11 May 2008

Sensory Integration/Processing Disorder

Sensory Integration Disorder (or Sensory Processing Disorder) is a fancy way to label kids who have MUCH more than the "usual" difficulty with sights, sounds and the way things feel. Emperor is actually the OPPOSITE of the little boy in the video. He needs much more sensory input to make sense of the world around him. Instead of shaking your hand, he might bump into you and get into your face and act silly. It's not an excuse, and we're working on it, but it is a reason he acts much differently. Unlike in the video, he enjoys lots of touch to the point where other people feel attacked. Some people liken SPD to autism, or think of it as a "red flag."

When he was a toddler, his ABA therapist taught me things that help him feel better like jumping on a mini-trampoline, being thrown onto a couch, or wrapped in a blanket and pummelled in play. These things give his "vestibular system," (the body system that tells you that you are sitting up and, say, holding your pencil too hard) the input he needs. This leads to working with my children like cannibals and missionaries: Emperor needs a LOT of input and my autistic kids just hate when people get too close or are too loud, etc. We have a lot of fights about Emperor being annoying. Emperor doesn't get into the appropriate amount of trouble because THEY would never do that... but Emperor would argue that G doesn't get into enough trouble for his yelling. Sigh. Every now and then, we all get along, though.


  1. Emperor and Monkette are alike. She also is sensory seeking in the way of touch. However noise is a sensory avoiding area for her. Too much noise makes her go into a shell, lose eye contact, and bang her head against a wall.

    I know what you mean about getting along sometimes. Monkey can not understand at all why Monkette can throw herself on the couch at top speed and not get in trouble.

  2. Pamela has not had a meltdown due to sensory overload in ages! Recently, when something goes wrong, such as Mom making a wrong turn, Pamela started repeating, "Overload!"

    I wondered if she had remembered that word from my conversations about sensory overload. I asked her where she learned it, and she told me GameBoy. Then, I asked her what happens in the game during overload. She told me that it's too fast! I got chills because she found a way, her own way, to explain how she feels when something unexpected happens. Life moves too fast! WOW!

  3. Wow, that's great! I don't think we get to "overload" status with Emperor, ever. He never gets enough input to get to that point!

    Elf, though, will run away or get very angry in crowds if he is not handled just so.

  4. Tink goes over stims and under stims. Its amazing! She can be the noisiest child around sometimes and drives us all to distraction. I cant wait until she gets tow ehre Tammys daughter is today.

  5. My son is similar to Emperor in alot of ways, except in that he does reach overload and overstimulation from noise or social situations. Our biggest challenge is trying to educate ourselves and our fmaily that he's not just simply misbehaved - he's trying to make sense of his world. We need to help him find his way.

  6. I am a faily new homeschooler. I suspect my daughter has SI issues. We are in the process of evaluating her. Do you have any recommendations for a homeschoool curriculum that is hands on and interactive for kindergarten?


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