17 answers

6 Mo. Old Baby Super Sensitive to Noises and Stimulation.

I am a first time Mom with a beautiful 6 1/2 month old son. The good news: He smiles very easily and smiles BIG, is very engaging and flirtatious. He makes good eye contact, laughs when I laughs, responds to his name, ect. The concern: he is very supersensitive to noises. Even the cat meowing too loudly will make him jump out of his skin. If the annoying noise continues, it will trigger a complete meltdown. For example, we met a friend for lunch and she had a mild but persistent cough. The sound of her cough scared him and annoyed him so badly that he just had a COMPLETE meltdown and we had to leave the diner. He also seems to get overstimulated very easily. When he wakes up from a nap he is a bowl of sunshine for about 45 minutes and then starts getting super fussy and melting down and I have to either rock him to sleep or take him to a dark room with a white noise machine. He can not soothe himself or comfort himself in the least. After his nap or time out then he's a sweet bowl of sunshine again for another 45 minutes and then the process continues. I feel like I'm walking on eggshells a lot of the time. If somebody approaches us in the grocery store, I hold my breath. He may like the sound of their voice and engage OR they might sneeze, talk too loudly or their kids might start running around his stroller and trigger a meltdown. It's a hard balance to expose him to new people and experiences while also making him feel secure and to not scare him. My ped says that it is still normal for his age but I'm starting to suspect some type of Sensory Processing/Integration Disorder. I know that with these types of disorders that early intervention is crucial but is it still too EARLY to be concerned? Has anybody else experienced this. If he does have a SPD/SID do you know of any resources in the area as most peds seem to be reluctant to diagnose these types of things until it's too late and I can find little info on the subject. Any info/ advice would be greatly appreaciated as I am first time Mom, in a new place with no support network and my husband is in Iraq. Thank you very much.

P.S he does NOT seem bothered by touch or the textures of his clothing ect as I've heard is common with other sensitive babies.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Wow, all of you ladies have certainly restored my faith in the kindness and compassion of strangers. I am new to this site and this is the first blog that I have posted. You all seem to have busy lives and yet you took the time out of your day to try and help a frazzled rookie Mom. Thank you very much. You have all given me some great advice. After reading all of your responses, I have begun to keep a detailed daily journal of his days and have also been videotaping his responses to the offensive sounds, which I am going to take with me to his 9 month check-up. He's not sitting up yet or has not even rolled over for that matter and refuses to do tummy time and is vehemently rejecting solids. If that does not improve by 9 months then I will have at least 2 areas of concern and will definately persue a more agressive plan of action to get the answers that I need. Until then I am going to monitor things closely, do some research, and continue to enjoy his beautiful smile and sweet spirit every chance I get. Best wishes to all of you ladies! Thanks again!

Featured Answers

Buy the book, "The Out of Sync Child." It's all about SP/ID and the entire spectrum of related disorders. If nothing else it should help you determine if you should persue that suspicion. I think it merits a little more looking into either way. A cat's meow shouldn't be setting him off like that. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

My little girl was the very same way when she was young. I totally understand where you are. I remember going to Walmart and things would be ok and then the lights would flicker and that was it.. totally meltdown and NOTHING worked except to remove her from the situation. My ped also didn't think there was an issue. I took it upon myself to call Babies Can't Wait and they came out and did an evaluation of her. She was to young to say to much but she did have some sensory things going on. She also was not bothered by touch or tags in her clothes or anything but to many people around her in her space... kids running around and playing... different lights going into certain places... things like that. We did get her therapy through Babies Can't Wait. Over time, she had what is called Autism spectrum.. which I didn't freak about because that just means she did have some traits of that. She was in therapy until she was 3, then she did get help going into early intervention through public school because they age out of Babies Can' Wait at age 3. This is not to scare you in any way, just to let you know what I experienced which could be totally different for you. However, let me tell you.. my little girl is now 8 yrs old, doing just fine has not had to have any help in years so I believe in early intervention!! They helped me as well as her how to deal with issues and gave us techniques to work her through her meltdowns, which is great because even now she will use some of those when she is feeling overwhelmed, it is awesome to see her handle things and be a normal child. I will tell you, it was very hard and mentally stressful. Not knowing what and when would set her off and then knowing once she got going we would have to leave or remove her from the situation. I hope this helps in some way. Like I said this may not be the case with your son, but I DO know what you are talking about and how difficult it can be at times. Just hang in there and if you have any questions or would like to discuss this further I would be happy to listen and try to give some of my techniques that might work. Take Care! M.

2 moms found this helpful

My little boy was the same way at that age and it was always related to being tired. He was a BIG sleeper. He would wake up fine and happy, but after about an hour he was ready to go back to sleep again and that's when things really triggered his meltdowns. It really made it hard to schedule outings and stuff because of his naps. We've always used a white noise machine, but made him cry it out early on so he learned to soothe himself to sleep. It's hard to do - especially if you're alone and don't have your husband there for support. However, it does take time to develop the pattern. Try introducing sounds that seem to annoy him when he's first awake and happy. My little girl still cries uncontrollably at the vacuum because it freaks her out (I guess I should clean more?) I think I would give it until he's about 12 months old and then look into resources.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi Becca,

I have a 5 year old daughter with SPD. Occupational therapists can diagnose SPD, but I'm not sure how early. We adopted my daughter from China when she was 13 mos old and had her evaluated at 2 1/2. I would try calling Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and try and set up an evaluation. You shouldn't have to wait long for an eval appt, but there will most likely be a wait for an available therapist for therapy if your son does have SPD. They are much in demand. There's a great book called The Out of Sync Child and a great online support group at this address: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SID-DSI_AllAboutKids/

These 2 resources will be able to give you more information. Good luck!

G.

1 mom found this helpful

Becca - One of my friends had the same issue -just as in your case, the ped said there was no big deal. That was, until she took her son into his office during an episode. She said that as soon as she saw him going into one of his spells, she grabbed him up and took him to his doctor; no appointment, no phone call. When she got there, screaming baby in-tow, the doctor's perspective changed and her son was referred for assessment. He was diagnosed with sensory disorders and has been mch better since entering treatment.

1 mom found this helpful

As a advocate for people with didsabilities request to see a developmental peditrician.My ds Nigel had multiple disabilities.We see Dr donna Evans at Backus.She is very knowledgeable about issues.Nigel's disorder Osteogenesis Imperfecta is rare.She knew what it was and called before my appt to ask which type of OI he had.I was impressed.I know a number of parents with children who are easily stimulated feel free to email me directly I could ask them for help and ideas.
____@____.com

1 mom found this helpful

Hello Grovetown mom,

My name is A. and I'm also new to Adel. I would love to chat with you sometime. I'm also in the medical field not quite sure of whats going on with your son, but I might can be of some help. I have four children of my own. I work daily in Douglas, I'm the administrator of a assisting living facility there. If you have any question as far as medical goes I will try to help you or you just need some one to talk with.
A.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi,
I have a 9 1/2 month old son and he was also very sensitive to noises at around that age. Sometimes he still jumps out of his skin when he hears a sudden noise. He use to lose it when I would turn the bath water on because it scared him so much. I just wanted to let you know that he is much better. He even loves putting his hands under the running water in the bath! My friend had a 3 year old who did the same thing. I think it just means that they have sensitive personalities. Try not to worry...I notice that every time I start worry about something he grow out of it and there is something new to worry about!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi Becca,

I think it might be pretty normal---when my daughter was about that age (she is now 11 months) she would jump at ANYTHING. My husband would be all the way across the house and would sneeze and she would wake up from her nap SCREAMING or be awake and just have a meltdown. Same thing with the door bell or any noise. Fortunately she grew out of it after a few months and now the noises don't bother her. But if it keeps up it may be something to look further into??

Best of luck! I don't know how you take care of your baby by yourself. I can't imagine taking care of this bundle of energy w/out my husband here. Let me know how things go!

S.

1 mom found this helpful

Has your child had an ear infection or has anyone done a hearing check recently? My child is super sensitive to loud sounds and has very thin ear drums. She has also had 10 ear surgeries.
C.

1 mom found this helpful

My nephew has Sensory Integration Disorder. He was diagnosed around 10 months and is getting treatment (a counselor comes to the house once a week) already. That's NJ and not here, though. I would probably talk to a pediatric psychologist if I were you. Moms "get" so much more than even doctors do sometimes because we are so in tune with our kids and notice everything. If you're thinking something needs to be addressed, it probably does. Follow your gut.

And good luck to you and your son!

1 mom found this helpful

Hey there Becca. A couple of questions...have you made his environment too quiet during naptime/waketime? Have you varied his location during naps (in pack 'n play in family room, in car, in stroller at mall, etc.)? Are you at home most of the time where you can control the amount of stimulus? If so, I would encourage you to do some of the following to get your sweet baby used to a variety of sounds:

- have him nap/play in the family room with the TV or music on.
- run the vacuum cleaner in his room while he is napping.
- make some of the noises that seem to disturb him the most on a regular basis (sneezing, coughing, etc.) so that he becomes more used to them.
- take him to the mall, grocery store, etc. where he will be exposed to a lot of different sounds/volumes so he can learn to deal with them.

As long as there is nothing physically wrong with his ears (have his ears been looked at by a dr.?), then it's just a matter of acclimating him to the richness of the sounds of this world.

I have 5 children and 2 of them were quite sensitive to sound as infants. I found that working with them, letting them know they were safe when they heard a noise that scared them and letting them deal with it on their own a little worked wonders. If you silence their world so they don't "melt", they will never learn how to handle it, which could lead to even more significant issues in the future.

I wish you the best! Warmly - J.

1 mom found this helpful

Don't let your pediatrician blow you off if you're concerned. You know your baby better than he/she. Our ped "didn't believe in sensory integration disorder" but our son definitly had some issues than benefited from both speech and occupational therapy. A developmental pediatrician might be a place to start. They are hard to get an appt with, you might have to wait several months. Or check with Children's Healthcare and see if they can/will evaluate a child her age at one of their therapy centers. If they will, make your ped give you a referral, with us all they needed was basically a "prescription" on her pad for an evaluation. If there is an issue early intervention is key, as other posters have mentioned. The book "The Out of Sync Child" was a reference tool our OT used. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Is he a premie? I have a daughter who experienced similar sensitivity (especially when she was really young). She was born early, and her nervous system was not fully developed. The symptoms have gotten much better over time, but she still seems really sensitive to light, sound, and textures (mostly to bright light and sudden sounds). There are doctors who specialize in sensory integration tecniques. It might be that a specialist could give you a better idea of what's going on than could a regular pediatrician (who might not have as much experience with sensory disorders - not that this is necessarily a sensory disorder ... he might just not like strange noises?) Anyway, getting appointments with these specialists can sometimes be hard because there are often long waiting lists...but it's worth a try.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi Becca,

I'm an Occupational Therapist and have experience with sensory integration. It is not too early to get involved with an OT. I don't practice currently as I stay home and have a home business but have a friend from graduate school who has a practice up in Alpharetta. He may be able to help. Are you breastfeeding? Are you sure he isn't having reflux or issues with feeding?
I would try and stick to a routine with him so he doesn't get anxious, since it sounds like he needs quiet to calm. That will make him feel secure. If he gets anxious in new situations, like going out to eat, maybe avoid those at certain times of day, especially before his nap times. And then you want to try and desensitize him with being around different sounds, but you need to make him feel safe when doing so. These are the kind of things an OT can help you with.
Thanks,
K.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi Becca,
Our son had a large number of "quirks" as an infant, and I mentioned them several times to my pediatrician who just waved all my concerns away as if I were an imbecile. He was actually quite haughty. It wasn't until he left the practice and another pediatrician took over my son's care that I got results. He had lots of issues, but the most disturbing was that he would not eat anything but pudding or yogurt and rarely some bologna or hotdogs (he was 2). When I weaned him from the breast (which was uncommonly difficult, and I've weaned 4 other of my children from the breast), he dropped from the 95th percentile to the 5th percentile in 3 or 4 months time. When I pointed this out to the new pediatrician, she looked quite alarmed and began to first rule out any physical problems. When these were all ruled out, she sent us to a feeding therapist. The feeding therapist worked with him for 2 sessions before she was certain that he was autistic. She sent him to an occupational therapist who did further testing and decided that he actually had SPD. You are right. Early intervention is crucial. Your son may just be sensitive to sound for a number of other reasons, but it would serve you well to get more opinions. My son spent 4 years seeing an occupational therapist and a speech therapist every week. He is now 8, and graduated from the program at age 6. This does not mean that he is "cured," but that he has learned skills for coping with his "issues." People who meet him today would never know that he used to scream for hours or repeatedly bang his head on the floor when his sleeves didn't fit right. You can feel free to contact me if you'd like.

1 mom found this helpful

Buy the book, "The Out of Sync Child." It's all about SP/ID and the entire spectrum of related disorders. If nothing else it should help you determine if you should persue that suspicion. I think it merits a little more looking into either way. A cat's meow shouldn't be setting him off like that. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I am a PT and work with kids with sensory issues. There's really no down side to getting an evaluation and seeing if therapy is recommended. You don't want to go the Babies Can't Wait route if this is his only issues as you have to have 2 or more areas of concern to qualify and they are SO slow to get services going. You probably want a good occupational therapy evaluation, your ped needs to write a script that says "OT eval and treat". What part of town are you in? I can help steer you towards good local therapists. You are right, the earlier the intervention, the more successful therapy can be!!!

1 mom found this helpful

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