, treatment and medication for no reason. Of course I am having a very difficult time with the doctors because they "couldn't have possibly made a mistake, it is surely ADHD. I'm just an overactive parent."

The problem also is this, my children are at opposite ends of the spectrum. They have some similarities, both:

hate clothes, especially socks, long sleeves, grooming, bath time, brushing teeth, undergarments or diapers, (they both would go around naked if I would let them), over-eating and digestive problems, sleeping problems, mood swings and tempers. Both are extremely clumsy, and very destructive. Both rock, prefer certain types of blankets and clothing. Both would hit their heads against the wall as infants and hide.

Here is how they differ:

My daughter doesn't like hugs and close affection, only when it is initiated by herself. My son however has to be held very tightly, to the point it hurts my arms.

My daughter is an avid risk taker, where as my son won't even touch grass and will completely meltdown, and excessively shake all over with the slightest change in position.

My daughter likes groups, but doesn't play well with others because she has to completely control everything, where as my son has a complete nervous breakdown anytime someone walks in the room or if I walk out of it.

My daughter prefers to turn the TV completely up, music blaring, screaming and tantrums, my son however "again" has a complete nervous breakdown if you just says his name too loud or a door shuts loudly.

My daughter is very destructive to herself. Writing on herself, tearing her clothing or rubbing food on them, scratching, hitting her head or legs. My son however does this to other people, biting, hitting, pinching, scratching.

My daughter doesn't like hot foods, where my son doesn't like cold foods. They both over-eat however, can never seem to get full.

Ok, finally getting to the point. First, how can I get more help from the doctors and other people such as family without them always just turning and pointing their finger at me, like I'm just a worried my mom and it's all my fault. Second, how do you live happily in one home with two children who have different SPD needs, without neglecting either one, and without driving myself insane. Because believe me, I'm almost there.

Any advice is appreciated! Thank you :)

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Jul 11, 2011
What to do with 2 opposite SPD children?
by: Katie

OH MY! How you've hit the nail on the head with our family. Our 4yo daughter - sensitive to everything, needing light hugs and low noises. Our 2yo son - sensory seeking, needing bear hugs and singing loudly. It came to a point where he would walk in the room, she would cry or yell at him to go away, which would deeply hurt his feelings and then he'd hit her... SNOWBALL!!! I do not know what to do - other than we've just started the process of diagnosis, therapy, etc. which we cannot really afford. I was the one to push help - my husband had to be convinced, doctors told us it was "normal for boys and girls" and "just a phase" - friends saying, "my kid does that - it's no biggie". It seemed nobody got the full picture or understood the depth of it. I don't have answers (yet) - other than staying calm ourselves (hard to do when hitting is involved) and staying consistent. Also in Virginia...

Nov 06, 2008
Dealing with a SPD child
by: Melissa


I am a mom of 4 beautiful kids! I just recently found out my daughter has SPD, She is a 4 year old beautiful,smart,caring little girl.

When she was born, she cried all the time. The doctor thought it was colic, or digestive problems, so those issues were treated... But as a mom knowing your child something still didn't seem right she always wanted to be in her diaper, and always seemed to be throwing major temper tantrums. I called the doctor and explained my feelings to him... he stated she at the time is only 2 years old... it's hard to tell what a child's quirks are at that age...

By the time she was 3, she would only wear what she called "Tappy shoes", only a certain dress, NO socks,sneakers,jeans,long sleeve shirts,jackets. I would force pants on her because we live in New England with different temperatures all the time as soon as we would get in the car she would go into a major temper tantrum and would throw everything off sitting in her underwear.

As time went on the SPD got worse she will not wear a seat belt in the car because it is not "tight enough". She will only wear flip flops & one dress with a very light jacket. She secludes herself in the house because she doesn't want to wear pants,sneakers,etc...

She will be turning 5 in march and with the way she is there is no way I can send her to school like this... We are now approaching winter too & I dread it because I know there will be no sneakers,pants, etc. She will only wear certain underwear if they are not the skunk,barbie ones, she throws herself on the floor in a rage... pulling them off after long stares, and judgement on my parenting.

I went to my daughters doctor again & said please as a mom. Something isn't right still clueless to what SPD was he got in touch with a specialist that deals with SPD in children... I did my own research & found this site... and cried in pure joy that I did not feel so alone...

She doesn't have all the symptoms of SPD she is okay with sounds,food, the only issue we have with her... is clothes,major temper tantrums... It breaks my heart to see my daughter cry over clothes. After reading some of the signs of SPD and what it feels like to them,I cried & cried to know that this is what my daughter feels everyday. Then the guilt sets in all the times we were angry with her... thinking she was being a brat, or unreasonable.

My daughter has her first app. Nov.19,2009. I am so looking forward to getting started on my daughters SPD so she can live a normal life and deal with having SPD. I am sure parents dealing with SPD children know exactly what I am talking about... people out in public would stare at me like why are you letting your daughter wear flip flops in 20 degree weather. Boy... if they only knew.

I am so thankful for this site to also help us understand... what SPD is and sharing stories...
Good luck to all the moms & dads,and children dealing with SPD.


Nov 05, 2008
Another thing..
by: Anonymous

I just completely read your situation with your daughter and son. I never ever considered the headbanging as part of SPD -- but, my oldest son did that all the time. His teacher and I talked last night about how he will be fine one minute and the littlest thing will set him off - he goes from happy to really mad in about .6 seconds.

Do any of your children chew on their clothes? My youngest son does that. He has a tendency to wear nothing at home as clothes bother him. He cried non-stop until he was about 17 months -- we never got to sleep through the night. We were told it was colic but, now I know why. Instead of swaddling him with blankets we should have just left him in a diaper, as he hates wearing clothes. He is still in his swimming trunks and we are in a cold climate. He hates bright lights and will play his video games at an intense audio level.

Whatever you do, find someone who can help your kids. Especially your daughter because if she is on meds and doesn't need them that might be affecting her. My heart goes out to you as I know how stressful it is - people can sit and tell you what to do and how to deal with your kids but, they do not know what it's like when it's at its most intense - I tend to stress eat and need to find a way to deal with my stress in another way.

Please talk to other mothers too who know what you are going through. There is a group I talk to daily and it's under: SensoryStreet@yahoogroups.com

They are helping me understand and help my kids. Take care!

Nov 05, 2008
Two Kids with Sensory Issues Too
by: Anonymous

Hi, I have two boys (ages 9 and 7) will SPD. I know how it is when you here from family/friends that all they need is a good spanking. People do not understand what we go through. Our house is also in constant chaos and it's very stressful.

With me, I have to learn how to handle it more than the boys - my husband thinks that they are just being "boys" but I agree with their school that they have SPD. My oldest's teacher thinks he may have Aspergers. He has always been very "attention seeking" and when he was little we had hard times with the playgroups because he was sooooo aggressive with other kids. It makes it hard to have friends and my heart hurts so much for him when he isn't invited to birthday parties.

My youngest has more common problems with SPD - socks are such an issue. Although, please consider buying seamless socks for your kids as that has much such a difference in getting ready for school in the morning... I held off for a while but found some on Amazon.com and they work wonders. Good luck with everything and know you are not alone.

May 16, 2008
2 opposite SPD children
by: Lauri

I know how you feel. My oldest daughter has SPD - tactile defensive, oral seeking, vestibular seeking, auditory defensive, often acts aggressively to sensory stressors, has difficulty paying attention in school due to background noise, tactile issues, and lack of movement.

My youngest daughter also shows signs of milder SPD issues - auditory defensive, vestibular seeking, aggressive behavior, mild tactile seeker. There is never a dull moment in our home. The girls (I have 3 - ages 10, 8, and 5) argue and act aggressively toward each other all the time.

My consolation is that for the most part they hold it together for school, however, home life is so stressful. I have found that allowing each child to have a private space and ample time with Mom or Dad are helpful. We also have a set of rules posted (no more than 10 rules that are age appropriate and apply to the whole family).

We limit TV time because that only adds to the impact of the sensory issues and encourage lots of gross motor play (indoors and out). We have activities that are appropriate for indoor play that provide them with lots of heavy work activities for their sensory diets. We also try to make sure our oldest has a schedule that she follows because without a strict routine she is miserable. It's harder when they are younger because they don't understand as well, but it will get better when they are able to self regulate.

We also make sure that punishment is consistent-often hard for kids with SPD as they can't sit still for time-out, but other methods don't work well either. You just have to be firm and insist on compliance.

Good luck!

May 16, 2008
What to do with 2 opposite SPD children?
by: Anonymous

It's hard believe me. Too often I heard, all they (the kids) need is a good spanking. It takes a lot of patience,love,and positive reinforcement. We had to spend a lot of time with the school teachers and had weekly contact with them. A good therapist and psychiatrist were also a godsend.

My son is graduating next week from HS, and I never imagined we would or could come so far. It still takes a lot of patience with him especially when shopping for clothes or making dinner. It also can cause problems in one's marriage if both parents are not supportive. But husband is a non believer in medicine and therapists and refused to believe there was anything wrong. So I went on my own and had my children tested without him.

Just keep involved with your children & if they don't like to be touched etc.... there are so many other ways to show them you care. Little pictures,notes, anything that lets them know you are there for them.

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