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Sensory issues vs autism


Forum: Children with Vision, Hearing & Sensory Issues

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  #1  
November 8th, 2010, 06:22 AM
quietsong's Avatar Just Another Slacker Mom
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I've been doing a lot of reading on this and wanted some thoughts from others who have a diagnosed SID/SPD kid. We believe - honestly, in my gut, I KNOW - that my son either has SID or autism, if not both... I know that a lot of autistic kids have sensory issues, but it seems like a kid with sensory issues would be easy to misdiagnose as autistic as well. Danny is very hit or miss with his autistic tendencies; he'll have days where he's totally on the ball, lots of eye contact, social, bringing me stuff to play with, etc. He has days where he doesn't, and often when he ends up doing his own thing, it's (visual) sensory related - spinning wheels and fans, watching bright light and shadow play, etc.

Have you had any experience with your sensory kid and autism? Do they have it? Did someone think they did, but turned out it was just because they were battling their sensory struggles? I'd love to hear your stories! We'll be going through a big round of evals in January, since he will be turning 3 in March and moving to an IEP, so I'm kind of coasting through the holidays (since it's so busy anyway) and thinking I'll pursue some kind of diagnosis then, try to figure this out more for Danny... He receives a BUNCH of therapies, so he's not missing out on EI because he isn't officially diagnosed with either.
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  #2  
November 12th, 2010, 08:53 AM
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well I don' thave a sensory kid, but I have 2 friends that do. One is probably on the spectrum for autism, but high functioning and still being diognosed. But from what they told me the main difference that you see between the 2 is autism will have regression of skills. A baby that used to say mama no longer does. A 12 month old that waved hi no longer waves. Things like that. As opposed to a sensory kid, that still developes just at a different pace kinda thing.
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  #3  
December 13th, 2010, 09:40 AM
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How are things going?

My daughter has SPD, but not any autism spectrum. ECI told us about SPD when she was 2. We had her evaluated last year by the school district, and they ruled out any autism spectrum. She clearly does not have autism - but I wondered about something milder "on the spectrum."

In addition to sensory issues, she also has severe social anxiety. She didn't talk at daycare for almost a year (literally - not a word). But talked fine at home, other places, even talked at daycare when I was there. We worked through that.... but she has trouble with sensory and social anxiety at daycare.

I suspected something on the spectrum - because she will get so upset at daycare over little things.... then she won't let anyone touch her, gets very defensive - will refuse to do anything or be comforted.

But at other times she is delightful and just like any other kid. She relates so much better when she is with me or her Dad, than at school.

But the district ruled out any ASD. I communicate by email with her old ECI counselor every few months, and she said that she has seen many sensory kids that look autistic when their sensory needs are not met - but then are great once they are.

However - I still think that SPD and Autism are related even though they are not the same.
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  #4  
December 13th, 2010, 04:06 PM
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Thanks for asking! The more we "help" his sensory stuff and give him the type of input he needs, the better he does. Honestly, he sounds a lot like your daughter in that he is very hot and cold with things; he has bad times when he retreats from people, gets upset over little things, doesn't want anything to do with people that aren't family or very familiar, and then he has other times where he is so delightful and social and - for lack of a better word - "typical." Of course, he is speech delayed as well, but between his sensory issues and his hearing loss, I'd say he's making fine progress. He's right on par for his hearing age (aka, he's been hearing for 20 months and has about the language of a 20 month old) aside from some problems producing consonants.

I do agree that they are related somehow, and like you I've often wondered if he is somewhere mild on the spectrum... We have our evals with the school district in January to work toward his IEP. I'll be curious to see what they have to say. Other than one thing - he used to show us his tummy and his mouth when we asked about them, now he doesn't - he hasn't shown any regression, and I often wonder if that's truly a regression or just that it isn't a game he enjoys or wants to play anymore.
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  #5  
December 13th, 2010, 08:37 PM
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My little girl has SID but not autism. Because of her "issues" many techniques we use with her (discipline, entering new environments, etc) tend to be from autistic conferences and handbooks. We were told the same thing about regression as nvr4gtn mentioned. People NOT in the medical field often insist Carrie must be autistic cause of her sensory issues, but no one in the medical field has even considered it.

Carrie "loses" things the way you said Danny does, but it's not because she's lost how to do it, just lost interest in it. Children learn in windows and once one window is closed it's common for them to ignore that ability for a while (windows in regard to focusing on motor skills, speech, etc).
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  #6  
December 13th, 2010, 09:24 PM
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If I may ask, what are some of the things you ladies do with your daughters to help them? I've had to fight an uphill battle to get anyone to recognize Danny's sensory issues, as his tactile issues tend to be more hyposensitive than hypersensitive; I've been told he doesn't present as a "typical" sensory toddler by avoiding food textures, getting hands messy while eating, etc. The end result is our OT seems to "pacify" us whenever I bring up sensory concerns and then just works fine motor with him. The few sensory things we do know to do with him have really helped him learn how to focus, and I'm always looking for new ideas to try with him.
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  #7  
January 17th, 2011, 08:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quietsong View Post
If I may ask, what are some of the things you ladies do with your daughters to help them? I've had to fight an uphill battle to get anyone to recognize Danny's sensory issues, as his tactile issues tend to be more hyposensitive than hypersensitive; I've been told he doesn't present as a "typical" sensory toddler by avoiding food textures, getting hands messy while eating, etc. The end result is our OT seems to "pacify" us whenever I bring up sensory concerns and then just works fine motor with him. The few sensory things we do know to do with him have really helped him learn how to focus, and I'm always looking for new ideas to try with him.
Sorry - I haven't checked this thread in forever! My daughter is also hyposensitive (very hyper). Has the OT ever mentioned the Wilbarger Brushing Technique? It has been of help to Haley at daycare. Heavy resistive work/play is the other main thing. We use a theraband wrapped around the legs of her chair that she can press her legs on while she sits. I have some exercise bands - she likes to mimic my exercising with (standing on the band and reaching up with her hands ).

A weighted lap pad when she is seated for a while. (OT said don't use it for more than around 15-20 min or it looses effectiveness).

Playdough, or therapy putty to play with at home.

Climbing etc on playground. We have a small trampoline inside for her (and a big one outside thanks to the grandparents).

We haven't actually started this yet - but the OT put using wrist/ankle weights on to do some task throughout the day. (1/4-1/2 lb weight). I ordered some, but they haven't come in yet.

I hope that helps! This is still very much a learning process for us!
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  #8  
January 18th, 2011, 01:56 PM
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Thank you for the ideas, Jennifer! We did give the brushing technique a month long test, but it didn't seem to make a big impact for him. The lap band has been very effective for him during circle time in class, and he LOVES the mini-trampoline at his school. I'll have to look into the therabands too! I'm curious to see how the wrist and ankle weights work out.
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  #9  
February 2nd, 2011, 06:02 PM
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My daughter is diagnosed with SPD. Kids are different, but one difference I've seen between her and a friend's child who is autistic, is that she really tries to be social (good eye contact, initiating imaginative play, etc) most of the time, then gets overwhelmed. We use a weighted blanket, we also have a wiggle wedge with rubber nubbies on one side that we use when we want her to sit without a struggle, like at meal times, that gives her some tactile stimulation while she is sitting.
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  #10  
June 5th, 2011, 11:31 PM
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Hi. I am new to the boards, saw this posting and can relate.
My son is 2 1/2 and he has both autism and hyposensitivity. With the autism he is very visual. He does alot of eye stimming, has a big fascination with wheels-cars, trains, etc. He looks out of the corners of his eyes alot, likes to looks at things close up and/or vertically. He spins in circles occasionally and does low humming sounds.
with his hyposensitivity he loves textures, bumpy surfaces, rugs, and loves silk, for instance he used to have a taggie, which we called his 'lovie', was his security blanket, it had yellow bow/tags on a peice of blanket.
He talks but it's all jarble, the only clear words that are understood is mum, dada, no, and says letters of the alphabet-especially l,m,n,o,p. He is a very huggy and kissy boy, which I am so thankful for!!-gives me some feeling of closeness/connection to him. Alot of the time I feel extremely lost, I feel so helpless much of the time. And I also feel like there is a huge barrier in the way of each other, I try to help him on getting him to talk and follow a small order, like help clean up, and every time it's either no response-like he didn't even hear me or it's a meltdown. I try not to bum out about the whole situation too much and remain so thankful that he is in my life and love my son no matter what the circumstances are. Other times it's so hard and saddens me, especially when I take him out in public, I get alot of looks from other parents/people where I can tell right away what they are thinking-why is he like that or what is wrong with him.
If anybody has any advice, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.
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