Thursday, May 25, 2006

What is SI?

"Sensory Integration Dysfunction is a common, but misunderstood, problem which affects children's behavior, influencing the way they learn, move, relate to others, and feel about themsleves. It is the inability to process information received through the senses. Dysfunction happens in the central nervous system. When a 'glitch' occurs, the brain cannot analyze, organize and connect - or integrate- sensory messages. Subtle areas of their nervous system are not functioning as they should. This results in behaviors that confuse, frustrate, and anger parents and teachers. These children: may lack self-help skills; become aggressive or withdrawn in a group; refuse to participate; have problems in learning language. They might have problems controlling muscles effectively." Taken from The Out-of-Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz, MA.
When Caden was a baby I started feeling like something was not right. I couldn't put my finger on it and of course everyone told me that he was fine just intense, teething, irritable, 'normal', etc. When we started solids he ate fine the first day then refused for weeks. He wouldn't consistently eat solid food until almost a year. He hated being put down and wanted only to be held. Before he was two the tantrums started. I really thought there was something wrong with my parenting by this point. I tried EVERYTHING. Time out made him become hysterical, spanking made him violently angry, isolation freaked him out unbelieveably. Not only was I powerless to stop the tantrums- too many to count in a day, but I could never predict what would start one! I might cut and butter his first muffin but when I do the same to the second he'd drop to the floor and scream hysterically and unconsollably. When I'd eventually calm him down I'd find out he didn't want the second one cut! Caden has never 'helped' dress himself always being a limp noodle and never remembering from one day to the next what to do. He cries to be carried, have doors opened for him, the bath started and coats put on him. He wants him pant legs just perfect, socks just right and no tags in his clothes. He could sit in the tub or sandbox for hours. While all of these things apart sound relatively innocent when put together they have made parenting Caden to be a constant challenge. I've shed a lot of tears of frustration. After working in childcare for almost 10 years I knew something was not right but I just couldn't explain it. Well, we finally had him professionally evaluated for SI in April and last week the results arrived. They are recommending Occupational Therapy 1-2 times per week to address sensory processing and integration issues including behavioral/emotiona regulation, motor planning, and activities of daily life. What does this mean? Caden is finally going to get the help he needs and I am not crazy! I firmly believe that a mother's intuition should be trusted and this is a perfect example! To those of you who have supported me through this and believed in me (and my suspicions) - THANK YOU! Often just a simple comment that something didn't seem normal was all the support I needed to continue pursuing a diagnosis. Thank you for letting us visit despite his tantrums and for calling me even when you knew you'd have to listen to him screaming in the background! Things won't change overnight, and some things probably won't ever change. But we are on the right track now and in time Caden should be better able to regulate himself and be far less frustrated with life!


Nurse Scott said...

Hey Coco,

Thanks for putting this on your blog - over the years I have put a LOT into the parent's intuition, especially mom. You aren't crazy! Hopefully you will have some things that will help and smooth out the behavior. At least you know what therapy will help!

I'm headed out to an exercise in Georgia for two weeks - lucky me! I'll be in touch when I get back.


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