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Sensory seeking behaviour?

(5 Posts)
longestlurkerever Thu 23-Mar-17 19:16:18

I posted a couple of weeks ago for tips for managing my dd's hyperactive behaviour. She is 5. Someone on that thread said it sounded like sensory seeking behaviour and I've been trying to find out more about it and whether it fits. To be honest I've found it a bit of a maze. Most of the sites are American and it doesn't feature on the NHS website at all.

Is it a medically recognised condition? Who would I ask for a referral if I thought it was worth following up?

Some features of dd's behaviour hat matched with what I read are:

1) Ongoing issues with stool withholding and constipation since potty training age.

2) Strong attachment to her teddy. She likes to sniff his ear. It's the first thing she asks for when she leaves school and she gets very distressed if I forget or wash him. She also sucks a finger when tired.

3) Tendency towards hyperactivity - difficulties keeping still - often standing on head if practising reading, for example, though will stay still for tv.

4) Overeating. She's not overweight but is constantly pestering for snacks, especially if a bit bored/in the house. Particularly keen on apples.

5) Doesn't seem to feel the cold. Always wants to play in water even in winter.

6) Often complains of pains in her legs/backs of knees.

7) The other day a toy was running in a box making a white noise sound. I asked her what it was and she said "I like it, please don't turn it off".

8) Always talking loudly/interrupting/babbling. Will talk to herself when playing.

9) School say her fine motor skills are underdeveloped - eg pencil and scissor grip, but she is only 5, so I am undecided on that one.

Some of these are quite specific things so it does make me wonder, but there are other things that don't really fit. I've never noticed her being inappropriately affectionate, or to particularly seek out spinning. Apart from the bear I've never noticed her be particularly responsive to smells or seek out extreme tastes. I haven't noticed anything remarkable about her pain threshold. Also, I don't have a lot to compare it to but isn't some of this is just typical exuberant 5 year old behaviour?

School and pre-school have always commented on her behaviour - that she doesn't follow instructions well and is hard to manage, but their feedback tends to be strongest at the beginning of the school year and then it settles down. At parents' evening a few weeks ago they said she had made significant improvement in her behaviour - though still finds it hard to stop talking. When the stool withholding was at its worst (about a year ago) I raised the possibility of ADHD and they said it wasn't on their radar for her but they would keep an eye. But then things settled a bit as we got on top of the constipation.

I'd welcome any comments. If this would be better moved to the SN board I will do that but I'd welcome as broad a range of perspectives as possible as i am interested in whether this is within the range of normal 5 yo behaviour.

Msqueen33 Thu 23-Mar-17 19:23:27

I can't really help with what's normal behaviour for a five year old as both my four and six year old have ADHD and autism. Both of mine are incredibly hyperactive meaning even when they are still they are still moving. They jump, climb, bounce and move constantly.

Sensory seeking doesn't mean just spinning.

Ignore if she's still for the tv. Mine do that because they can hyperfocus.

I also have an 8 year old who talks a lot! She shows some signs of add but not enough to warrant doing anything about.

Nothing you've said shouts sensory processing or ADHD but obviously all kids display differently.

My friend has a six year old who is a real pickle. Very difficult to manage, doesn't listen and is always on the go and there's no Sen. I'd probably keep making notes and get in good touch with the school on how she's doing.

JamesDelaneysHat Thu 23-Mar-17 19:27:11

Everyone has a 'sensory profile' and can be sensory seekers or 'avoiders' - think of it as a sort of spectrum but it doesn't have to be a 'disorder' or linked to any other disorder - it's sometimes just a preference that people have. Some people need sensory feedback to feel awake, alert etc and some find their senses are easily overwhelmed. Sometimes it can be linked to ADHD or ASD. People can have Sensory Processing Disorder which means they struggle to process all the information their senses provide to their brain and can become very overwhelmed. If they have this, they can be helped to process it better by being given a Sensory Diet, usually by an occupational therapist.

I didn't see your original thread but tbh a lot of your dd's behaviour sounds within the normal range to me.

Msqueen33 Thu 23-Mar-17 19:49:30

She does remind me a lot of my eight year old even down to the apples. She doesn't feel the cold but her dad doesn't either. She also had poor gross motor skills and they're fine except her handwriting which is a bit scribble.

longestlurkerever Thu 23-Mar-17 20:08:22

Thanks everyone. It's reassuring to think that it's not necessarily symptomatic of a disorder to require a lot of sensory input. Maybe it's worth trying some of the ideas for a sensory diet and seeing how she responds.

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