By Belinda Williams, OTR, SIPT
December 8th, 2012
You would not believe the stories, unless of course you had seen it for yourself. One mother feared for her 4 year old child’s life because she climbed constantly. Not just the sofa, and any fence she could get to, but even book shelves and kitchen counters which she reached by opening the oven door to use as the first step. She often jumped down without fear of pain or punishment before mom could reach her. Another mother told me of how her child was constantly putting “everything” in his mouth. Worse than that, her son would hit the ground belly first to gently rub his lips back and forth against the rough gravel embedded black top.
Sometimes we just notice that these children are hyperactive; always spinning, jumping or wrestling. Other children with the same disorder are extremely subdued and avoid all physical challenges including writing, or they may cover their ears at the slightest loud or sudden noise. It’s a world of extremes ranging from wild to wilting.
Responses such as “He’s just a boy. She’s just difficult. Don’t worry he’ll grow out of it.” are of little consolation for frustrated parents in search of answers. We all worry when we see disturbingly odd behavior in our children. We live in a time when we want the doctor to name the condition, and recommend a treatment. Unfortunately doctors have widely varying levels of knowledge about this neurological condition which is often the culprit; Sensory Integration Disorder (DSI). The acronym is so ordered to avoid any confusion with SIDS. It is also referred to as Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Its occurrence is suspected to exceed 14% of children in the US according to Dr. Lucy Miller a well known researching Occupational Therapist.