Have you ever been out at the mall or a restaurant and witnessed a child having a complete udder meltdown and thought that the child was just a spoiled misbehaved child or that the parents didn’t know how to control them. That may or may not be the case, and many children live with a condition called Sensory Integration Dysfunction, which can be treated with the sensory integration autism diet. For children with Sensory Integration Dysfunction, something as simple as a trip to the grocery store with mom can simply be too much to handle and rock their world.
Mom Discussing Sensory Integration Dysfunction Disorder
I am the mom to two wonderful special needs boys. My oldest son has autistic characteristic and has at time been classified as autism spectrum among many other diseases. Sensory Integration Dysfunction Disorder is hard to diagnosis because the symptoms are the same as many other disorders including ADD/ADHD and Autism.
Sensory Integration is a neurologic process that organizes sensations from one’s own body and surrounds. Sometimes there is a problem when the brain processes things causing the dysfunction. Carol S. Kranowitz, M.A. author of the “The Out-Of-Sync Child” defines Sensory Integration Dysfunction as “The inefficient neurological processing of information received through the senses, causing problem with learning and behavior.” What this means is that children affected by this disorder either have problems with under processing, over processing, or process interference.
Problems that are often associated with Sensory Integration Dysfunction are:
· Acute Awareness to background noise
· Fascinations with lights, fans, and water
· Spinning Items and taking them apart
· Tip toe walking
· No or very low awareness to pain
· Coordination problems
· Extremely high or Low Energy
· Reacts strongly to stimuli on face, hand, and feet
· Difficulty with transitions
· Self-Injury or Aggression
· Extremes of energy levels either Hyperactive or underactive
· Fearful of space
· Striking out at someone who accidently brushes them when walking by
· Avoidance of physical contact with people
· Avoidance to certain textures such as sand, paste, and finger-paints
· Reacts strongly to stimuli to face, hands , and feet
· Dislike for grooming
· Sensitivity to smell and taste
· Very short attention span
Due to the fact that these symptoms overlap other disorders many doctors are quick to push medications. However research had shown that medication is not effective treatment. Therapy is the best course of treatment. Therapy is often called Sensory or The Sensory Diet. Though you should consult with your PT or OT before embarking on the Sensory Diet.
I have enclosed some ideas that you may find usefully for a home therapy.
· Swing that move in one plane
· Hammock Swing or Glider Swings
· Balance boards
· Tubes to roll in
· Rocking Horses
· Limit Fluoresce Lights if possible
· Play tent/huts
· Lava Lamps
· Bubble Columns
· Aromatherapy is quite beneficial
· Scent Candles
· Aroma Diffusers
· Scented markers
· Scented Stuffed Animals
· Calming Scents- Vanilla, Lavender, Peppermint, Jasmine
· Stimulating- Cinnamon, Strong, Sweet ,Sour, Floral Scents, Spices
Tactile/Touch/Feel-Easiest to supply
· Funny Foam
· Zyro Foam
· Texture Balls
· Texture Walls
· Texture Puzzles
· Sensory Brushing using the Wilbarger Brushing Protocol
· Coloring over Textured materials
· Finger-paints (regular or pudding)
· Vibrating Toys
· Soothing Sounds
· Sound pillows
· Nature Sound Machine
· White Noise
· Wind Chimes
· Classic Music.
· New Age Music
· Relaxation music *I can highly recommend “The Comfort Zone” by Steven Halpern.
· Hyposensitive- sweet, salty, spicy, and or sour
· Hypersensitive- One new taste at a time
· May benefit from oral massages before meals
· Anything that will all the child to be squished or hugged and will apply positive pressure
· Therapy Balls
· Weight Vest/ Blankets * this one worked wonders for my son.
· Big Floor Pillows
· Climbing toys
When done correctly is found to very calming and relaxing to the child.
It can be tough to watch your child be so uncomfortable in their little world, but after a while you quickly learn what triggers their meltdowns and what works and what does not work for them. There was a time when we didn’t go anywhere without my son’s weighted blanket or a blanket to mummy wrap him with and some Lavender scented Lotion. He got to the point where he would be the bottle to you and ask for lotion so he got the pressure from us applying the lotion. I also have a vanilla/ lavender scented air freshener throughout the house. The book previous mention “The Out-Of-Sync Child” is a must read it has been a huge help to us with our son.