Resistance to sensory diet

by Amanda

Hi. I am the mother of a 5 year old with SPD. He has a very mixed disorder (hypo sensitive and hypersensitive) and we are still trying to figure this out. He was diagnosed one year ago and has been in OT all of that time.

We are having difficulty with the sensory diet at home due to resistance. Most of what we do is unstructured and I let him take the lead. I just try to provide proprioceptive and vestibular in the context of whatever he is doing. If we can go outside he is fine and provides himself with the appropriate sensory diet.

He is doing incredibly well now in Pre-K, a complete turn around from last year. When he gets home however it is a different story. I know this is normal but when can we expect to see some improvement at home also? Do you have any tips for the resistance?

I tried a very structured program but he is different every day and I think his needs are different. We are going to try listening therapy soon. Also I want to be as proactive as I can.

I am anticipating more issues next year when he starts kindergarten and will also have a new sibling. Should I go ahead and try to find a counselor/psychologist who has experience with SPD? He definitely is more emotional this year as he tries to keep it together and often has outbursts. We just try to hug him and get him through it.

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by: Anonymous

How does scented oils help kids with spd? Where could I buy some?

SPD Ideas that have helped our son & family.
by: J Family

Our almost 5 year old son has had many sensory processing issues and social and emotional behaviors - currently he is on the Autism Spectrum. The list below is most of the things we have tried with our son, plus he has had an IEP for preschool services which have helped his social skills. Also, he had a year of O.T. services which gave us some great ideas for him. We have seen much improvement these last two years. It's been a lot of work, but early intervention really is the key!


Bounce DVD music therapy video series with therapist Elizabeth Balzano: Let's Go: helps to reduce anxiety & transitional issues, Let's Talk: focus is on saying, "give me", "help", "I want", Movement: focus is on learning to shake, dance, wiggle, jump and how to stand in line, sit at a table & stop & go, Routines: basic understanding of predictable daily routines and other routines like cleaning up, going to sleep & staying safe and Emotions: children learn to explore emotions while singing, dancing and having fun! These can be found at your local library or Amazon. Therapeutic Listening is also something to try, but we couldn't keep the headphones on our son.


Mini-trampoline, pop-up tent, kids tunnel, weekly schedule picture chart, leg weights, chewing gum, moon sand, play doh, music with or without headphones, grabber for chewing (, blowing bubbles, playing with tub water & suds, brushing/joint compression technique at, kids bath foam or shaving cream, swing that spins, hammock, weighted blanket - make your own check out:, weighted vest, sit 'n spin, scented pencils at,, Mr. Sketch markers, and scented erasers at Blick art materials.


Start saying in front of your child how YOU are feeling when you're mad or sad, etc. My Scent Box is a good way to bring up feelings too. When your child is expressing anger, excitement, sadness, etc. say to your child, "I see you are feeling mad (or excited!)", etc...


Role play as a family and/or practice role playing with toy people. A Superhero Social Thinking Curriculum Package ($49.) and the Fitting In & Having Fun videos (expensive though) both found at the Also, write a Social Story or see these examples at Teaching social skills & how to behave videos at

I wish you and your child all the best!

resistance to sensory diet
by: Tina

Hi all I am so happy to find this site I love listening to all your stories and know that we are not alone. My daughter is 4 and just the past few months she has been complaining of her clothes "hurting her" especially under the arm. The seams!!!!! I am having a difficult time figuring how to help her because it's not like she gives us any options "all clothes hurt" I try and talk her through it and most of the time it works with patience and distractions and miraculously if she gets through that the clothes stay on. Sock are a big deal, found tights to work better...our biggest problem is when my mother in-law sits 1-2 days a week, she wont dress for her and hides and my m-in-law can't handle it and wants to quit watching my children...I ALWAYS KNEW OLYVIA WAS DIFFERENT.

She is now getting speech and OT. I need help finding what works for her. Do I brush her before trying to get her dressed. I'm not sure how to integrate these activities to desensitize her. I need a plan...I know I have a lot of work ahead of me to help her. I want to understand her and help her and stop all this frustration in our house. Everyone is exhausted. Any advice would be great.

To Laura -there is hope
by: Amanda

Laura: I wrote this over a year ago and my son is now 6 years and he is a different boy!!! I don't have resistance anymore and his behavior is so much improved. So first of all I want to let you know there is hope and with the right treatment your son can get better.

Second trust your observations and instinct and keep pursuing. I would have him evaluated by an OT who works with kids with SPD and then also either a child development center/doctor or a psychologist to help you with the diagnosis. However the OT will be the one to help you the most.

In the meantime keep a diary or behaviors and what occurs before. You have to first figure out what sensation your child is trying to avoid or get. Gymnastics is great. For my son we created a room with an inflatable pool filled with balls, another inflatable pool filled with an old duvet cover filled with foam pieces (crash pad), a tumble mat, a trampoline, we took a noodle and cut in half to make soft swords and we have battles. We also have a swing in his room and we swing for 15 minutes prior to school. I always ask him if he wants spinning or back and forth and he tells me what he needs (it will take awhile sometimes for the child to be able to tell you).

In another room we have a tent with soft pills and blankets and books. To decrease anxiety on the way to school I let him chew gum and listen to music. There are a million suggestions. You may email if you want more help/suggestions. I wish you and your son the best.

Thank you for sharing
by: Laura

Wow! I'm in chock by reading this comments. All along i have been telling our doctor that something is not right with our son and he is now 7 years old and it's only getting worse. He has a lot of this behaviors if not all and since I won't give up I have tried to get him to do all sort of things that I have researched and read about SPD and I have found that Gymnastics works really well for him except that we took the summer off and I noticed how much he changed for the worst, so we will start that again this week. I feel so helpless, frustrated and i constantly ask what is wrong with him but now i don't feel so alone, I will need to go back to the doctor and have him re evaluated. Thank you so much for sharing your story with all of us who are desperately looking on how to help our children. God bless!

by: Whitney

Maggie is like that!!! We would got to the OT and she would ask us to do the brushing protocol and Maggie would say yes I will do it at home and then she would just have a fit. I thought I was going to loose my mind. She is number 3 of 4 children and she was coming home from school just out of control. I can best describe as a pinball machine going crazy. She is bouncy this way, now she is over there or there, touching that brother hitting her sister. I don't know how I kept it together.

Then we would go back to the OT and she would brush her and tell Maggie we would need to do it at home and Maggie would agree. We would get home and again she would not do it. I told the OT she flat out refuses and freaks out if I try to brush her. I didn't mention that Maggie just turned seven but she has the strongest will and persistence I have ever come across. She is such a seeker and I knew from the OT that she needed a ton of deep pressure work and vestibular.

We found gymnastics to be a great outlet for her she really loves it. She comes home and does handstands. She has practiced them daily for over a month. There is the persistence again. We also found that IKEA had a sit and spin that looks like a dizzy disc and trapeze rings and swings that we hooked up in the basement. She also has crash pads down there. I have to make it Maggie's idea and then it seems to work much better. She got the stuff for the basement for her birthday so that makes it exciting.

I think the hardest thing was finding what would work for her and her feeling excited about it. The last few years have been extremely difficult because we did not understand her and she could not verbalize except in tantrum form. Good luck in helping your child finding what works to be in tune with his body.

by: T

Hi, I'm a mother of a 6yr. who started at 4 but say more at 5yrs.old. I have been through the days and weekends by letting her lead. While, what I have learned is the children crave Routine, games, 3 rules that they have to live with (respect, manners, listen / do).

I let our daughter run around in underwear at home, stay inside, because my child has SPD and does not to this day like clothes, socks, pants, long sleeve shirts.

Now, the way I did it was with a Chore Chart (pictures / words on cards) to let them know what is expected of them in morning, and night. I have to direct her (say, go check your chore chart)usually she does them. We stopped rewarding her to put her clothes on / now I say you have 30 minutes before we leave, and so on.

Sometimes, we use scented oils that she can sniff (calms her anxiety about school) or we try to find healthy but hard to find (chewy treats)that helps her organize her thinking and motivates her. They say chewy to organize; crunching to alert; drink through a straw to clam, blow bubbles, horns, whistles to calm; etc.

Try looking up Sensory

Organizing/calming activities:

Deep pressure/ touch / tactile: play-dough, squeeze toys,sand box, bean / rice tub, banging a hammer, hold up the wall by pushing against it.


up / down stairs 2 times max., tug-of-war, wheelbarrow walks, hopscotch, push a car around, lift, push, pull from one location to other.

Proprioception_ oral stimulation / food
suck through squirt tops, holding breath for amount of count, humming, popsicles, thick milkshakes, crunchy foods, chewy foods, gum to chew.

Vestibular (slow, rhythmic, linear motions are better in general) swing, trapeze bar, scooters ride-on-toys, therapy ball, hanging upside down on ball /couch, log rolling spinning (office chairs, sit-n-spin, crawling downstairs head first, bouncing on trampoline, couch cushions, swimming, magic carpet ride, obstacle course.

I have so much information if you want to have it. If you have the same structure of snack after school, lunch, dinner, bath/ or shower, activity (playdoh), teeth, book, goodnight (night light or keep lamp on) they love and seek out routine everyday of their lives even weekends. But when they go to school they have to keep it all together before they come home where they feel free, safe, be themselves.

Good luck to you and your child...

P.S. cut tags, buy boys seamless socks, underwear, t-shirts. Let him choose if he wants to be cold or warm. He will not make himself freeze. Otherwise look up frost bite.

Thanks T

resistance to sensory diet
by: Anonymous

My daughter was also resistant to her sensory diet. We noticed that when she stuck to it she behaved much better, but because of social reasons did not want to do the diet. She has had times when she has asked to do it, so I know it makes her feel better. It's just so hard to get past that social aspect for her, even when she is home and no friends are there to see her. We have had times when we did not give her a choice in the matter.

She is now 11 years old and is doing much better. We have gotten away from the sensory diet and she is able to cope most of the time. We only have to ask her to do some heavy work activities occasionally when she seems to be having a seeking day, but those times are now few and far between. She has learned what her body needs and tends to get the necessary input on her own throughout the day. Good luck with your son's sensory diet!

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