Setbacks After An Illness


I have a 5 year old son with sensory processing disorder. He was diagnosed sometime between the ages of 2 and 3. He has done extremely well with early intervention. We are even happy to say that earlier this year his special education preschool asked us for permission to put him in a regular pre K class and has done great until now.

He and the rest of our house got the flu and a terrible respiratory virus. We have been cooped up in our house for over 3 weeks. Since then he has seemed to have a setback and is doing things he has not done in a year or more.

Upon returning to school we got a frantic call from his teacher saying he was acting strangely in class... would not make eye contact, seemed spaced out, had problems following multi-step commands, had dilated pupils, was very hyperactive and impulsive, not participating in class etc... Oh, I forgot to mention that he would not sleep. He was fidgety, woke up at 5 am, did not nap and told me "I can't make my legs stop Mommy." We had noticed he was not quite himself but thought he would be fine once he got to school.

Since our son has several allergies we took him to the doctor to rule out he was not allergic to any of the meds he was on for his infection. All checked out good as far as the doctor was concerned. He is slowly getting a bit better but we are still seeing so many behaviors we have not seen in a long time. Is it normal for a kid with sensory integration issues to have

set backs or regress after an illness? If so will he slowly get back to himself (where he was) or do we need to start at square one again? The doctor seemed to think that the illness may have set his sensory system off but he should be fine.

Any thoughts or suggestions are appreciated.

The SPD Help Line Answers

Let me just say, YES, this is completely normal! It happens to MANY of our SPD kids. Illnesses, for some reason (which I have not yet found out the answer to) do set them back. He will return to where he was before with both time and perhaps some extra attention to his sensory diet. Make sure he is getting the sensory input he needs now that he is feeling better. Increasing his repertoire of heavy work/deep pressure activities at regular intervals throughout the day will definitely help. The decrease in sensory input while he was sick as well as all the changes and disruptions in routines may have impacted him negatively as far as his neurological organization. Perhaps an increase in OT for a few weeks too until things normalize?

I know there are other parents out there who have experienced this… anyone have some input… similar experience? What happened, what did you do, what helped, what didn’t etc.? Anyone want to share?? Let mom know it will be ok and that she isn’t by any means alone? AND, does anyone have an “official” explanation, from a neurological standpoint why this does happen to so many of our kids? I would be so thankful if you could share that information with us!! Thanks in advance!

Take good care and hang in there, ok?

Michele Mitchell

Comments for Setbacks After An Illness

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Jun 18, 2011
by: Anonymous

This sounds like PANDAS. Especially with the dilated pupils. You should look into this. Children with SPD are extra susceptible.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to The SPD Q & A.