Bad Sensory Issues! - Need a Parents Advice, Please.

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MusicIsLife2Me
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16 Feb 2012, 1:01 am

I do not have a child, but I figured I would post here since a lot of you have children with sensory issues and probably do lots of research on the topic and know what really helps your kids.

I just turned 30 (in November) and don't have a diagnosis. I have lots of stimming and sensory issues. I would ask my parents for help, but they are both dead and when I was a kid I guess sensory issues weren't really that big of a deal. I was always yelled at by teachers in school to stop rocking, stop biting my pencils and erasers (I was humiliated by her in class and the other kids laughed at me and called me awful names but my teacher did nothing to stop that) To her I was the issue - I went home in tears because I tried so hard to stop and couldn't. The yelling caused me to pick up new stims - bouncing my legs under the desk (which was probably especially annoying to others if I was sitting at a table with other people lol). The worst was what I did to make myself stop chewing my pencils; I started chewing my cuticles. So now I have stopped the habit of chewing a pencil beyond recognition, but I still bite my cuticles, I still rock and on ocassion when excited I will hand flap. Sometimes my cuticles will bleed but I don't mean to do that.
My parents didn't do anything about it because I had always rocked and always chewed something. I have been rocking myself since I was in a crib. My mother once told me I was not happy unless I was biting something. They probably thought of these things as just stuff I used to soothe me. And not much was known back then about things like this. I don't want to say that my parents did a bad job as parents and I will never say that. I miss them everyday.

I don't want to stop rocking. I have done it since babyhood. I sit and rock to music on my bed, I rock in chairs when seated. I rock from side to side while I stand (I'm really hard to focus on if someone is standing in front of me lol :D ) I DO however, want to stop biting my cuticles. I saw some Chewlery online but none seem durable enough for adult teeth. I need something that maybe looks like a regular necklace due to the fact that I am 30 and not 5, and something that will be able to handle my teeth. Anyone have suggestions, links? During a pap at the Drs office she out of nowhere grabbed my hand and examined my fingers saying that if I was her child she would spray something on my fingers so I wouldn't chew 8O I don't want to have to spray anything on my hands. I wash them too much. I go to the bathroom a lot due to drinking lots of liquids and always wash my hands so I would just be washing it off.

I also have a hard time with noise. I live in an apartment building so theres lots of sounds around me. I am okay if its a slight sound and I know what it is, but bigger sounds scare me a lot and I start getting anxious. I am EXTREMELY sound sensitive and always have been. I sleep with a stuffed cow and grabbed that the other day for comfort because I got very anxious with all the sounds going on around me and had an internal meltdown. It helped some but I still could hear the noises. I can't afford an mp3 player and ear plugs would drive me insane. What else could I use that would still allow me to hear the phone and such? I was thinking of blaring music but that won't do if I need to hear the phone or door.

Also when I sleep I fidget a lot. I also have a habit of itching throughout the day and it's worse at night. I'm very fabric sensitive, if I am not itching because of it I am fidgeting. Is there anything I can do to help myself?
Oh I am also allergic to nickel. (it makes my skin break open and bleed) I am thin (sz 0) and need a belt to keep my pants up. Is there a place to shop online to find belts with buckles that are not made of nickel? It seems like evey one I come across are made of nickel. It has to be pure silver. (fake silver and gold give me a green mark on my skin and ears get infected easily)

I feel so alone and don't know ways to help myself although I am trying. I wish my parents could help. I am a big girl (to a degree) but the little girl inside me just wants mommy and daddy.

Sorry for the long post and getting a bit emotional. It's just that coming to WP has given me the opportunity to experience what it's like to have people who really just "get it".


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16 Feb 2012, 6:01 am

Hello MusicIsLife! I'm not really someone who has experience of these specific things and I hope that what I'm about to write is not too lame...

It seems to me that you needed more time to develop attachment to your parents. Maybe this sounds really hippy-like, but kids often need a lot of simple comfort (a degree of comfort from their parents that the western world discourages.) In the western world breastfeeding is perceived as an uncomfortable task (where a mother should impatiently count the days till it stops). There's so much emphasis on babies sleeping alone, and being independant. I think that often children are pushed into being weaned away from their parents before they're really ready. If I were your parent, and I read this, I would baby you more- not because I think that you're immature but simply because you need a bit of tlc. I'm sorry that both your parents are dead.

I think that the chewing is a reaction to underlying levels of anxiety. Chewing and rocking calm you down. The rocking can irritate people and might be off-putting socially (people might not want to be friends with you, for that reason.) I'm not an advocate of chewing gum, because it's bad for your stomach. Your stomach is conned to thinking it's going to get food and starts making digestive juices unnecessarily. Eating raw vegetables like carrots might help (carrots wouldn't make you put on too much weight.) Eating salad (though not too much) might help you too because it has an ingredient that is calming.

As for the sounds, you could try wearing ear plugs. It'd take a little while getting used to, but you could give it a try. And perhaps weighted blankets might help you sleep. It helps many autistic people to feel calm (a bit like the squeezing machine that Temple Grandin made for herself.) You could imagine that the weight of the blankets was giving yourself a big comforting embrace for your little girl within.

I hope that you find the peace your looking for. All the best!



ASDMommyASDKid
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16 Feb 2012, 7:44 am

I don't have advice for all of this, but for the chewing you could try gum. maybe. We do not use this because my son would probably swallow it. But if chewing on squishy things is what you like (cuticles are kind of squishy.) that might be a more socially acceptable thing. Also, you probably would not want to walk around all day with these, but if you conveniently have a drink with you, you could try straws.



jat
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16 Feb 2012, 8:33 am

Sensory issues were definitely not really understood when you were a child. So much of what you say sounds very familiar - the cuticles, the sensitivity to nickel, the misunderstandings ... related to my daughter. We never figured out a "fix" for the cuticles.

For the noise issue, have you tried a white noise machine? They can "mask," not drown out, noises. It can help with some of the noises around you, still allow you to hear the sounds you need to hear, like the telephone, and not cause problems with making so much noise that neighbors would complain (like loud music would).

You're right that nickel is in almost everything. If you can't find belt buckles and such that are fabric or leather covered, you can try "painting" them with clear nail polish (you can do this with earrings, too!). Coating the nickel with clear nail polish generally protects you from the contact that causes the allergic reaction. We have done that with the backs of watches, earring posts/wires, etc., and had great results.

Some of the chewelry is supposed to be very sturdy - it's meant for people with "grown up" teeth, not just primary teeth. You wouldn't want to have it in public, but if you chew at home, it might be helpful. You could also check out the sensory catalogs and see if they have anything else that looks like it would work. There are also things for the back of pens/pencils for chewing on (if that would be helpful).

When you itch so much, is it because of the fabrics you're wearing, or because your skin is itching - maybe from being a bit de-hydrated? Some people find that making sure they moisturize their skin regularly (with lotions they are not sensitive to) is the most important thing in preventing itching. It could also be a factor in increasing your hands' susceptibility to bleeding - especially since you wash your hands so often. Using sleepwear and bedding that uses fabrics that you are comfortable with is also important (check fiber content! sometimes something that seems like a soft cuddly cotton turns out to be polyester - comfortable for a few minutes, but maybe not for a long night). You may need to pay attention to what laundry products you are using. Some people are very sensitive to some of the ingredients, particularly the fragrances - which can irritate the skin as well as the respiratory system.

Good luck figuring it out. Take the time you need, and be good to yourself.



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16 Feb 2012, 12:04 pm

When you saw the doc did you tell her about your anxiety with noises and stuff? There are medications that can help that have few side effects. Consider it. Other ideas for the noise, the type of ear protection that people use at firing ranges and such might be a good idea for when you are at home. They are padded so they are fairly comfortable and they only filter noise, not block it out completely. So you would be able to hear the door or the phone. You would also still be able to hear the sounds of your neighbors but it would be muffled. They are also not very expensive, try looking in any sporting goods store.

For chewing, try surgical tubing. You could either keep a short piece of it in your pocket and chew on it when you need it or make it into a necklace by connecting the ends with inexpensive clasps you can find at craft stores. It is durable and safe to chew on. I also agree with the person who suggested crunchy vegetables. Sometimes my son will just chow through several celery sticks when he is kind of amped up and afterwards, he is visibly more calm. Working that jaw muscle (the strongest muscle in your body BTW) can have a really good regulating effect for some folks.

On the itchy fabric - have you identified the particular fabrics that bother you so you can avoid them? If not check labels and try to figure out what works for you. Often 100% cotton is the softest and most tolerable but it depends on the weave. Like denim is usually 100% cotton but can be very rough. Also, the itching may be due to laundry detergent or fabric softener not just the fabric itself. They make a laundry soap especially for washing infants' clothes. It tends to be way less irrigtating than regualr detergent.

Wish I had a thought for you on the belt buckle thing. Maybe check at fabric or craft stores to see if you could find buckles made of wood? Then you could make your own.



liloleme
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16 Feb 2012, 3:24 pm

Hey, you sound just like me....only I sleep with a stuffed Orca.
We use these chewies http://kidcompanions.com/archives/tag/chewlery my son can chew right through them in a week to a few months depending on his stress level. I like the heart ones because they are tactile as well....I chew my nails until they bleed and due to the medication that Im on that lowers my immune system (anti TNF) because I have an auto immune disease, I have to be careful of skin infections. So no scratching (which I also do like you) and no picking and chewing on nails and sides of fingers, ect. The heart chewies are like chewing on the sides of your fingers if you chew around the edges. You can also try chewese, it is sort of like surgical tubing but larger as Bombaloo was telling you about... you can look them up on Amazon, they are far more sturdy, even my son cant chew through them. I like the other ones because I can put their name and allergy and phone number, plus that they are autistic on the break away necklace or the clip band.
My 24 year old son was allergic to metal (he passed away in August), I bought him a silver belt buckle but before that he got long T-shirts and tucked them into his boxers so the belt did not touch his skin. Also if you have a health food store around get either some slave with goldenseal or just buy the goldenseal root and boil it in some cheese cloth....you can use that as a compress for your stomach where you broke out and you can drink the "tea" if you put some sugar or honey in it.....the salve is better for your skin and easier. I have some awesome salve right now that I put on my heel cracks as I rarely wear shoes (never have unless I have to, HATE THEM). I got it on this web site http://www.vitacost.com/?csrc=EM-VALU20120212:logo and look up Country Comfort, they have the goldenseal-myrrh salve that I use and they also have some herbal soaps. You can also find food and stuff on there.....I like shopping online, not only can I not walk very well due to my disease going out can be very stressful for me. I use valium sometimes when I get sensory overload but my doc tried ativan first...you just put it under your tongue. It was not strong enough for my meltdowns so we tried the valium. Unfortunately I have to take all sorts of medication including the monthly infusions due to my disease but I really dont like taking medication all the time. I liked having the control....yeah Im a control freak! :P
I use those soft foam earplugs to sleep and I carry them with me in case. I am also light sensitive as are my two little ones who have more sunglasses than most adults :).
Use All Free and Clear and not any soap made for babies...that stuff can have more allergens in it than anything else. Also try going to salt of the earth weighted gear and consider purchasing a weighted blanket, it may help with your sleep....they are the best! Here is their web site http://www.saltoftheearthweightedgear.com/
Also I sleep with minky blankets and you can look them up online as well....its the only thing that keeps me from itching. You may have allergies that range from detergent, soap or food. You may want to experiment with changing one thing at a time. My son who was allergic to nickle also had a milk allergy and he had really bad acid reflux as well. I also shop at Forever 21 as I find their clothes to be soft and light....you can layer them easily for winter and they have a lot of small sizes.....my 21 year old daughter is also a size O and she gets XS stuff from there. She has sensory processing disorder but not autism, she is my social butterfly.
Im shocked your GYN did that to you...how weird of her but I used to get crap from other people too about my fingers but during a pap smear which is freaky enough. I worked for OB/GYN's so I was more comfortable with my doctor I worked for, she was very sweet and gentle.
I did not get diagnosed until I was 40 after my youngest was diagnosed severe, non verbal autistic right before her 3rd b-day. After my diagnosis we had my son who was 6 at the time diagnosed with Asperger's as well and the psychologist told my husband that she was fully ready to diagnose me but I was already diagnosed. I have also been diagnosed in France just the other day. You sound so much like me I think you would not have a problem being diagnosed if that was something you wanted. We have found there are many diagnosed and undiagnosed Aspies in my family, mainly from my Mom's side. My Grandfather was definitely an aspie as are both my brothers, my younger more than my oldest and I have one niece who was given the ADHD diagnosis and her Mom (my sister in law was not happy that I suggested that she probably had Aspergers and not ADHD...that honesty of mine, always getting me in trouble). I also have a 19 year old daughter who was diagnosed Aspergers. I was diagnosed by my sons Psychiatrist (my oldest who had early onset Bi Polar and began using drugs at age 13 as he was not diagnosed until he was 12 and he had no help or therapy....actually we got the opposite, his father was abusive and I was told by doctors and social workers that it was my fault my son had "issues"). He was clean 2 years before he overdosed on heroin in August. I am now wearing a dolphin with a baby under her with some of my sons ashes inside on a chain my parents bought me years ago. The rest of his ashes will come home to me soon when my parents come to visit, I was too afraid to have him shipped, I want his ashes hand carried by someone who loves him and wont loose him!
I also rock, I used to hide it as people made fun of me...now I dont care. I think I kept having babies to get away with rocking :lol: Sometimes Id forget I wasnt holding the baby and would rock anyway. I also used to sit in odd positions, I was very flexable (my hands still are) until my disease got bad and my joints started to fuse and my nerves got damaged.

Anyway, I hope I gave you some good ideas....you can PM me anytime if you have any more questions :). OH, I almost forgot the best sensory toys you can get here http://www.officeplayground.com/ It is cheap and the shipping is quick...they even ship to me here in France....they are awesome, my fav place to shop!



MusicIsLife2Me
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17 Feb 2012, 1:13 am

Thank you all for your responses.

Idid have some home troubles I do not believe my stimming and sensory issues came from that. My sister grew up with the same issues and did not stim. My brother stimmed as well. He was a toe walker and when he was very young was into finger flapping. Now I believe my beother and I are Aspies. I was obsessed with art and music and animals. I was never happy for too long unless I was around music or doing some form of art. My beother was obsessed with trains and memorized train schedules and collected them - now he collects clocks. He was obsessed with the weather and had to (still does) inform everyone of the forecast. The happiest day for me was finding out that art could be done on a computer :D It is not uncommon for me to show off my art and talk about it every chance I get. Same with music :heart:
We were actually labeled as mentally retarded (this was back in the day when ASD's were not real recognized. They had great difficulty in determining if I was Autistic or not, same with my brother) While we have obvious learning difficulties we are definitely not MR. Heck, not the way he can recite the forecast and I can recall a song and turn a photo from drab to fab 8)
My family is Italian. My parents would be 67 and 78. They had a different way of raising their kids due to the time that they were raised. I felt different but never felt neglected. Italian people (especially old school ones) are often very protective of their children especially the baby in the family. It was not uncommon for me to ask my mother to brush my hair even at the age of 15. She was my light and she loved me very much. She grew up in a time where you didn't show much of that in the typical ways people in familys do now. My dad was very much like me so we did yell at each other a lot. I think he might have been another misdiagnosed Aspie :lol:

Bambaloo - I am on Zoloft now and it hasn't taken it's full effect yet,but I am hoping it works for me. I have extreme sensitivity to meds so its a baby dose 12.5 mg. The entire pharmacy has been used on me LOL.
I will definitely check out the surgical tubing along with some other chew things.

Jat - Yes the cuticle issue is a hard one to find a fix for and one that always embarrassed me if people pointed it out or made fun :(
I have heard of white noise machines and could possibly purchase one from ebay. I'm sure I can. Ebay has everything -even Tom Cruise's kids poop 8O
I think its a combination of fabric and dry skin as far as the itching is concerned. I got calamine lotion and will see if that helps. It could be my laundry soap too so maybe I should start using fragrance/dye free.

ASDMommyASDKid - I do chew gum on ocassion but I haven't got the greatest teeth and it often gets stuck in cracks that I have on certain teeth lol.

And hello to you as well 0031!

Nice to meet you all :)


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doodlebug
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17 Feb 2012, 12:36 pm

Hopefully I can answer this in a semi-organized way. My brain is all over the map today. (I say that like there times when it isn't. :lol: )

I have a HF autistic 14yo so some of this is based on my experience with him although the skin stuff is based on my own experience. My son also chews things which is worse now that he has braces. He gets as much gum as he wants, but that doesn't stop it. I wanted to get him some chewlery too, but he's a bit old for it. I think I'm going to get some chew sticks instead. I can find a link for it if you are interested.

For the noise the the kid has a pair of big old school headphones. He puts both on when he doesn't want to hear anything else and he slides on back behind his ear when he needs to hear things. This really, really helps.

As far as the skin is concerned it sounds like there could be two separate issues. As in there could be a fidgety thing along with a skin thing. I've found at night I can take valerine to help with settling my body down and getting to sleep however you may need to check for interactions for any meds you may be on. As far as the skin thing, I'm allergic to everything. I use fragrance free detergent and fabric softener and I have to be very careful which skin products I use. I find the most success with Gold Bond Ulitmate lotion which I use throughout the day and then if it is bad at night I use another intense lotion by them, but I don't have it at hand. As far as the jewelery and stuff goes I've had to switch to surgical stainless steel. I don't know about a belt because I never wear one.

((((hugs)))) Message me if you want to talk.



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17 Feb 2012, 1:13 pm

I would definitly suggest fragerence and dye free laundry soap and every other kind of product that gets in contact with your body. I can't stand the feel or smell of any body care product - except floride free mint toothpaste - and have switched to using pure coconut butter or even a little olive oil for skin moisturizing. You can get coconut oil (it's actually solid like butter) that has been de-oderized and has no smell if you don't like walking around smelling like a coconut.



audball
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17 Feb 2012, 3:12 pm

I'll try to think of more to help later, if I can offer any good suggestions, but as far as the belt buckle goes, they do make velcro belts! There is a company that makes them here in the US called Myself Belts. My son had them and they are very durable and I particularly like that they are made of leather, so they wear well. I was pleased to see that they make them for adults now too :) Link: Myself Belts

ETA: I'm sorry, I just went through the link and realized that the teen and adult belts have a metal "decorative" piece. The children's belts do not all have that piece. Perhaps you can do a web search on velcro belts and see if you can find something similar?