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Visual and auditory processing problems...advice needed please.

(14 Posts)
mysonben Fri 03-Jul-09 23:39:55

I knew that ds had slight auditory processing probs because he is hypersensitive to certain noises , he covers his ears , sometimes will cry and get very upset , it all depend on the pitch, level of noise,...
But i'm now starting to think he may also have
visual processing problems too. I have noticed how he gets keeps going on about "the lights" when we go to shopping, within a short while he gets hyper , then has tantrums after tantrums.
My mum pointed out a while back the way that ds narrows his eyes every so often or how he brings his hands and sort of cup his fingers near his eyes hmm ...it looks sort of odd when he does it! DS does not like bright sunlight and really complain about it at the moment! wink he 's always with his cap low down over his eyes.
Could this indicate some visual processing problems???

lingle Sat 04-Jul-09 00:02:34

I'm no expert but I think so. Have you got some books? Quite a few give you hints on building up a sensory profile.

wasuup3000 Sat 04-Jul-09 00:11:28

Sounds like visual sensory. I can't remember if you said you were seeing a OT? If you do they will get you to fill out a sensory profile form. Sensory processing is important to identify as academically as well in everyday life your son will have these distractions. The OT can suggest ways to deal with these. Such as perhaps ear defenders, sunglasses and so on.

mysonben Sat 04-Jul-09 00:34:02

Lingle- yes, i've read a bit about it, but all my books do not really expand too much on it.
Also at the moment, these sensory issues are not too much of a problem, apart from the tantrums while shopping!

Wasuup3000- no we are not seeing an OT . We are however being refered by senco to an EP. Any idea if she will look into these issues at all?

Thanks.

amberflower Sat 04-Jul-09 09:11:04

I know from my discussions with a couple of ed psychs that what they will try to do is offer suggestions to help the child adapt to their 'sensory environment' (in my DS's case, the environment at school cos this is what causes him problems). So they may well look into some of this but I am not sure as DS has yet to be assessed by ed psych. It could be that the ed psych might recommend seeing an OT, as follow up.

We don't have the visual sensory issues but definitely some degree of audio sensitivity - DS will cover ears at loud noises and maybe say something like 'arggh I don't like it' but won't melt down as such, the reaction is over in under a minute usually. He also hates things like Happy Birthday being sung at birthday parties, he won't demonstrate any particular distress at the singing but will cover his ears. We did complete a sensory profile for the OT but no specific actions arising from this for us, because I don't think it is severe enough. However - if I were you I would be tempted to get your DS seen by an OT if you can - the sensory profile is honestly not too arduous to complete and then the OT may well be able to give you some tips on managing this as wasuup300 says.

mysonben Sat 04-Jul-09 11:08:01

Amberflower- Do you find your ds response to noises can varie?

Mine does. Sometimes he will cover his ears as we walk along the road because a line of cars will be passing us , yet at other times he won't do it. The same goes with toilet flushing. i think that if he is distracted enough by something else he doesn't react as much to the noise. He also has said on occasions "not like noise", bless him!

I noticed the lawnmower, the blender, his lil'sis 's shrill cries , sharp loud dog bark, or people shouting, all set off a bad reaction , ds will scream/cry as well as cover his ears.

amberflower Sat 04-Jul-09 12:50:39

mysonben - yes - response to noises can totally vary. For example he doesn't like handdryers in public toilets but reacts more to some than others; those really strong 'Dyson' ones for example will usually have him gasping and covering his ears, other quieter ones he may not react to at all. The same with traffic along the road - a particularly noisy lorry or motorbike will get a reaction, other above-average noisy vehicles don't.

He doesn't really tend to get to the screaming/crying stage unless something is really noisy - i.e. the kind of sudden noise that would seriously startle an adult never mind a child. Otherwise the most he might do is shout out 'oh no!' or something similar and then once the noise has gone say something like 'I didn't like that, it made me jump'. But then he is older than your DS and I think has learned coping strategies in some ways. Noise sensitivity is definitely one of those ASD-but-can-be-found-in-NT-kids-too things - DS was distressed by the fire alarm practice at school recently, but then again so were half his class, and three or four of them were in tears - it certainly wasn't just him.

mumgoingcrazy Sat 04-Jul-09 19:32:59

DD2 had a sensory assessment done and her auditory processing was at the top of the scale with visual processing being a close second. The therapy that has helped us more than anything was 'The Therapeutic Listening Program' which was administered by our OT (who is sensory trained, not all are). We did it for 18 weeks twice a day for half an hour. The therapy has completely changed DD2, her SPD was so bad that she never even looked at anyone, or interacted with anyone, even me. She was completely locked into her little world. We finished the program 2 weeks ago and she is a different child, her noise sensitivity is now fine. I used to avoid going to toddler groups, even to a supermarket in case a baby was in there and could potentially make a noise and set DD2 off. Now I can do anything and go anywhere (unless she has an ear infection as it creeps back then) she's a different child.

The thing that made us wonder about her visual processing was her inability to track objects. Now she can track them (unless it's fast). Something we are considering for her visual processing is seeing a behavioural optometrist (sp?). We are waiting to have another sensory assessment done to see if this is necessary.

Hope this helps!

lingle Sat 04-Jul-09 20:00:28

almost sounds like he is oversensitive to light levels? but is that the same as being oversensitive to visual stimuli? dunno!!!!

coppertop Sat 04-Jul-09 20:39:34

Sometimes it can be about the type of lights. Fluorescent lights/strip lights are probably the worst for this as they tend to flicker. I remember my ds once turning extremely hyper during an appointment with the Paed. He was happy but was bouncing off the walls. The Paed switched off the light (there was still some daylight) and the effect was immediate. Ds sat down and looked at a picture book.

Would your ds wear sunglasses?

Headphones have helped mine to cope with day-to-day noises. The listening programme that Mumgoingcrazy mentioned also worked miracles for us. It won't work for everyone though and I think some MNers have found that it actually made things worse for their child(ren). It's one of those things where you cross your fingers and hope for the best.

sphil Sat 04-Jul-09 20:57:12

Our OT suggested a cap for DS2 when he was showing some light sensitivity - cuts down some of the light, but not as annoying to wear as sunglasses.

We have the varied response to noise as well - and Ds2's response was also improved hugely by Therapeutic Listening.

mysonben Sat 04-Jul-09 21:25:52

I would say probably sensitivity to light levels and more than likely something to do with certain type of lights like those in supermarkets, because ds will almost invariably points at them or mumble something about the lights, then he seems to get hyper really quick.

Visual stimuli is more a tricky one , i'm unsure on that one.
But why the narrowed eyes and fingers near eyes thing? I'm thinking maybe stims!?

amberflower Sat 04-Jul-09 21:58:09

either that or perhaps a nervousness thing?

My DS twiddles his hair in his fingers either when uneasy or when just relaxing. He has done it since he had any hair grin it is how he settles himself to sleep too. I am not sure now how much of that is a sensory stimming thing or whether it is just self-soothing.

sphil Sat 04-Jul-09 22:26:00

DS2 used to look out of the corners of his eyes at things, and do the fingers in front of eyes thing too. This has gone completely since he has been on fish oils - a flax/sunflower blend, cod liver and Vit A. Whether it's a coincidence or not I don't know. (His supplements are prescribed and monitored by a nutritionist - you have to be careful about too much Vit A).

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