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Sensory difficulties for 4yr old?

(10 Posts)
CoffeeBreakIn5 Sat 18-Mar-17 22:56:50

My 4yo seems to be having difficulties with certain environments and the frequency of 'difficult' days has increased over the last year. I'm wondering if anyone has been in the same situation and what they did to manage/help DC cope better.

When he was a baby he coped ok with most situations, he didn't really cry very much at all but he seemed stressed by messy play and swimming (he'd go really quiet and stoney faced) enough for me to stop taking him. As he's got a bit older he hates having messy hands and until recently refused to engage with activities that involved playdough, glue, paint etc. Nursery has helped him to do these activities but after potty training he realised he was capable of washing his own hands so was more willing to have a go, he does take himself off to wash his hands a lot or he gets the baby wipes to sort himself out. When he knows he can do that he's more willing to participate. He's always been very routine driven.

He's never liked soft blankets or being cuddled a lot, again it didn't distress him in the typical way of crying or making a fuss but he used to get this look on his face and he definitely wasn't relaxed. Bedtimes he was happy to lay in his cot, then his bed, and just drift off with nothing to snuggle and no blankets. He's better with his duvet now but I had to wait until he was asleep before tucking him in with comfy blankets.

I recently took him to a playgroup with his little brother and he had a full on melt down outside the room and refused to go in. Eventually, when I ignored him, he came in and gave the activities a go but he just seemed so anxious. We went back to the same playgroup the other day and although he seemed more relaxed he was still uptight. Afterwards he had a huge meltdown over really small and insignificant things and just ended up sobbing on my knee when we got home. It was as if he'd had sensory overload, he didn't say it was the playgroup when I asked him, he really couldn't tell me what was wrong.

He is quite lively, sometimes it's as if he can't hear me at all and I have to physically hold his hands and talk to him. Even then, he'll be looking around the room and seemingly unable to look at me. He gets obsessed by certain things and can't take his focus from them, he's very clumsy and always has to be leaning on me or having physical contact.

Writing this down, it doesn't seem like there is an awful lot wrong, but something just doesn't seem right. Is this part of a wider difficulty he might have? Other than making allowances is there anything I should be/could be doing? Obviously I know I should seek help and I will, it's just I could do with hearing other experiences.

user1476527701 Sun 19-Mar-17 07:32:05

Does he go to nursery? Have they mentioned anything at all? It would be worth speaking to health visitor to see if you can get a referral to paediatrician. My ds had lots of little things at that age which whilst not exactly the same were similar to your ds. Things started to go wrong big time when he got into year one

Bex134 Sun 19-Mar-17 17:48:28

It sounds like he's overcoming some of his difficulties himself such as with the messy play. What strikes me more than anything is that he's hesitant sometimes and may need more reassurance??

We all have sensory preferences, it sounds as though you have worked out his preferences for touch. Deep pressure touch calms us all so introducing this in bedtime routine may be calming for him. A great book as 'the out of sync child' it's pretty cheap but is full of strategies and ideas that will help. It does talk about more significant sensory processing problems but doesn't sound like that's your little boy.

TheBeanpole Sun 19-Mar-17 18:08:02

This sounds very like DD who is 3.4 - down to the playgroup thing which has happened more times than I can mention. She's clumsy as well and was a very late Walker, and I have wondered about dyspraxia- my brother is quite badly dyspraxic and my dad I think has it too. She does get on well with forest school type things I think because they're outside there's less sensory overload- it's not echoey, she can move around freely.

Her keyworker thinks she's just at the anxious/shy end of normal and there's nothing clinical going on but I have been vaciliating about going to see the HV - but like you they all seem small things! We're having big trouble potty training as well as even though she has bladder control she gets very overwhelmed and resistant. So just posting for any advice you get and sympathy really.

CoffeeBreakIn5 Mon 20-Mar-17 00:13:24

Thank you for the replies and the reassurance, I definitely need it right now.

User yes he's at school nursery, they haven't said anything that would be concerning but one thing that might account for it is that the children choose what they do. He's more than happy playing with the Lego with his friends, he never brings home models or paintings and when I've asked them they say he chooses not to do it. He has done a few paintings lately though and he does draw. Do you mind me asking what happened in y1 and what changed between nursery/reception and Y1? I completely understand if you'd rather not go into it.

I think I'll speak to my GP about it, my HV is rather useless - she really let me down by telling my PND symptoms were just how all mums feel so I didn't push for help. It was 6 months before I got help and it was awful. I don't want my DS to struggle any more than he seems to be already, I just want to help him.

He constantly makes noise and moves around, I know most small children do but this is to the point of irritation and I struggle to hold a conversation with someone else because his presence is so distracting. He does need a lot of reassurance which I make sure he gets, we also tell him what to do if he doesn't like something, so he has strategies and reassurance but they don't seem to be enough.

Thank you again everyone, I'm replying on my phone so I can't read your replies whilst I write this so I can't refer to specifics - but I really appreciate the advice.

gatorgolf Mon 20-Mar-17 13:15:44

Hi I'm the person who posted above as user now back on my usual device. Re what went wrong in year one, basically I think it was as you've said above nursery and reception are fairly relaxed and to a point they can choose what to do and what not to do. Year one is more formalised and they have to do certain work at certain times. Ds had major problems after starting year one to the extend he was throwing chairs, ripping up work etc. behaviours that we hadn't seen previously at school and never have at home. He also struggles with the noise in class in year one and now year 2, you would have thought reception would be noiser but I suppose he could move away do wasn't so much of a prob. Ds got asd diagnosis last week, I'm still not 100% sure it is correct but I didn't end up having much of a choise in the end. Little minor things had been noticed about ds prior to year one but we didn't get referal to pardiatrician under after probs started. School were really pushing for asd diagnosis. The trouble you may have is that if you refer now unless school are identifying issues you won't be listened to as much. Ime schools word tends to get taken above a parents which is why ppl who have problems at home but kids are not distuptive at school have such a hard time getting diagnosis

Playitagainsam Mon 20-Mar-17 21:04:59

Hi Coffee, I had a lot of this with my DD, who's now nearly 5. She seemed to hate everything that every other child loved - getting messy, swimming, birthday parties etc. But as she's started Reception and found her confidence a bit, things have improved a lot. When I was worried about her, I asked for advice on here and a few people suggested Sensory Processing Disorder. I'm not sure if you've come across it, but when you mentioned about your DS being lively and clumsy were the things that didn't ring true with my DD. i just wonder if it's worth a quick look?

Playitagainsam Mon 20-Mar-17 21:06:41

Sorry that didn't make sense - being lively/always on the move and clumsy were some of the symptoms of it that my DD didn't have.

CoffeeBreakIn5 Thu 23-Mar-17 20:45:24

Thank you gator, I appreciate the information - I totally know what you mean about the school's word because when I've mentioned behaviour etc they tell me that they haven't noticed anything. I have felt as though I just need to wait until they get involved and then something might be done.

Playit thank you, I'm going to research that now.

AprilShowers177 Fri 24-Mar-17 02:41:20

Just to let you know sensory proceeding disorder isn't recognised in the U.K. As a diagnosis so much of the research is american based (still very useful). Try the sensory integration network, I'm sure they do parent courses to help.

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