Why is SPD getting worse?

by Sharon

My daughter's SPD seems to be getting progressively worse. My biggest question is if there are any diseases that are directly associated with decreasing sensory processing skills.

She is five and has previously been in OT and "graduated." She was doing fine for a while, but during the past 8 months has progressively gotten worse. I'm not against putting her back in OT, but I think we have learned all we can about the carryover that we need to do at home (deep pressure, brushing, joint compressions, etc..) My daughter has become extremely angry saying constantly "my body doesn't feel right". She even wakes up angry and frustrated. Her self-esteem is rock bottom.
She is now in counseling and we are taking her to see the psychiatrist in a couple weeks.

Are there any good medications for children with SPD to help them feel okay with their bodies?


The SPD Help Line Answers

Your poor daughter... trapped inside a body that doesn't want to cooperate!

My gut reaction is, of course, to get her back into OT. There are indeed new therapies that may help her. Things like Listening Therapy, Interactive Metronome, Brain Gym, and many other complementary therapies that an experienced SIPT Certified OT should know about. I would talk to her previous therapist (if you felt she was really good), or find another OT for a different treatment approach. Your daughter certainly sounds like she needs further/different/additional treatment. Can you get her back in to the old one or a new one? I really think she needs that.

Ok... medication? No, there really isn't. The nervous system needs to reprogram itself and treatment for this is very specifically tied to sensory integrative therapy. That said, if there are other things going on, certainly medication may help. I am glad you are hooked up with a psychiatrist and counseling in case. The other thing you may want to do is get her in for a full neuropsych evaluation and/or full scale developmental assessment. These may rule out (or identify) other issues. Can you set either of those up?

As for "diseases"? There are diagnoses that affect sensory systems and nervous systems, but it doesn't seem, from what you say that these are the issue. But, certainly check with a developmental pediatrician and/or neurologist on this one to be sure, ok?

I know that doesn't help a lot, but these are the only other directions I can think of.

Questions for you... how long was your daughter in OT? Was the OT SIPT certified or specifically experienced and well trained in sensory integrative therapy and theories? What specifically did they work on? How long did you do the Wilbarger Protocol? Do you still do it? How often? Does she have a good sensory diet? How is her school work? Social skills? Is she sensory defensive? Sensory seeking? Difficulty modulating sensory input? Any motor concerns? What can she/can she not do that is significantly impacting her life? Are there any significant stressors going on in her life right now? Anything new? Changes in environment or routines?

If you could tell me more, perhaps I can help more?

I look forward to hearing back from you. Let's see what we can do to help your daughter, ok? Thanks for writing and being so concerned. She has a great mom for sure!

Take good care.
Michele Mitchell

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Jan 19, 2008
Back to OT
by: Dawn Smith

I had a similar problem with my son. I was taking him to speech and doing feeding therapy. Once school started, I ran out of visits that insurance would cover for private speech. I thought that since he would be getting speech at school, it would be OK. Was I ever wrong. He regressed back to vomiting almost daily and only eating about 6 things. Back to private speech and progress is steady.

The moral of the story is you know what worked for her in the past. Try it again. If it made her feel more comfortable in her skin what do you have to lose?

Good luck

Jan 18, 2008
Answering questions
by: Sharon

Thanks for your response Michelle. Here's the answers to your questions. Olivia did have a complete evaluation. She has an average IQ. They did diagnose an anxiety disorder. Olivia was in OT for about 8-9 months. I did really like our OT and she seemed well trained in sensory processing, but am not sure if she is "SIPT certified". I'm sure I could get her back in to OT. We did the Wilbarger protocol for about 5 months. I don't think it made a significant difference, but it did help a little. We do it with her occasionally now, but we aren't consistent. She has a fair sensory diet. She is definitely sensory seeking (our trampoline helps a lot).The only motor concerns are toe-walking (which she has seen a PT for). She mostly plays by herself and has some difficulty interacting with others. No big stressors or change in routine. She does well on her school work. Her teacher does not even know about either diagnosis (anxiety disorder and SPD), and still says she is a great student. She works hard to keep it together at school, but once she's home, she lets it all out.
Thanks again for your help!

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