Monday, 4 May 2009

Sensory overload

Well Ashley definitely appears to be healthy today however I have another concern.. which i think started a little while ago before Taylor was born. Ashley appears to be very easily overstimulated. I think her Sensory system perhaps isn't functioning so well she is having lots of melt downs which at times can go on for a long time. I know she has had a growth spurt since starting to eat table food and it was suggested to me perhaps her sensory system is out of sync now. Which seems to make a lot of sense to me.

It's pretty upsetting to see her out of sorts at activities she used to enjoy like physio and pre-school. She seems to be triggered by loud unexpected noises, her baby brothers crying (which doesn't happen to often) but when it does is very upsetting to her. The noisy classroom of 15 preschoolers, even physio with a therapist she's been seeing since an infant and used to giggle and smile through therapy sessions with. She is also very sensitive to any shoes being on her feet now this is new and even her beloved My little Pony sneakers which she has been wearing since Christmas and they still fit her.

I was told that i should look into the brushing therapy to help her relax and help her with her sensory issues. I've email her Occupational therapist for some advice on this. I was also told she having tantrums and to place her calmly in a safe place like her crib or playpen to calm down and it works however she gets upset again when we take her out. Which leads me to believe this more of a sensory issue then a tantrum. Any advice on this is welcome especially if you've been through this. Ashley has also been so easy going and happy this change is a little rough on her and mommy.


Melissa Miller said...

Let me preface this with my deepest sympathies. No one likes to see their kids suffer, no matter what the cause.
Here are a few ideas of the things to do when she's startled:
1. Dim the lights.
2. Soft soothing music or white noise like a fan. Headphones might be an option if you can't keep her environment as quiet as she'd like.
3. Have her sit in a rocking chair, hammock or swing.
Hope this helps. Sensory integration issues are real. She may need an OT assessment at this point.
Big hugs,

BusyLizzyMom said...

Elizabeth went through the same thing at around the same age as Ashely. She became overstimulated, was hitting me in public settings (she never never hits), getting into trouble and sensory seeking. She had turned into a child we did not know.
We hired a private OT and began brushing and it worked she calmed down quickly and could handle being at school. If I forgot to brush her her teacher would notice as Elizabeth would get into trouble at school. We only brushed her twice a day and if we were going out. She has settled and we have not done it for months but it is a nice security blanket.

SuzanneNoor said...

You have my sympathy Sherry. I know what it's like when you're tyring to deal with tantrums that don't seem to have a logical reason, & when kids can't communicate their frustration, it's worse.
We did try brushing & compression therapy with Mehmed, but we all agreed (teacher, EA & me), it actually made him worse - but I'm told that that is rare. He did enjoy it though, and sometimes asks if we can do it, so I'm sure it won't hurt for you to try. It's a very soothing activity.
Also, one thing that might help is introducing a picture schedule or something - like, take a picture of her preschool class & teachers, and show it to her 15 minutes before she goes - tell her that's where she's going. You can do it for other things that seem to bother her too - just take a picture of her at that activity or with different people & show them to her before hand - sometimes with a mental preparation, they can handle new stimuli better. I know that's critical with Mehmed, even now.
If light bothers her, then sunglasses might help (if they don't bother her to wear), but it sounds to me like noise is more of a bother at this point... so try things that filter the noise (or whatever seems to bother her), just like Mighty Mom's suggestions...
Try giving her only one toy at a time too, with the blinds a bit closed, and some soft background music, it might help at playtime...
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi Sherry,
I saw you mention the brushing therapy to help as a calming technique. First of all, you know her best, and if your instincts tell you it's a sensory issue, it is.

I have had experience with the brushing technique, and it did help with the kids I worked with. However, as she's gotten better has the tantrums decreased? Loud noises can bother kids if they have an ear infection.

take care, don't know how you do it!