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Sensory Processing Difficulties


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Hi

Have just googled - sensory processing disorder which might be useful to you if you have not already seen it.Unsworth

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We had a child who had sensory processing difficulties which required a range of interventions and support from practitioners. She had received the services of a portage worker who had helped her to overcome her fear of getting her hands messy, but we needed to be very careful about how we offered sensory activities such as shaving foam, finger painting etc. She struggled with loud noise so we needed to think about the acoustics of the space we used for music and singing activities, and help her manage when there was a sudden unexpected noise. She was also sensitive to light levels and found it difficult when we turned off the lights and closed the curtains to make it dark for any reason (such as lighting our divali candles).

 

She really disliked holding hands with either children or adults, and it was a long process to get her to tolerate children being close to her. We needed to observe her very closely, and have in depth discussions about her needs with her family so that we could identify where she needed support and how we could fully include her.

 

Although there will be general advice available for supporting children who have sensory processing difficulties, your child's individual needs may well be very different - what information have you been given by the child's family?

 

Maz

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The child does not start in our school until the Easter break ( 19th of April). Your picture of this girl seems very similar to what the head of Primary/FS has shared with me. The thing is that I am alone with 16 children, 9 of them boys. He comes from the UK and, for what I was told, there he did not have someone supporting him in his mainstreamed classroom. I won't be given transfer records until some weeks later so I can make my own personal assessment and this one not to be 'influenced' by previous info. But... this is our last term (April to end June) and I would not like to 'waste' time. Do all schools in the UK, public or private, required to have a SEN report for children with special needs like him?

 

I did observe, one day that he came to visit, that his parents held him up on their arms a lot. His mum said that 'he would get aggresive when he felt bored'. In that moment I did not know about his situation SPD and only thought that her expression could just been that of a parent's excuse to reject a child's innapropriate behaviour, like wanting to blame the teacher in advance. Today we had a Primary+FS Easter Show and he was there with his parents. The Head said the boy was hanging around the monkey bars of the gym and the parents did not seem to make much effort on keeping him under control. For example, a paper given to me (not sure if from his previous school or his parents) said that he is able to control himself during outside play if he notices that any adult is keeping an eye on him, but that he feels not observed, then he will misbehave. So I don't know until what point this condition is totally out of his hands or if part of it is behaviour conditioned by a possible overprotection of his parents.

 

Best regards,

SmileyPR

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Guest Spiral

Maybe consider the previous report, but don't worry too much as quite often behaviour changes so much when they are in different places.

 

One step at a time - also consider the methods you can implement in advance for the whole group - maybe use a picture of a thumbs up to praise the good behaviour of the whole class? Just a thought, I'm in preschool and it is very different I know.

 

All the best,

 

Spiral.

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We have several children with sensory processing disorder and the problem is that they are all different, and some vary from day to day. If he has any SEN reports especially occupational therapy reportsI would look at them straight away to help you understand his particular problems and help him settle in.

In the mean time I have attatched some things you could try to help him-

Coordination.sensory_integration_1_.doc

and this site has some useful leaflets their Fizzy's programme is written by Occupational therapists

www.eastcoastkentpct.nhs.uk

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I worked with a boy with Sensory Integration Disorder. he had support form an Occupational therapist, who would assess him termly, then leave a programme for me to follow (I was his Learning Support Assistant). I also had to do joint compression. We had big cushions for him to hug when he needed to, or his family would give him a big tight hug.

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Thanks a million, everyone xD !

 

I will probably pop around school 1 or 2 days within the next 2 weeks of Easter holiday and, if I get to see the Head, I will ask again if there is anything else I could have a look at.

 

I spoke to my group this past week and told them that N. will come on the 19th of April, that he is a good boy who has some difficulties understanding things happening around him, feeling things more than we would... like sounds being louder. So I reinforced the need of keeping our voice levels within a good range (they can get noisy) and not to touch him, unless he permits so. I reinforced the fact that, if there was a problem they could not dialogue/solve with him, to not take things into their hands (boys :() and come to one of the teachers during outside play (with all FS or Primary, 3 times a day).

 

I would have liked to speak with the family before he started, but I will have to do so at the end of his 1st day. It will be the moment for my children to prove themselves in showing that they have become 'big boys and girls' :o:( and I will surely give them loads of positive reinforcement! Let's go for it :( !

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Children with SPD can vary widely, between sensory avoidance, meaning that they may present as afraid and withdrawn, to sensory seeking, which means that they might seem to be lacking impulse control or even appear to be aggressive. I would recommend getting hold of whatever information you can in advance so that you can make the transition as easy as possible for the little boy, and for the rest of you. Can you contact the parents by phone before he starts, to ask them what would help his transition? Can you ask for contact details of any therapists he might see, so that you can get information from them?

 

One of the frustrations for parents of children with SPD is that the child can appear to be 'normal', but he doesn't behave like other children, often seeming anti-social, leading other adults to assume that the cause is simply poor parenting. It is in some ways an invisible condition, but sensory processing affects every aspect of life for the child and can cause extreme stress for him or her, and for the parents. If parents feel that they are supported, they can relax and their stress does not influence the child's progress. It would probably make a big difference if the parents know that right from the start you are working with them to help their child settle in. New situations are likely to be highly stressful for a child with SPD, and often for the whole family, so it's important to try to get things going smoothly from the start.

 

An excellent book that is really enlightening about sensory processing is 'The Out of Sync Child' by Carol Stock Kranowitz. It is an easy book to dip into and get an idea of how sensory integration dysfunction impacts a child's development, and also how to help these children.

 

Good luck! It is wonderful that you are seeking information ready to welcome this little boy to your class. :)

Edited by Guest
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Hi, I worked with an excellent OT in my last job in a District Specialist centre and she recommended a book which had some fantastic ideas that really worked for children with SPD, it is called Building Bridges through Sensory Integration, Second Edition (Spiral-bound)

~ Ellen Yack (Author), Shirley Sutton (Author), Paula Aquilla (Author) and available on Amazon.

Thanks Tracey

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Thanks Nicola and Tracey :( !

 

I only got one piece of paper which doesn't even say what school he came from in the UK (I work in Belgium) nor any OT information. In summary, he has high arousal levels in the visual, tactile and auditory areas... especially in new suroundings. This can result in: touching others inappropriately or audio defensivemness. He only calms down when you remove the stimulus... but that isn't possible all the time, is it? :o

 

Problem areas: playground, assemblies, line-up, carpet time, lunch time. The person who wrote this document (doesn't say who was it) gives one helpful tip for each area. He does like routine and structure.

 

The document says that he will not act out if he knows someone in authority is watching. Why is this? He won't have a one-to-one special adult alone for himself. :( Another school told his parents this would be a requirement if he went there, but our school said we would deal with the situation as it is. So the parents chose our school since they won't have to pay for that extra help (private international schools).

 

The person also says that he might find it challenging to participate in Music & Movement, PE and Art at the beginning, to let him observe and then slowly get him to participate the next time. So, I suppose the 1st week will be a lot of this, "acclimatising" to his new environment. I do have a M & M/Phy.D. acitivity for the 1st day, but what I will do is to ask him to help me put the music on and off, instead of asking him to run the the sort the recycable things... unless he also wants to also do that. xD He will have P.E. with the Gym teacher on Tuesday, so I will stay that day with him... maybe also the following week, but not for all the hour.

 

I will surely speak with the parents at the beginning and end of the 1st day. I won't be able to reach them before this. I do recall the mum saying that 'he will get agressive when bored'. :(

 

They brought 2 big loose pack of worksheets (Literacy and Numeracy), all mixed up, not in order. I noticed some of these papers are similar to some small/short CLL booklets I prepare for the year... so that will make it easier for him, to see that they are somehow similar activities (e.g. Jolly Phonics and ORT Songbirds). I am not a big fan of worksheets, but children do seem to enjoy having "workbooks" that they can slowly work with. I prefer not to use them that much during the 1st trimester. I rather prefer to use role-play worksheets where they can express their knowledge and learning of different areas, as well as taking photos of their creations, writing down my observations and their comments.

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  • 2 weeks later...

How is it going? Has the boy joined you yet?

 

One of the things I'd advise is to accept taking it very slowly at first. A lot of children with SPD take a long time observing before they feel comfortable participating. If you rush them, stress levels rise and they get more defensive and will 'act out'. Maybe that's what the previous teachers are talking about. Maybe he didn't 'act out' when an adult was watching because he felt secure when there was someone suprvising and supporting him. So, it might not be a case of bad behaviour when he thinks he can get away with it - it might be a question of the presence of a trusted adult making him feel safe.

 

SPD children can take a lot of time to progress, and it requires a lot of patience to wait for them. It really helps to be creative - notice what seems to frighten or overly arouse him, and find creative ways to involve him while making him feel safe. It sounds like you have a good plan for him to be your 'helper', and I would suggest doing this in all the areas that he finds difficult. Being sensitive yourself to the levels of stimulation in the room, and giving him ways to escape, will help. Maybe a soft cushion area where he can withdraw to read or play with lego would help. You could ask his mum what soothes him at home and helps him to refocus if he gets overstimulated, and use that information to come up with a plan for him.

 

Anyway, good luck, and let us know how it goes!

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Hi Nicola!

 

Thanks for keeping in touch. Our little friend arrives to school this Monday, 19th of April... unless he is stuck at an airport because of the volcano ashes that are keeping lots of people out of different north-western European countries. You know the situation too.

 

The thing is to make a good balance between his needs and what the rest of the 15 children also like and need. My girls (7) love to hear music and dance to it, yet audio stimulation is a difficult area for him. So I suppose I will have to ask the girls to come closer to the CD player and enjoy their Nursery Rhymes-Jolly Phonics song-topic songs in a 'quieter' way. During Literacy, the class did enjoy listening to the Jolly Phonics songs, which was very helpful for those with EAL. Now I am not sure if I can do so because of not causing him to feel overstimulated. Do I explain myself or do I confuse you?

 

As you say, I am going to take it slowly and patiently with him. I already spoke with the rest of the class and explained that he was a good boy, just that he has some difficulties understanding some things that happen around him and so his behaviour might seem inappropriate. I praised them for being such a good :o group and asked if I could count with their help. They said so, but it is my responsibility as an adult and not theirs xD. I am sure things will go okay and that it will be a special experience that will help us all grow up in many ways. :(

Edited by SmileyPR
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Just wanted to come and share my joy with all of you. Today was a very good day :o . Our little boy settled a lot better than expected; the parents couldn't believe it and just wouldn't stop thanking and thanking for such a great start.

 

J cried at the beginning, like any other child on his 1st day of school. We took things step by step and he slowly settled in. When Mum had to go, he really had a big cry, but I told her it was the best for her to leave. I took the risk and held him in my arms and... he rested there! (something that his parents said J doesn't even permit his grandparents to do). I held him for a short while and then put him down in an area where he could see how the other children were starting their morning routine. Then I slowly encouraged him to move closer to the classroom door. He required a tender, but firm touch on his back and he did so. From there we saw what was happening inside the classroom. Most had put their things away and were playing. I closed the door and told him he could join a child he already knew, but that he could choose just to observe and so he did. Once I checked their agendas, then I told him we would ring the chimes to tidy-up and start with the register/calendar/weather. I asked him to sit near me and he sat and paid attention, repeating softly most of the things I would say. He even raised his hand to participate. Then we sang 2 short songs and he did not show any distress. Afterwards we read a short story about recycling.

 

He did try to escape eating the apple his mum had put for morning snack, but he finally understood we don't throw food away (he tried to... ha-ha) and that I was sure he was not allowed to do so in his previous school. We compromised for him to eat at least have of it and that worked out, knowing that he will slowly increase the amount. He played nicely during the 3 outside playtimes (total 1 hr).

 

J enjoyed the ICT/PC recycling class activity and worked well with his team-mate (the boy who he knew and who I had appointed as his transition buddy) to write labels for the poster.

 

J had no problems with his lunch and ate it independently. He was looking forward to play at the computer and worked on taking turns fairly and controlling his excitement. There was no problem when he had to leave this to go and play in another area so 2 other children could use the PC. J used the soft blocks appropriately and creatively with his buddy. Once they finished their CIP, we worked with 3D shapes. He even wanted to pick the shapes out of the plastic bag!

 

After snack and outside play, he had a musical-physical activity sorting rubbish in different bins and he enjoyed it a lot. We even had extra time before Home-Time, so I asked him what he liked the most (apart from Ben 10) and he said running. So, we had a couple of races and boy does he run! Not only did he tie up with our fastest runner, but he also ran appropriately and with good coordination.

 

Sharing all this with his parents was a great joy for them. I said that the help he had received from his previous teacher was surely giving fruits now and that we could look forward to good times.

 

What I need to keep observing is when he 'plays' at the PC since I did notice that when he would get excited and deeply involved, he would start fidgeting with this arms and hands. When I was speaking with his parents after school, he was playing with his Nintendo and his eyes were constantly blinking. So, both things happened with electronic devices. If this would continue (can only monitor the PC), then I would recommend tell his GP in case an EEG is suggested by him, if it was not performed already.

 

I want to thank you again all for your suggestions and support during these past weeks. THANKS xD !

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