View Full Version : Sensory Issues and ADHD


Jaycee
09-17-05, 07:49 PM
Recently my son began Sensory Integration Therapy with an Occupational Therapist. I've known about this for a while because my sister specializes in sensory therapy, but was reluctant to commit to the time it would take at home. Right before school started, my 5 yr old son's behavior was getting out of control and my sister urged me to try it. (with another therapist, not herself) She lod me that mayn kids with ADHD have some sensory dysfunctions that go with it and cause behavior problems.

I have never been so glad to have taken her advice. My son is MUCH calmer and has very few outbursts. It has helped our whole family and only takes about five minutes a few times a day (less time than I spent with his tantrums)
I urge you to check out the research and Carol Kranowitz bookThe Out of Sync Child. The book is easy to use and has a lot of helpful things that will make your child feel more in control, and they are incorporated into play.

Here's a look at what sensory dysfunction Looks like:
http://www.sinetwork.org/aboutspd/response.html


Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a complex disorder of the brain that affects developing children and adults. People with SPD misinterpret everyday sensory information, such as touch, sound, and movement. They may feel bombarded by information, they may seek out intense sensory experiences, or they may have other symptoms.

What Does SPD Look Like?



There are several types of Sensory Processing Disorder; each one may result in a number of different behavioral and sensory patterns. Some of the most common behavior patterns are described below. All are described more fully in Defining SPD and its Subtypes. (http://www.sinetwork.org/aboutspd/defining.html)

Sensory-Avoiding Children



Some children with SPD are over-responsive to sensation. Their nervous systems feel sensation too easily or too intensely and they feel as if they are being constantly bombarded with information.

Consequently, these children often have a "fight or flight" response to sensation, a condition called "sensory defensiveness." They may try to avoid or minimize sensations, such as by avoiding being touched or being very particular about clothing.

These children may:

Respond to being touched with aggression or withdrawal
Fear movement and heights, or get sick from exposure to movement or heights
Be very cautious and unwilling to take risks or try new things
Feel uncomfortable in loud or busy environments, such as sports events, malls
Be very picky eaters and/or overly sensitive to food smells

These children may be diagnosed with Sensory Over-Responsivity (http://www.sinetwork.org/aboutspd/defining.html).

Sensory-Seeking Children



Some children are under-responsive to sensation. Their nervous systems do not always recognize the sensory information that is coming in to the brain.

As a result, they seem to have an almost insatiable desire for sensory stimulation. They may seek out constant stimulation or more intense or prolonged sensory experiences, such as by taking part in extreme activities or moving constantly.

Some behaviors seen in these children include:

Hyperactivity as they seek more sensation
Unawareness of touch or pain, or touching others too often or too hard (which may seem like aggressive behavior)
Taking part in unsafe activities, such as climbing too high
Enjoying sounds that are too loud, such as a very loud television or radio

These children may be diagnosed with Sensory Under-Responsivity (http://www.sinetwork.org/aboutspd/defining.html).

Motor Skills Problems



Other children with SPD have trouble processing sensory information properly, resulting in problems with planning and carrying out new actions. They have particular difficulty with forming a goal or idea or developing new motor skills. These children often are clumsy, awkward, and accident prone.

These children may have:

Very poor fine motor skills, such as handwriting
Very poor gross motor skills, such as kicking, catching, or throwing a ball
Difficulty imitating movements, such as when playing "Simon Says"
Trouble with balance, sequences of movements, and bilateral coordination
A preference for familiar activities or play, such as lining up toys
A preference for sedentary activities, such as watching TV, reading a book, or playing video games

These children may get frustrated easily and may seem manipulative and controlling. Some may try to compensate with an over-reliance on language and may prefer fantasy games to real life. They also may try to mask their motor planning problems by acting like a "class clown" or avoiding new group activities. These children may be diagnosed with Dyspraxia (sensory-based) Motor Planning Disorder (http://www.sinetwork.org/aboutspd/defining.html).

The forth link describes the Brushing therapy used on Caleb called Wilbarger Brushing. i hope something here sparks you to check into it for your own child. It's not for every child but most of us are looking for anything that we can add that is not harmful to our child and does not require new drugs for their young systems.

Research links
http://www.tsbvi.edu/Outreach/seehear/fall97/sensory.htm
http://www.sinetwork.org/aboutspd/response.html
http://brain.hastypastry.net/forums/printthread.php?t=4483
http://parents.berkeley.edu/recommend/medical/sid.html
http://www.thetherapyplace.net/newsletter/newsletter3.pdf#search='Wilbarger%20Brushing%20pro tocol'
http://www.nathhan.com/artsecret.htm

chitcat
09-27-05, 01:49 AM
Thanks for posting this ... my son who is borderline ADHD (still being officially diagnosed) was brought into the Sensory Therapist's room at school and LOVED it. He's 7 and she suggested it after learning of his attention/fidget problems. After that one visit, he came home and BEGGED me to let him go all the time. It was awesome.

But no one has taken the time to really explain it to me as well as what you posted. This has all just happened in the last couple of months, and I've been focusing more on the ADHD part of it. But I can say, with my son, the sensory issues I've noticed:

He's ultra sensitive to all senses.

He can smell something and identify it before most people even notice it's there. He recognizes and identifies things by their smell.

He likes "squishy" clothes ... meaning soft and smooth, not anything scratchy.

He has that "socks have to have the seam exactly straight on the toes or he cannot put on shoes" quirk.

Labels on clothes bug him.

He's a picky eater and is really sensitive to food textures.

He LOVES to touch and feel in an affectionate way.

He's fearless with physical activities, loves fast carnival rides, climbing high, etc.

And as a coincidence, he's double jointed and can do all sorts of contortionist freakshow moves with his arms and legs.

He doesn't have any of the motor skills issues (that's my daughter -- she has speech dyspraxia), but it seems like he has traits in both avoiding and seeking categories. He's just a unique little enigma, and I love him!!

Jaycee
09-28-05, 11:03 PM
I am glad that it helped. All 4 of my children have sensory probs..and they all look different in how they are manifested. The tactile defensiveness is the same for all of ours but my husband and I both have it. Mine is much worse than his.

Nova
09-28-05, 11:38 PM
There is a reason why they say that it is deterimental at times for someone with ADD/HD to have 'too much stimulus'...it's extremely distracting at times...

The only way I can describe it to someone who doesn't experience it is if you hate a certain type of music..and someone next to you has a boom box, that is playing it, full throttle..others might 'tune it out' but if you hate it..and are trying to focus..it will get you to the point of wanting to destroy that boom box..

It's difficult to 'tune out' sounds, movement, etc..as it is....try taking a test when you have that 'obnoxious music' boombox as loud as it can go sometime..and let me know how well you score...LOL !!

That's what it 'feels' like. The more I'm doing something, that I'm really trying so hard, to focus on..the more 'every little thing' sounds like it's on 'full volume'.
Including someone talking to me, as well meaning, as that is.
Nova

Jaycee
09-29-05, 12:05 AM
For children it's almost impossible for them to relay the fact that a soft touch can hurt like a hard one.
I'm also auditorily defensive...a student who's a pen tapper quicly learns a replacement behavior or that they can ONLY tap on their leg. The stimuli last a lot longer (about 5 times) for someone with sensory probs. Imagine feeling the tag in your shirt or the seam of your socks for hours. you can't tell a kid to forget about it because they can't block it. The info stays in the forefront of thier brains as they try to do other things and helps create our traffic jams.

karennerak
09-29-05, 01:32 AM
Sensory Issues are surely a Co-Existing condition for All ADDers, in varying degrees?

I say this, after reading many posts here at ADD Forums and i feel more relaxed about my Sensory Issues, realizing that it comes, kind of attached to AD/HD?

The times i've needed to use my 'Self-Learnt Coping stratergies', to avoid/deal with certain Noises...
An example... metal stilletto heals clattering over pavements/ceramic tiles!!!
I hear the *clatter* walking up behind me and all i want to do, is 'impulsively' 'Be Angry' at the person wearing the shoes!..

In my head, i want to attack the woman, but instead, i stop walking, let the clatter of shoes go by and out of hearing distance, then i continue to walk again ; It takes a lot of self control, that i've learnt, but sadly, my 3 ADDer sons, haven't yet mastered!

I was travelling on a bus a couple of weeks ago and i could hear the insane noise of a 'pull-back and go' friction toy car! ; It was driving me Bonkers!!!...

The journey seemed so very long!!!! listening to the toy car, being played with...
I looked nearer to the front of the bus, where the noise was coming from and i could see, it was a mentally impaired man, of approx' my age (41), sitting in a wheelchair, getting great delight from the toy car noise...

I tried to us my Coping stratergies and sent a text message to my boyfriend, to release the aggitation/friction the Noise was causing me!...

I mumbled to myself throughout the journey, willing the carer and the man in the wheelchair to get off the bus....

I kept telling myself, that the man can't help making the noise and i should just keep calm and try to distract myself ; By looking out the window.. which wasn't any use, until we stopped at a bus stop and i saw the man in the wheel chair and carer get off!!! phewwwwwwww....

That was the most intense 15 minute journey on a bus, i've had since someone was whistling some weeks previously!!!

Certain Smells can/do create intense aggitation/Friction, where others can cause me to be relaxed and calm.

Same with touch sensation...
I touch a lot of things.. i seem to be attracted to touching... erm.. even when i shouldn't (Ask the Boyfriend Wink wink).

I can't stand the feel of rough material, which brings to mind the clothes label that was driving me Bonkers yesterday!!!

I know, that Non-ADDers have likes and dislikes to do with Senses... But i believe, that ADDers senses are more intense!...

I try to see the positive, in my Sensitive Senses...
It's like being a Cat ; If you've ever seen the film 'CATWOMAN', you might appreciate, what i'm talking about? :D

Before i was prescribed Concerta XL, i used to eat more than i needed to, due to enjoying the *taste* of something ; I realize, that Non ADDers do the same, but, i would get hurting pains of a 'FULL STOMACH' and i would still eat the tasty food...

Now that i take Concerta XL i can stop eating the tasty food, when i know, i've had enough to eat... Like a 'Normal Person'? :D

Senses are controlled by our Brains, so i shouldn't be surprised that ADDers senses are different to NON-ADDers....

Any Comments?

speedo
09-29-05, 06:35 PM
I have read that 20% of ADDers have sensory issues of some kind.

Sensory problems are also commonly found as comorbid conditions in autism spectrum and in bipolar disorder. Needless to say, sensory problems do not have to be comorbid, but can be the primary disorder...

I never thought about wether I was sensory defensive or sensory seeking. I would have to say that I am definitely defensive. I spend a lot of energy avoiding bad sensory input and trying to cope with input that I can not avoid. I am hyperactive, but mostly because I carry a full sensory load at all times and am rather stressed when overloaded.

Me :D



Sensory Issues are surely a Co-Existing condition for All ADDers, in varying degrees?

I say this, after reading many posts here at ADD Forums and i feel more relaxed about my Sensory Issues, realizing that it comes, kind of attached to AD/HD?

The times i've needed to use my 'Self-Learnt Coping stratergies', to avoid/deal with certain Noises...
An example... metal stilletto heals clattering over pavements/ceramic tiles!!!
I hear the *clatter* walking up behind me and all i want to do, is 'impulsively' 'Be Angry' at the person wearing the shoes!..

In my head, i want to attack the woman, but instead, i stop walking, let the clatter of shoes go by and out of hearing distance, then i continue to walk again ; It takes a lot of self control, that i've learnt, but sadly, my 3 ADDer sons, haven't yet mastered!

I was travelling on a bus a couple of weeks ago and i could hear the insane noise of a 'pull-back and go' friction toy car! ; It was driving me Bonkers!!!...

The journey seemed so very long!!!! listening to the toy car, being played with...
I looked nearer to the front of the bus, where the noise was coming from and i could see, it was a mentally impaired man, of approx' my age (41), sitting in a wheelchair, getting great delight from the toy car noise...

I tried to us my Coping stratergies and sent a text message to my boyfriend, to release the aggitation/friction the Noise was causing me!...

I mumbled to myself throughout the journey, willing the carer and the man in the wheelchair to get off the bus....

I kept telling myself, that the man can't help making the noise and i should just keep calm and try to distract myself ; By looking out the window.. which wasn't any use, until we stopped at a bus stop and i saw the man in the wheel chair and carer get off!!! phewwwwwwww....

That was the most intense 15 minute journey on a bus, i've had since someone was whistling some weeks previously!!!

Certain Smells can/do create intense aggitation/Friction, where others can cause me to be relaxed and calm.

Same with touch sensation...
I touch a lot of things.. i seem to be attracted to touching... erm.. even when i shouldn't (Ask the Boyfriend Wink wink).

I can't stand the feel of rough material, which brings to mind the clothes label that was driving me Bonkers yesterday!!!

I know, that Non-ADDers have likes and dislikes to do with Senses... But i believe, that ADDers senses are more intense!...

I try to see the positive, in my Sensitive Senses...
It's like being a Cat ; If you've ever seen the film 'CATWOMAN', you might appreciate, what i'm talking about? :D

Before i was prescribed Concerta XL, i used to eat more than i needed to, due to enjoying the *taste* of something ; I realize, that Non ADDers do the same, but, i would get hurting pains of a 'FULL STOMACH' and i would still eat the tasty food...

Now that i take Concerta XL i can stop eating the tasty food, when i know, i've had enough to eat... Like a 'Normal Person'? :D

Senses are controlled by our Brains, so i shouldn't be surprised that ADDers senses are different to NON-ADDers....

Any Comments?

happycat
10-11-05, 08:59 PM
I definitley have sensory issues--but most I can handle--I just avoid eating foods with certain texture, wear cloaths made of cotton, etc. But the one thing I still can't deal with is the actual wieght of cloaths....If I had it my way, I'd just wear a tank top and pajama pants all day.... but alas, I like to look like a normal person with a range of cloathing tastes :-p Because I wear shirts with sleeves, collars, etc. I have this constant dull muscular? pain. Is there anything I can do to make wearing cloaths easier? It's the wieght that drives me nuts (as well as the seams)!!!! But looking like a slob is not an option for me, at least not right now ;)

speedo
10-13-05, 12:27 AM
Happycat;

Clothes sometimes give me the creeps too. There are times when a T-shirt feels like it is crawling all over me and I have to change into something with no annoying seams, etc.

If I persist in wearing a "creepy" shirt I end up really tense and my muscles do get tired and they will sometimes ache a little.


Me :D

I definitley have sensory issues--but most I can handle--I just avoid eating foods with certain texture, wear cloaths made of cotton, etc. But the one thing I still can't deal with is the actual wieght of cloaths....If I had it my way, I'd just wear a tank top and pajama pants all day.... but alas, I like to look like a normal person with a range of cloathing tastes :-p Because I wear shirts with sleeves, collars, etc. I have this constant dull muscular? pain. Is there anything I can do to make wearing cloaths easier? It's the wieght that drives me nuts (as well as the seams)!!!! But looking like a slob is not an option for me, at least not right now ;)

happycat
10-15-05, 12:26 AM
speedo--that's exactly my problem---it's just that I like wearing clothes that look somewhat good--but then by the end of the day, all my muscles are aching--maybe I should just submit to this and wear ugly bags :( At least I'll be comfortable :D

Jaycee
10-15-05, 01:22 AM
I think that others can never really understand the ache that comes from seems ect.. If i didn't have kids I'd run around the house almost naked at night.