Are these signs of sensory issues?

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Registered: 06-02-2004
Are these signs of sensory issues?
4
Wed, 12-29-2004 - 3:03pm

Hi! I was referred to this group by someone on the hypotonia message board. She read a post that I left there about some concerns I have about my daughter. She thought maybe someone on this board could address my concerns. My dd, Lily, is 27 months old. She has hypotonia, dev. delay, no deep tendon reflexes, a hair shaft defect, and no dx. Anyway, my newest concern with her is that she may have some sensory issues. She has never liked to be cuddled (unless she is sick) and seems to have this idea that she needs a certain amount of "personl space" around her. If she scoots up to someone else, then it's okay to pick her up, but sometimes when she is approached by others, she gets fussy and pushes away. She only gives kisses every few months and has only hugged us (her parents) two times. She gets very excited and happy when she sees us, but she just isn't a lovey-dovey kinda girl. She has always been obsessed with lights. She points them out constantly and says "ligh". Anyway, at first it was cute because she only says a few words that anyone can understand. Now she is becoming overly concerned with burned out light-bulbs. She points them out and then says "uh-oh"--which again, was cute--for a while. Sometimes she even cries until I put in a new bulb. From what I have noticed, this usually occurs when she is already upset or tired. She only seems to do this around me. When I take off her shoes to change her diaper, she cries until I take off her socks too. She also fusses at me until I put on my seat belt. I always wear a seat belt, but if I don't put it on as soon as I sit down, she gets upset. The other day, I left out an outfit of hers that she had only worn for about an hour the day before. I decided to only use the shirt and put a pair of jeans on her instead of the pants that go with the shirt. Well, she saw the pants and began to cry like she was in pain. It took me a little bit to see what she was upset about. I put the pants on her and then she was fine. The first thing she says when she wakes up in the morning is "yuck-yuck" and begins to pretend to clean her stuffed animal snail that she sleeps with. This began after she vomited on the snail a few weeks ago and I had to wash it. She crumples up paper almost as soon as it is handed to her. She throws everything. Sometimes it seems like she throws just for the fun of it. Other times she throws things as soon as she is done eating or playing with a particular toy. She also pinches her own face sometimes when I scold her for throwing or pinching others. I tried swatting her hand a couple of times, but it back-fired on me. Now when I tell her "no", she sometimes will laugh and swat her own hand. When her older sister is around, she seems to get a thrill out of pinching or hitting her. I know she can feel pain, but it's like she doesn't feel it as strongly as others. She used to have really strong food aversions, due to reflux that is now under control. It took a long time to get her to try new textures of food. Sometimes she picks the meat out of her stew, other times she eats it. She can tolerate rice occasionally, but not always. Sorry this is so, so long. Could these things be sensory issues or is it just a two yr. old who can't walk and barely can talk, trying to control her world the only way she knows how? Do I give in to the crying (as in the light-bulb incident), or do I just let her cry it out? I think she does some of these things more often with me than other people. She points out lights to everyone and says "uh-oh" if they are burned out, but she doesn't cry about it; except around me. I am so confused and would love some advice. Thanks.

Amy, mom to Lily (2 yrs.) and Natalie (8 yrs)

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Registered: 03-27-2003
Thu, 12-30-2004 - 12:02am

Oh wow Amy. It sounds like there is a lot going on at your house! (But it is well-lit! :) My first question is: Is Lily in Early Intervention or has she been evaluated to be in Early Intervention? If not, I think that would be a really good thing. It sounds like her speech delays alone would qualify her. If she is already in Early Intervention, is she getting Occupational Therapy? If not, ask for it. If she is, your OT would be a great resource to discuss these sensory issues (I think a lot of what you described were sensory issues.) Your OT could help you come up with a routine of therapies to help Lily to overcome some of her aversions and fears, and help her to get some control over her life, and in a way, that helps you feel a little in control too.

I would very much recomend the book The Out of Sync Child. It is written for older kids, but it would give you a lot of insight into what is happening with sensory issues and Lily. (Like I said, I do think a lot of what you wrote points to some sensory issues.)

As to whether you should give in or not, that depends. I always always always put my foot down on anything that intrudes on the space of others or hurts people or property. Always. Even though my 2 sons have mild autism, they have to live in the world with other people and the sooner they learned that hitting, biting, etc. is not appropriate, I figured, the better for them. And they have learned. (They weren't really into physical issues though. So it may take some time, since Lily does seem to get some stimulation from the pinching.) I do let my McKay do some repetition at times, because it is a stress reliever, but even that, I try and limit. I want him to learn what is appropriate socially. He has to learn in school about appropriateness and I want to reinforce it here, and I want to make it easier for him to see what is expected. I think things that don't bother others, aren't really inappropriate, or hurting anyone, and not bugging you out of your mind, well, then you can decide if you want to tackle them right now. McKay really has to have some kind of transition item with him all the time. It is usually just a little plastic toy and he holds it closely to him. It doesn't bother anyone, hurt anyone, and it not generally inappropriate and it helps him a lot in new situations. So, I let him have it and with my blessings.

I think as a parent you have to choose you battles. Any parent does. But with kids with sensory issues, those choices become more critical. Best of luck to you. If Lily isn't in EI, please get an evaluation for her. I think it would be quite helpful.

Rachel

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Registered: 09-20-2004
Thu, 12-30-2004 - 3:45pm

Amy,

Welcome!! I'm so happy you found us! My son Gabriel was born with hypotonia too and is also speech delayed. We had him evaluated to see if he had sensory issues and he is now getting ot for that as well. My first recomendation for Lily (just had to tell you that my 23mos. dd's name is Lily too!)is to get her evaluted by early intervention. It is free and will help you and her so much. As for her behavioral issues - I don't know what to tell you. Gabriel is also aggressive with others; especially Lily. His big thing is pushing. I do think it is sensory related he often craves more input. He too used to hurt himself (he would bite his hands and arms sometimes) - he always has mouthed his hands, but if it makes you feel any better he doesn't do it anymore. I hope you kow that ou aren't alone and you came to the right place. It will get a little easier as her speech improves adn she can communicate a little more. Also get the book "the out of sync child". It will give you a lot of info.

Kim

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Registered: 06-02-2004
Fri, 12-31-2004 - 2:59pm
Thanks Rachel and Kim! Kim--that is neat how our daughter's have the same name and are almost the same age! I also like the name Gabriel. It was one of our choices for boy names when I was pregant with Lily. It is nice to know that I am not alone in dealing with this. Lily has been enrolled in our local EI program for about a year. She receives PT, DT, and ST. The behavior issues are just now becoming a problem. She has always been fussy, but we just dealt with it and figured that things would get better as she got older. Hopefully, they still will. I spoke to her therapists and they are going to have her evaluated by either an OT or a child psychologist to see what we may be dealing with. I will definetly look for the Out-of-Sync child book--it sounds like it would be really helpful. I'll keep you all posted about how her eval. goes. Thanks again for the advice and support! I'm glad that I was led to this group.
Amy, mom to Lily (2 yrs.) and Natalie (8 yrs)
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-01-2004
Sat, 01-01-2005 - 8:59am

Amy,


Wow, you do have a lot going on don't you?