Have you ever noticed that once your child has a diagnosis you see everything through the lens of that special need? Ava has started to show some behaviors that make me wonder if she has some sensory issues, but there are other perfectly reasonable explanations for each behavior individually…
For example, she’s a really, really picky eater. She likes breads and pastas although she’s even picky there. If there’s a little piece of crisped cheese on the pizza crust it must be picked off. If the pasta is penne instead of rotini it is rejected and so on. She’ll eat most fruits, but the only vegetables she’ll eat are raw carrots, celery, or cucumber with dip. She’ll eat chicken nuggets, but no other meats. She won’t even touch a hot dog. She loves cheese, yogurt and milk. We serve what we serve at dinner. I just try to make sure there’s one thing on her plate she’ll eat even if it is applesauce. Last night, for example, we had pot roast. The rest of us ate the roast and veggies with gravy. She ignored everything on her plate except the applesauce. Anyway, before the speech delay I just figured she was a picky eater and that she came by it honestly (I’m picky. Her grandmother is picky.) Now I’m beginning to wonder because there are other things too.
She’s recently become very upset by wearing anything with a tag. It never seemed to bother her before. Perhaps though, we know now because she finally has a way to tell us. And any of her pajama bottoms or pants that have a tag are now instantly rejected. This morning I had to put her in a different shirt because of the tag in the first one I tried. So I begin to ask myself, “Is this sensory?” There are perfectly reasonable other explanations. She has sensitive skin and I can see with my own eyes that the tags on her pants are irritating the small of her back. The skin is scratched up in that area. So the explanation could simply be that the tags do actually bother her skin.
She also absolutely refuses to let me put anything in her hair. Her hair is finally (near her second birthday) growing out enough that it’s getting in her eyes a little. I’d like to put in a barrette or something, but she acts like it is hurting her and will continue to be bothered by it for hours. I know this because once I managed to distract her enough to leave on an outing with it in her hair and in every quiet moment her attention immediately returned to it. Now she has a complete meltdown if I even mention putting in a barrette. Again, this could just be a normal kid behavior. I don’t know. This is my first little girl.
But now I have three things: the food, the tags, and the hair stuff. If I put all of those things together does it paint a different picture than each one individually? I don’t know. Perhaps I’m just paranoid at this point. I haven’t really researched sensory issues yet. Even if she does have some sensory issues, what would the significance of that be? What would I do differently? Does anyone out there have any experience with or knowledge of sensory issues? Do you think I’m reading too much into completely unrelated, relatively typical kid behaviors? Opinions welcome.