A year ago, my daughter began refusing to wear pants and would only wear dresses. I assumed it was just a preference and since it was spring-time I decided to let it go. I was sure that once the cold weather hit she would willingly wear pants again. Throughout the summer, though, I realized some other odd behaviors. My daughter was now refusing to wear socks, tight fitting shorts and jackets (if weather warrented). When I insisted on her wearing these items, she complained about the clothes itching and hurting her skin. She would pull of the clothes I had put on her and either just stay in her underwear or put on a dress. It was a daily battle!
We survived the winter in maxi dresses and staying mostly indoors, but as we began getting ready for kindergarten coming up this autumn (ahhhh!), I realized we needed to do something. I spoke to my daughter’s pediatritian (tips to finding the right pediatritian here) and she suggested seeing an Occupational Therapist for Sensory Disorder. This has been huge and I will share our experience with the O.T. next week, but for now, I wanted to share a few signs that your child may have a sensory disorder (known as Sensory Processing Disorder):
- Sensetive to clothes – This is what my daugher, Elle, experiences. Clothes “hurt”, “itch” and are “too tight”. Some kids are sensitive to different fabrics or textures.
- Seeks out intense experiences – These kids love to jump off high things, run into people, and seek thrilling adventures to the point of danger. Kids will be kids, but some kids seek out these intense activites more often because of sensory disorders.
- Unusually poor balance or motor coordination – If your child is extremely uncoordinated, off balance, or severly missing milestones for motor skills, they may have a sensory issues.
- Extrememly distractable – Although this can be associated with other health concerns such as ADHD, it can also be a sign that a child’s senses are overwhelmed.
- Sensetive to bright lights or loud sounds – Some children are overly sensetive to bright lights and loud sounds because their senses have a hard time processing it.
If your child shows any of these signs, I would speak to your pediatritian. Stay tuned for how Occupational Therapy is going for us and what we have learned from our challenges with this!