Thursday, April 16, 2015

Sensory Needs

Emery's sensory issues have been just crazy for months. This past Fall she was constantly tapping her face with various objects and developed an obsession for playing with other people's hands (primarily mine). During the Winter months the face tapping decreased, but she has added face pressing and back slamming to her repertoire of sensory related quirks.

Her most recent face tapping device of choice is an old gift card with a rubber band taped to it in a specific way (and I really mean specific).

Her hand playing is so intense that I literally had to wrap my achy wrist for two days with an ace bandage.

The face pressing involves her pressing her face directly into people's bodies (once again, primarily mine). She will face press my legs, shoulders, back, belly, and yes, even my butt. Emery also has a slight drooling and swallowing problem (also sensory related). I cannot tell you how often I have Emery lip prints on my clothes. I hate it when I forget to check for these dirty little spots before I leave to go out in public. Ugh!

Her back slamming is what concerns me the most. She runs backwards and slams herself into various objects, including counters, walls, appliances and furniture. The slams are shockingly hard. She doesn't leave any marks on her back, which is surprising. She slams into the side of the couch and the couch actually moves. This also occurs when she slams into my wood dresser. She also broke through some drywall with a back slam. Scary.

We have been consulting on an on-going basis with Emery's neurologist. We are in the process of testing combinations of different medications. We also have consulted with a retired psychologist that specialized in Sensory Integration in England. She provided some insight into the reasons why Emery chooses specific quirks to meet specific sensory needs. Both the neurologist and psychologist agree that Emery is in dire need of intensive therapy. I will talk about the effects of the various methods we have been trying in another post.
Meanwhile, after jumping through numerous hoops trying to obtain therapy covered by insurance, I am looking forward to our initial meeting in June to obtain a second diagnosis. It is still mind boggling to me that we have to put Emery through another evaluation, but I am grateful we found a BCBS approved facility that was not booked out a year.
Despite her sensory issues, Emery has been a happy and silly girl lately. She is doing great in gymnastics and just started swimming lessons, which she is ecstatic about. I think she giggled the majority of her 45 minute session on Monday. School is also going well and she is still excited to get on the bus. Praying we eventually get her the therapy she needs.



  1. Cranio-sacral therapy might help with the seeking of pressure on her body. Made a difference for our little guy.

    Also, one supplement to check into is Broccoli Sprout Extract. Study showed positive effect of it in kids with ASD.

  2. We have an almost 6 year old with sensory processing disorder. He receives occupational therapy (about 10 - 15 minutes of RMT movements) and we have mostly recently removed gluten from his diet, and he's been off of dairy for over 2 years. The dietary restrictions are so crucial to managing ADHD type of behaviors and a much lower sensory threshold. One thing I've been recommending to anyone with a child on the ASD spectrum, with sensory processing issues, or ADHD is an amino acid supplement called PharmaNAC 500mg. It is an Alka seltzer like tablet taken in water or juice. (Our therapist recommended to start on 1/2 a tablet and we've found that a whole one was too much, keep the other half in an airtight ziplock). We really are wary of medication, but were willing to try the supplement. It has made a HUGE difference in our son!!! Better focus, sleeping, fewer meltdowns, less sensory disruptions, over all calmer and more focused. We are so happy we tried it for our son and now my husband and I actually take it and feel better ourselves. Hope this helps!

  3. Our son also has sensory processing disorder. His therapy consists of three main components.
    1. Occupational therapy 10-15 minutes of rmt movements daily.
    2. Gluten and dairy free diet (this factor contributes hugely to his behavior-he is like a different child if either of these foods are ingested!)
    3. An amino acid supplement called PharmaNAC 500 mg. He takes 1/2 daily in juice. The other half must be kept airtight. We have noticed a ton of positive changes since he started taking this. My husband and I now take it also. It can be ordered online or ask the therapist for a sample.
    Also we recommend the book The Out of Sync Child. Best of luck to your family!