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sensory question

(10 Posts)
mummytojonny Tue 15-Mar-05 11:02:28

Hi, new here. Just another sensory issue question. My DS is 3 and appears to be a bit sensitive to some sensory experiences like loud noises. Also he doesn’t like fairgrounds and those toy cars that are in shopping malls (only when they move). Its not like he screams or goes mad or anything. He sometimes puts his hands over his ears and says What’s that loud noise or I don’t like that noise. Having said that, although he doesn’t like noises like sirens, when a policeman came to visit his nursery school in his car, my DS wanted to go for a spin and he set off the alarm merrily despite an initial fear of the noise. Last summer I noticed that he was a bit nervous of the high waves on the beach although he loves playing in water. He doesn’t have a problem with textures like food or clothes, doesn’t mind getting messy although would look to get his clothes changed afterwards. No issues with getting his hair cut or having a shower/bath. He has loved dancing from an early age and loves music. Recently he has started to notice smells a bit, just commenting on what they are. Just interested to know whether other mums have come across the same sort of things and when does sensitivity to sensory experiences become a problem? Also has anyone found they have got worse? At the moment I don’t believe anything is interfering with how he is progressing but I was just curious to know if what I have described is common? I have read a few books where how to deal with children with low sensory thresholds was discussed, but none seemed to indicate that it was a problem, the books just offered advice as to how to manage it. Is it only a problem when a child’s reaction is severe and/or related to a disorder like autism? My DS has no communication difficulties and has good speech and language.

debs26 Tue 15-Mar-05 11:13:40

ds1 always hated when people sang happy birthday. he would scream hysterically and at parties i would make sure he was out of the room. this lasted til he was over 4. he is now 6 and will happily sing along with all the other kids. he did have a problem with fireworks bangs aswell and other very loud noises, but is getting better at dealing with them. never actually thought of it as a problem tbh, just assumed it was one of his little quirks!

binkie Tue 15-Mar-05 11:21:02

Very interesting questions. Have you looked at the childbrain quiz, which takes in some sensory issues? I think it gives a good sense (to me anyway) of the "differentness" of sensory issues which raise concerns. To me, your ds doesn't sound worrying.

binkie Tue 15-Mar-05 11:44:07

oh, and before it gets recommended to you by twenty other people, you might want to see if your library has "The Out-of-Synch Child" which is all about sensory problems & suggestions of how to help

coppertop Tue 15-Mar-05 11:54:31

Both of my boys have sensory problems (related to autism in their case). Ds1's sensory issues did have quite a big impact on his life. The biggest problem on a day-to-day basis was that as his hands were so sensitive he avoided using them. If he fell he didn't use them to break his fall. He couldn't hold a pencil, get his hands dirty, dress himself etc. This has improved a lot since his pre-school and primary school helped to de-sensitise him. To see him now you would have to really look to notice any sign of this.

He hates noise and bright lights but will now tolerate them a lot of the time. I took him to a school disco recently. He insisted that he wanted to go. He lasted for about 40 minutes - far longer than I'd thought he would. His school has a sensory integration programme which is also helping to improve things. The only thing that really concerns me is that he feels very little pain. I worry that he may seriously injure himself and, unless there were any outward signs, I would never know.

Ds2 (2yrs) also has sensory problems. On a day-to-day basis they don't have a big effect on him. He doesn't like wearing clothes but most of the time he will at least wear them outside. There have been a few exceptions to this, eg on the way home from the shops he decided to strip off his clothes in the snow and wanted to walk home wearing just a nappy. The main problem IMHO is that he doesn't yet know how to regulate his sensory input. He goes out of his way to find stimulation but doesn't realise when he is overloading. He explodes into a complete rage when this happens or just shuts down completely. I'm hoping that, like his brother, he will find his own way of regulating himself. It's as if ds1's brain is somehow rewiring itself to enable him to cope.

binkie Tue 15-Mar-05 12:02:11

sorry, me again

perhaps that book is one of the ones you've already read that wasn't helpful with your essential question - if so, sorry for missing the point

if what would really help is some comparisons:

- my dd (4) has a very sensitive nose - smells in the car make her sick, she can smell burning before anyone else can, etc. etc. And she positively hates bangs and fireworks. But she is totally fine, the key thing being that her sensitivities have no feel of "anxiety" about them - it's all totally matter-of-fact;

- my ds (nearly 6) has a sensory threshold that is slightly concerning: he really minds a fork scratching on a table, and bright lights; was nearly sick when helping me make meatballs (feel of meat squishing in his palm); can't tolerate a bath that's much more than tepid; had to be encouraged to play with sand as a baby; rather wooden hugs and odd hand-hold; and we've had the hands-over-ears at noisy parties too sometimes - and all of these do have a slight anxiety element. But I still think he's OK really because the sensory issues come and go, and crucially don't persist - not the slightest problem with sand now, if he's sleepy he's much more relaxedly cuddly, he may say a sock isn't comfy when first on but within seconds he's settled in and forgotten about it.

mummytojonny Tue 15-Mar-05 13:02:52

Thanks for your messages.
Debs,I probably read too much into everything. My DS's reactions dont even sound as severe as your DS's and he seems to be getting over them

Coppertop, thankfully my DS keeps his clothes on! Do you think your DS1 would have outgrown his sensory issues without the therapy he received at school?

Binkie, thanks for the recommmended book.I also found an interesting article where there was a checklist of a list of symptoms and really my DS has few of them. I wouldnt describe my DS as having an extreme reaction to anything although I would say that there is a bit of anxiety attached to the loud noises and waves, but I suppose its normal for children to be fearful to a certain extent.Most thing have come and gone,I remember a short fear of the wind blowing. the only one that has persisted is the loud noise/fairground one but hopefully as he gets older it will subside.

coppertop Tue 15-Mar-05 13:17:05

I think that ds1 would still be having a lot of problems if it wasn't for the sensory work done to help him. It was a long,slow process to de-sensitise his hands. He liked touching dry sand at pre-school so they started to fill the sand box with other textures, eg dry cornflakes, porridge flakes etc. Next was encouraging him to touch dry clay and to roll it on his hands. By the time he started school at 4 he was still holding pencils at the ends using just his fingertips. 6 months later he has a fairly good grip and, although it's atill a bit shaky, he can now write letters, words etc. Without all of that help I think he would still be very reluctant to touch anything and certainly wouldn't be able to do up his own buttons, zips etc as he does now.

We haven't done anything really to help with his hearing but this seems to be improving. On a bad day he won't tolerate loud noises at all but most of the time he is okay in that respect. In the future we may look into some kind of auditory integration programme for him but it's not an urgent case or anything.

I think some of his problems are starting to resolve themselves but others definitely needed help to enable him to get to where he is today.

mummytojonny Tue 15-Mar-05 14:58:24

Coppertop, you probably cant answer this question but do you think that where a child has a few minor sensory issues like my DS which dont have an impact that there is no real need to do anything and that things wouldnt get any worse.

coppertop Tue 15-Mar-05 16:16:30

I'm no expert but my guess is that if they are minor problems that don't have any real effect on day-to-day living then they will stay that way or even improve. I haven't heard of any cases where a minor problem at this age has developed into something major, but I'm prepared to be corrected if anyone knows different.

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