Need to Climb

by Christine

My son is 2 1/2. He came to the attention of early intervention services because of a speech delay and now that they have evaluated him they "think" he may have some kind of sensory dysfunction. He has not been officially diagnosed with anything, but they do a lot of "sensory stuff" with him during therapy (sorry, don't know the technical terms).

Anyway, now that you have the background here is my question. My son is a climber; he climbs on everything: the couch, the table, child gates, the computer desk, bookshelves (I don't even know how he gets up on half of this stuff). Even if I discipline him (tell him no, redirect, spank him, whatever) he just keeps on going back to climbing. We go through this hundreds of times a day and it's starting to wear me out. My questions are: is this normal for kids with sensory problems (if he does, in fact, have a sensory problem)? And how do I get him to stop doing it? Thank you.

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Dec 21, 2008
by: Anonymous

What does your child do when he/she gets to the top? Does he jump off and land with a bang? If so then he is likely seeking proprioceptive input/ body awareness and is doing the climbing in order to meet that need.

This can be accomplished through more appropriate ways, such as jumping (get a minitrampoline with a handle or allow them to jump on your couch with hands held for safety as well as to help give a big landing for a bigger input), squishing between couch cushions or big squeezes from you, joint compressions, heavy work such as pushing/pulling laundry basket with books in it or wearing a backpack with a couple of bags of rice in it... the list goes on. If you are involved with an OT then they can give you more suggestions and perhaps suggest a brushing program if that is appropriate for your child.

Hope this helps,
OT in Oregon

Dec 20, 2008
by: corinne

My 3 yr old is dx with spd and does the same thing. I have found it to be a losing battle to tell him no, since he needs that input also, so I just try to keep him safe while doing it.

Direct him to something not as tall and line the floors with pillows, blankets or mats. My son also does 'perching' on high objects.

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