8 answers

Sensory Defensiveness & Looking for Occupational Therapist

For a little over the last year, my four year old daughter has been extremely sensitive to light. It is mainly sunlight, but depending on the type of indoor light- she can be sensitive to that too. She has been wearing prescriptive eye glasses for the last two years for strabismus and we had the glasses with transitions lenses which somewhat helped. We just got her new eye glasses with both transition lenses and and an anti-reflective coating, and she has gotten a little better. But basically, she never goes out in the sun without wearing a huge brimmed sun hat. Sometimes, indoors we have to have the lights down low and on occasion have even eaten in the near dark. Every morning, we cannot have the lights on at all. We've been to the pediatric opthamologist 2X in the last year and they can't figure out why she is so photo sensitive (they can even see in their office that as soon as they put a light to her eyes, they automatically start tearing up and she was very upset!) She goes back later this week for another check. And then her eating... we are at a point where she is so darn picky. She used to eat pretty decent, but now will only eat a handful of things due to how things look, the texture, etc. We've been attributing the picky eating to being a kid. But in doing research on her photo sensitivity, I ran across a condition called sensory defensiveness where she seems to be falling. So, I would like to see if this is what truly is the problem so we can work with her to help her with her light sensitivity and limited eating. The readings point to working with a occupational therapist. Does anyone know of any good ones in the area? We live in Highland Park. Thanks for reading this long post.... just desperate to help my daughter out (and help our family lives run a little bit smoother on a daily basis.) Thank you in advance for any suggestions.

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Great OT therapist taht deal with the light issues etc is Therapedatrics in Vernon Hills and I also just got a reccomendation for my son to Pedatric place in libertyville. Definitely get her in some therapy and you will see a difference!
good luck
J.

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Hi,

You've already gotten some good recommendations here, but thought I'd add a good resource for sensory processing disorder is www.sensory-processing-disorder.com. There are also Yahoo groups that are good resources. I belong to the SID-DIS_AllAboutKids group. SID stands for sensory integration dysfunction, which is what SPD used to be called. Anyway, good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Great OT therapist taht deal with the light issues etc is Therapedatrics in Vernon Hills and I also just got a reccomendation for my son to Pedatric place in libertyville. Definitely get her in some therapy and you will see a difference!
good luck
J.

1 mom found this helpful

HI M., I have a 4 year old son who is a sensory seeker in some cases and sensory avoider in other cases. He has strabismus and amblyopia, but not any real light senstivity. He was very picky eating until we worked on his oral motor skills. We have been in OT and Speech since 2.5. We started with early intervention at 2.5 and have kept up with private therapy since age 3. I am not sure if Highalnd Park hospital or Evanston hospital have OT for children, but it may be worth checking out. We go to a private clinic in Arlington Heights called Arlington Pediatric Therapy. There is one a little closer in Glenview and HP called North Shore Pediatric Therapy. I believe it's a similar clinic. Check them out because their website looks great! OT and feeding therapy, etc. http://www.nspt4kids.com. M., also keep in mind that school districts only provide school services that hlep your child in school. Your daughter sounds like she is having difficulties outside the school setting as well. That is where a private clinic and private therapists really come into play. They don't treat the child for school only related issues. Highland Park does have a good school system as do we but the school districts hands are tied and only provide the limited services if the child's issues are affecting their ability to learn. Oh, also, not sure which pediatric opthomalogist you went to but my son goes to Dr. Margolis in Arlington Heights. He's a very well known ped. opth. and does a great job with sensory/ADD kids and keeping them on a watch to figure out how things will progress as they develop in school, etc. Good luck! Judy

Hi M.,

My daughter who is 3, has some sensory issues also. Your best bet is to contact your school district. I have gone through private agencies and I am much happier with the school system. I am sure Highland Park has a good school system. It is what your taxes pay for. Good luck.

I am an OT student at UIC right now. I was also going to suggest the Lighthouse, as Sharon did.
Your school system may also have some suggestions, even though she is 4 and not yet in the system. Head Start programs as well as your local hospital.
I am glad that you are looking for an OT. A good one will definitely help evaluate your daughter, but after the initial evaluation any will need a doctor's script to continue. So an OT is a great first step, then future steps together.
Whatever you do, get more than one opinion. It could even be a nutritional situation, such as a zinc deficiency, contributing to her sensitivity.

Good luck--
If you get stuck, email me and I can email one of my professors who are all active in the community for possible references. I'm going to bet Sharon's suggestions work for you, but just in case, I'm at--
____@____.com

Contact the Illinois Institute of Technology School of Opthomology(sp?)...about 3500 south in Chicago. They are cutting edge. If nothing else, they should be able to refer you to someone that can help. Also contact the Jewish Child and Family Services. A great resource.

I am a stay at home mom with four children ages 8, 6, 4 and 2. Usually, I am so busy that I don't have a chance to read through these emails. For some reason, your entry caught my eye and I have a recommendation for you. We were recently referred to a Neuro Opthamologist in Northfield by the name of Dr. Deborah Zelinsky. I would encourage you to take a look at her website (http://www.mindeyeconnection.com/). I know that you are already seeing a pedicatric opthamologist but I think Dr. Zelinsky could possibly provide more insight as to why your daughter is so light sensitive. We also see a very reputable pediatric opthamologist but Dr. Zelinsky altered my son's prescription and he is doing much better!

I hope this is helpful and good luck!

L. H.

Dear M.:
I have a few ideas for you. I'd wonder, as you seem to have figured out, that both conditions of your daughter are related. I have worked in the field of blindness and visual impairment for more than 30 years, and people have all kinds of issues. I now am an instructor at the Hadley School for the Blind which is in Winnetka,not far from you. We are a distance education program so don't have classrooms of teachers and people (like so many people seem to think!) but do have courses for parents with children who have problems with vision. Certainly your daughter has functional vision problems if not those of actual acuity. You might want to check out our web site
hadley.edu
and look into our family education courses. We also have forums which can be found through the web site, and if memory serves, one of them is related to families. Our instructors are available by phohne and email. Sue Melrose in particular works with families as does Debbie Worman. All of us are coming off of a 2.5 day faculty seminar. I'll be back at work tomorrow but not sure of our other instructors' schedules as we live all over the country. I am in Chicago. You could contact them at
____@____.com
or
____@____.com
or myself at
____@____.com
or our toll free number for any of us 800-323-4238.
Finally, there is an ophthalmologist who has recently become the executive director of the Chicago Lighthouse. Prior to this, she did research at the University of Illinois at Chicago. You might try emailing her at
____@____.com
And in all cases, please feel free to mention I suggested you contact them.
I myself am totally blind, but please don't let my references to these programs frighten you. These people and resources have a lot of information which I personally do not. I have been blind all my life and have taught at Hadley for over 6 years after working with adults with vision loss for 25 years before that. Best of luck to you and if I may help in any way, please feel free to email me at
____@____.com
S. Howerton

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