Sensory Disorder for my almost 3 year old?

by Dawn
(Lakewood, Ohio)

For the most part my daughter has been considered "normal", we are noticing however as she is getting older and communicating more some "Quirks" in her behavior. For instance, she hates having her hair/head messed with. She bawls and shakes and even shrieks through washing her hair, brushing it, putting it in pony tails etc. The second these activities are done, she's easy to calm down, and loves seeing her hair done, but the process itself traumatizes her and has since she was old enough to have enough hair to "fix" everyday.

The other things we've noticed as she's getting older is that she refers to herself in 3rd person MOST the time, or will say things like "Help you" Meaning "help me" but because we ask her "do you want us to help you?" She repeats the words she hears, not adjusting them to the situation. She also will repeat things NON stop till you acknowledge her the way she thinks you should, she will tell you she sees a dog, bus, stroller, truck etc 2 dozen times until she gets the "answer" from you she's looking for. If you don't answer her correctly, or if the wrong person answers her, she will keep saying it until she is in complete hysterics.

She is having a difficult time potty training, and refuses to "go stinky" in the potty, she will "Tinkle" (her words not ours) but wants a diaper on at nap or bedtime so she can go, she has no issues peeing in those diapers as well.

She also shows no interest in learning her letters,numbers or anything else requiring sitting down and looking at numbers or letters etc. She will let us read to her, but will often take the book away wanting to do it herself. She gets very flustered if you correct her on a letter she's showing you or numbers etc.

Those are all the things i can think of for now.... do you think there's a reason to be alarmed? Should I bring these issues up at her 3 year check up next month? Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!


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Jul 25, 2012
by: Spring

I was reading your post and was amazed when you mentioned your daughter's fascination with letters as my son is the same way. He seems to have many sensory issues also and isn't really displaying much expressive speech at this point. I am in the process of having him assessed by the Regional Center who also provides him with OT. I also had him assessed and he qualifies for services through the public school which will provide OT, speech and behavioral services whihc are embedded since he will be 3 in August and too old for the Regional Center's services.

He knows every letter and it's phonetic sound along with numbers 1-20 and his shapes. He also reads simple site words but doesn't have the expressive speech needed to tell us what he wants.

He won't eat much of anything and is doesn't like his hands or face getting dirty. He will actually run from food and cry and throw a fit if it's different from what he is used to.

Key is early intervention. Please please please check on the regional center or go through the Special Education Services in your district and tehy will assess her and provide those services for free. It's state funded if they feel she needs speech and ot.

Best of luck!


Aug 05, 2008
Typical Behavior for SPD & Language Delay
by: Debbie

Hi Dawn -

My 5 year old son has experienced all of the symptoms that you have described for your daughter. I voiced concerns to our pediatrician at the age of 2 1/2 years, but was told to wait before pursuing other evaluations. My advice to you would be to make an appointment directly with an Pediatric Occupational Therapist to address the behaviors that sound like tactile defensiveness as well as the "rigid" behaviors that you are describing.

Children with SPD are very cautious about their surroundings changing and entering into new situations where they don't know what sights, sounds and touch might be offensive to them. I would also suggest a speech evaluation be done with a speech therapist. It sounds like there is also a difficulty with understanding language (my son has also been diagnosed with mixed receptive and expressive language disorder and exhibited some of the same behaviors that you are describing.)

Children have the best outcome when they receive treatment early before habits become fixed. I wish that I hadn't been discouraged from pursuing evaluations outside of the pediatrician's office when my concerns first arose. Good luck to you and your family.

Jul 25, 2008
Thanks Jessi!!
by: Dawn

Reading your post made me smile, and i'm going to show it to my hubby as well! Thanks for taking the time to answer, I'll definately bring all those up at her appt in a few weeks!!!! Your suggestion for OT sounds like a good one, and what can it hurt? :)
Thanks again!

Jul 24, 2008
Sounds just like my son,,,
by: Jessi

My son at that age had all of those symptoms and more. I guess with the exception of getting his hair done. :) I got him into OT and speech therapy when he was a little over 3 and those behaviors have improved tremendously. Even if they don't consider your daughter full-blown SPD I think she would definitely benefit from OT. It helps them handle situations (like hair washing) that bother them. It's definitely worth a shot, it's worked wonders for my baby.

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