June 8, 2008

Sensory Integration Disorder

What is it?

Definition: Sensory integration disorder or dysfunction (SID) is a neurological disorder that results from the brain's inability to integrate certain information received from the body's five basic sensory systems. These sensory systems are responsible for detecting sights, sounds, smell, tastes, temperatures, pain, and the position and movements of the body. The brain then forms a combined picture of this information in order for the body to make sense of its surroundings and react to them appropriately. The ongoing relationship between behavior and brain functioning is called sensory integration (SI), a theory that was first pioneered by A. Jean Ayres, Ph.D., OTR in the 1960s. (found HERE)

Our Story:

When Xander started walking we began to glimpse the problems that were beginning to bud. He hated grass. The feel of grass beneath his bare feet left him in full meltdown mode. We didn't think too much about the fact that his grass aversion might be out of place, we just saw him as having a quirky disposition to the outside that required shoes.

Besides, we were still trying to figure out some of the 'other' quirks that were more ominous than his grass issues. Such as, bath time. Having two children prior to Xander I had learned to love this ritual of bath time. It was something I looked forward to as they splashed and squealed and loved the water. I could not seem to ever end the bath without draining the water so that the urge would subside. They were the same in the sprinkler and in the pool. My water babies could not get enough. They relished in the idea that it was always available, even if the splashing was only taking place in their cups at the table.

Then came Xander. Bathing Xander became our ritual torture. He could not stand the feeling of water in the bathtub. I frequently checked the temperature as I was certain I must be burning this child who was screaming in terror. Bath time became fast... record speeds to get him washed and out of the tub. We tried toys. We tried careful hair washing so as not to get a drop on his face. We tried bubbles....none of it worked. For his first three years and some of his fourth bath time was met with anxiety in him that I had never witnessed in any other child. It was comparable to bathing a cat and sometimes I wondered if that experience would be more pleasant in comparison.

Guess who didn't join in on the sprinkler fun? Who did not have fun in the pool until he was 5?

I took a page from Maddy's book and checked my keyword searches on my stat counter. I was shocked at how many are searching for this very topic. It is definitely a worthwhile topic to address!

1 comment:

Maddy said...

Having vast experience of bathing cats I can tell you that they're infinitely preferable to bathing children with sensory issues.

I once teased a pal of mine saying that I would just let the dirt build up layer by layer by layer, until it was thick enough and dry enough to then simply crack it off with a chisel!

She was no amused.