3 Year Old Speech Therapy ~ Sensory Disorder

Updated on October 27, 2010
B. asks from Randolph, NJ
11 answers

My daughter is 3 years old (June 2006) and she just started going to preschool two days a week and is getting better each day, she just has a tough time communicating to the teachers. I know she wasn't communicating as much as other 3 year olds, but the words she says are very clear and she knows her alphabet, numbers to 20 and is potty trained. I brought her to a speech therapist for an evaluation and she is going one day a week there (just started) and now they said maybe she needs occupational therapy for a sensory disorder?? Does anyone know anything about this? I read a book called out-of-sync child (speech therapist suggested), but it seems that I can fit every child and even some adults in the category's that they have. I am so confused with all of this and was wondering if anyone else has this problem.

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So What Happened?

Hello all -
Thank you for all of your great ideas and your own stories of your kids, it is really making things easier & clearer for us. We got a great report from her school today, that she is doing great and speech went well also. I am still waiting on getting her an OT just to see how speech goes without it for now. My daughter is talking and learning more each day, so hopefully it will continue.

Thanks again for all of your notes ~ they have really helped (keep them coming)!!
I actually do not have a headache today :)

Featured Answers



answers from New York on

The Center for Pediatric Therapy is a great place to get an evaluation for O/T.

My son, Dean has been going there for about a year for Occupational Therapy regarding his sensory issues and they are top notch.

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answers from New York on

Well, I don't have the same problem - but I am a speech therapist and have worked with many children with sensory integration (SI) issues. First let me say don't freak out. It sounds like you have a very smart little girl on your hands. Speech therapy at age 3 for one day a week is being proactive so that she'll be where she needs to be when school starts (kinder/first grade). The idea of it really is to teach you how to elicit language from her or to help her develop age-appropriate language. You should therefore be observing the speech therapy if possible so you can carry it over at home. At the very least the therapist should be communicating with you and giving you pointers of what you can do at home.

That being said - as far as SI goes - Basically, the idea is that we take in information with all of our senses...touch, hearing, smell, etc. at all times. When children have difficulty making sense of that sensory information it may affect their learning of new skills. These skills could be language, motor, anything really. So, say your daughter is taking a bath and you are talking throughout, telling her the names of body parts, playing with bath toys, etc. She should eventually learn the names, be able to "show me your belly button" or "what's this?" and be able to tell you "ear." But, if she's got sensory integration issues she may not be able to concentrate or learn because she's trying to deal with the way the bubbles feel, or the way the soap smells...and isn't able to devote her full attention to learning the language concepts. Ok - that's just a very basic example - it does not mean that she has trouble in the tub, or even that she has SI issues at all! Just trying to help you understand it better.

SI is the big "buzz" word in the field right now. You're right, we actually all have some type of sensory integration issues. I couldn't hurt to have her evaluated by an occupational therapist - they are really the experts on SI. If it turns out that she does have some SI difficulties, the same is true for that therapy - observing the sessions or getting information from the therapist. Also, the OT should be communication with the speech therapist to give her tips on how to deal with SI issues. In an ideal world they should co-treat your daughter once in a while. But that's getting ahead of ourselves!

First step is to have an OT evaluation if your really concerned.

By no means am I an "expert" about SI - this is just one therapist's (and mom's) opinion! Hope I didn't overwhelm you.

Hope it helps. I'd be happy to answer more specific questions if you have them!

Good luck and don't stress over this!



answers from San Francisco on

My daughter is also 3.5 yrs old and still doesn't really communicate as much. She does alot of babbling and baby talk. Can anyone recommend a speech therapist in the san jose area?



answers from Bangor on

Hi B.,
I am a mom of a 6 yr old boy who was diagnosed at 4 with Sensory Integration and ADHD. I wil tell you from my experience and from conversations with other parents with sensory kids, every one of them is different! My sons sensory mostly effects him where lights and sounds are concerned and food/mouth textures. We went through occupational therapy, and I think its more for children with more severe issues of sensory. And possibly even parents who aren't sure how to help their child with it. Reading helps, educate yourself.
If you have other questions please feel free to ask.



answers from New York on

My son is 3 and has the same "diagnosis". He had speech therapy for 6 months (2x week) and he speaks much clearer now. I have a friend who is an OT and she gave me some ointers and excercises. If you have an eval done, ask them for some of the same. We do a (controvercial?) brushing regimine and it has helped him. He still has "issues" that we deal with every day! He is not potty trained yet, and I have an almost 4 year old girl who was trained at 2 1/2. ANd he gets very nervous very often. If he loses sight of me, he freaks... I just keep giving him lots of sensory input without overwhelming him. Some examples would be a sand box, glue on his hands (when playing), integrating louder noises or music, fingerpainting, a LARGE tub of rice with objects to find within. ANyway, email me if you need more!



answers from Chattanooga on

my 8 yr old has sensory problems his are lessened pain sensativity in his skin so he usually don't realize unless it goes much deeper than skin so i do body checks every cpl days so i can answer if the school calls home & know to make sure hes not doing dangerous thing IE jumping chair 2 chair & climbing walls



answers from Providence on

I've got quite alot of experience working with children with sensory integration problems (as a physical therapist). You're right, most children have some sensory integration issues. Actually we all do to an extent. My son has quite a few sensory issues. The problem arises when the sensory issues get in the way of everyday functioning. Letting your child recieve futher services will only help her, there really is no harm to recieving OT. Chances are she'll love it because they keep it fun & she'll recieve the sensory input she needs and craves. Feel free to contact me personally if you want to, I can point you in the direction of more info. Good Luck .



answers from New York on

Hi B.,

You concerns are very valid. I am employed part time with a speech therapist and we see this a lot. There is information out there for you. Unfortunately, I am not in my office at this time, but will be tomorrow. I can obtain some additional information for you and some websites as well.



answers from Lewiston on

Hi, I am an Occupational therapy assistant and have worked with many children in the past with sensory issues. If there is anything I can help you with let me know, if I don't have the answers, I have the resourses to find them. Trish C


answers from Hartford on

My son also has speech delays and sensory issues. Sensory Integration problems are very common. First, contact your school to see what services they will offer you. They may provide you with a free evaluation & OT services. Everyone told me how great the out-of-sync child was & I honestly did not get much out of it. Because your daughter is intellectually bright and has good articulation is not why she is in speech therapy. Based on what you say, it sounds like she has trouble "processing" either what she hears (receptive language) or what she wants to say (expressive language). These processing skills are directly related to sensory functions. If you want more technical discussion, I would be happy to talk with you some more. Did the preschool arrange for her speech therapy? If not, this is another service to request and you may want to see if she would qualify for more preschool hours a week. Peer role models are the best for bringing a child along. Good Luck.



answers from Rochester on

My son also has an occupational therapist. You said you're confused about what a sensory disorder is, well this is how it was explained to us, maybe it'll help you.
It's like when you wear glasses without them you can't see very well. A child with a sensory disorder doesn't hear, see, feel, taste, or smell the same as everyone else. There are two kinds of sensory input problems, hyposensitive and hypersensitive.
Hyposensitive is a lack of the ability to feel or process the world around them. My older son is like this, and he needs more input than most children. He needs to be held more often and more tightly, likes bright lights and toys that vibrate. The more sensations, the calmer and happier he is.
Hypersensitive is the opposite of that, where the child feels things much more intensely than normal. My younger son has this. He doesn't like to be held very much, or hugged. He hates bright lights and certain fabrics on his skin.
Hopefully this will help you, if you need more information please feel free to contact me.
A. C.

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