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Q&A:
Where can I find resources for a 20-month-old with sensory dysfunction?

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Question


My 20-month-old daughter was diagnosed with sensory dysfunction. Can you give me the latest news on therapy and perhaps a hotline for parents or support groups? I am a single mom with two children -- sure could use some help.

Answer


This isn't really a diagnosis but a term to describe children who seem to be both overly and under-responsive to sensory input such as touch, sound, and activity. I see this more as a temperamental issue but one that you need to really understand in order to manage and help your daughter. Therapists do know a lot of activities that seem to help some but not all kids with this kind of responsiveness. I hope you are getting therapy services and that you are learning what activities help your daughter gain better control of her responses, the ultimate goal for such treatment. Give any therapy program three months to show any progress. Gains will be slow but the course of things should be one of improvement. Scientific proof of these treatment modalities is lacking, but I've seen some gifted therapists work miracles with some very challenging kids. Although written with mainly older children in mind, Stan Turecki's book The Difficult Child provides insight and some practical tips on how to manage overly sensitive children. Raising Your Spirited Child, by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, has also been helpful to families. I'm not aware of any resources but I'm sure your therapist will have them. Remember, you have a child, not a diagnosis, and you are running a family, not a treatment center. Any program that becomes the centerpiece of your life isn't right for any family member including your daughter.  
 
 
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