SPD kids who act differently at school?

Kristina - posted on 03/25/2009 ( 31 moms have responded )

24

2

2

My 4 year old had the classic SPD behaviors - finicky about clothing, freaked out by heaters, loud sounds, and sprinklers, never lets me trim her hair or nails, etc... We went to the OT 6 months ago, and after a hefty fee, of course, she found that my daughter had sensory issues. The entire evaluation was chaotic and downright unprofessional, and we had never gone back to her for therapy.

After the evaluation (if only I had done so before!) I started talking to my daughters preschool teachers. They are quite knowledgeable about SP issues, though obviously, they are not professionals. They were shocked that I would even think that my daughter had sensory issues. She acts like a completely different child at school. She loves to get messy with water and sand - invites being sprinkled with a hose. At home, she hides from sprinklers and watches other kids have fun with sprinklers through the window. They introduced a sensory bag (rubber full body bag the kid goes in) and my daughter was the first one to volunteer to climb inside. She does not melt down about every single thing at school, like she does at home. So, what is going on? If she had sensory issues, she would not be able to act differently at home than at school.

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Erin - posted on 03/19/2014

1

10

0

Sure she can act different at school. Children with sensory needs,especially mild ones have more control of their environment at home,therefore not exhibit the same behaviors.

Katie - posted on 01/23/2013

1

0

0

After knowing something was wrong for years we finally got a diagnoses from an awesome OT. She explained it like this... Imagine you are at work with someone snapping and following you around touching you all day, you don't know how to make it stop and since you're at work you have to maintain composure. Then you come home and one small thing happens and you snap. That's what it's like for these kids. They are smart and know what might happen if they snap at school or aren't sure of the consequences so they hold it together until they get home. At home they know they are loved no matter what and tend to let go after holding it together all day. I cried when I heard this explained to me and it made so much sense. Hope this helps. Also, keep trying with the OT, either a different one or perhaps the same. Sometimes OT seems crazy and unorganized even when they are actually helping. Maybe if they explained what they were doing and why it would make more sense.

Rachel - posted on 12/12/2012

6

0

0

Hi, I am very new to this since my sons symptoms have just recently (since Aug.) started showing signs of a neurological deficit. We don't have a diagnosis just yet, but through my own research I am thinking its SPD. We visited pediatrician today and FINALLY someone saw what I see every day-very subtle signs that something is not right. I do know that part of the problem is that it is so subtle-so much in fact that my husband, sister, mil and fil, and his teachers all thought i was overreacting. So, I have to agree with most of the posts here that say that these kids act differently in other surroundings with other people-they are NOT "faking it" as some people might think. its a real problem, just hard to distinguish from normal kid behavior.

Christy - posted on 02/10/2010

14

13

1

My son is the same way. He was first diagnosed when he was almost 3 years old and is now 5 1/2. Since it was before he started school we never really had a problem knowing the diagnoses. We recently took him mto a child psych to look at autsi m for the second time. When we were doing this the psych sent home questionares for both me and his teacher. When she got them back she told me that my answers and the teachers answers were alot different. He seemed to do much better at school. He is in a special needs class at school that is very highly organized and structured. She told me that it is because of the differences in structure. Our home is structured but not nearly as much as his class at school. They said that bc of this it was alot easier for him. I talked to his teacher and she gave me some recomendations to use at home. One of them being the use of pictures to plan out his day and making sure that we give him very little free time. We have to make sure that he is constantly busy and knows what comes next or the whole thing falls apart. My sons has terrible tantrums and meltdowns at home but very very few at school. He is like a completely different child at school. It all just has to do with the amount of sensory imput they are getting and keeping them busy and on a schedule I guess. I don't know sometimes its really hard to figure out.

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

31 Comments

View replies by

Karin - posted on 12/13/2012

3

7

0

Kristina, I have the same issue with my son. He melts down about EVERYTHING at home, but at school there is only a few things he melts down about. I don't know what makes it different, but it can be frustrating. We are still trying to find things that will keep him from melting down at home. You are not alone, that's for sure. Keep plugging away and be strong--for you and her. Good luck. If I can find something, I"ll let you know!

Lisa - posted on 07/17/2010

86

29

2

Same here school he diff child When i have My son IEP meeting at school they was talk and I was like wow Are talking about the Same child because the thinks I was talking about what he does at home they could not belive me. but you are right all the sound and things may build up and then when he come home he lets it out. A teacher told me that before .

Lisa

Andrea - posted on 07/16/2010

23

22

2

My son 3.5 has SPD and was evaluated when he was 2.5 or so. He was evaluated befor he started school. He was in special ed preschool for about 1/2 the year and he was totally different in school than at home. His teachers were always surprised when I said he has violent behaviors. He is going into headstart on an IEP this next school year. I am so scared but I do know what you are talking about. It is common for SPD kids to act differently at hime than at school from what I have read.

Sandra - posted on 04/22/2010

11

38

1

My daughter is 9 yrs old and was diagnosed when she was 6. it wasn't until this year that the school noticed anything. She also has bi-polar and the are seeing thing in school. The school she goes to has done things to help her adjust. like sitting off to the side at lunch because she was bothered by the noise. she also watches more than she plays. School couldn't believe that she had any problems but they are starting show up.

Cheryl - posted on 04/07/2010

1

20

0

My 4 1/2 year old daughter was diagnosed OCD and SPD at 2 with possibility of Aspergers. She started Head Start this year because our district did not consider her special needs. I have found a great way for her to have a good day at school is for her sensory tools (usually her stuffed teddy bear and blanket) to be in her bag which is kept in her locker. In my district it is hard to get services so we are on our own. On days that I know it is stressful or field trips I try to be there. She is very inedependent and I can be in the classroom with out her holding onto me so her teacher lets me do this. Especially field trips where I know she will be over stimulated and I know we are in for a hard night I take her out early so she can have quiet time before anyone gets home. Its a lot to do but I don't want her to get anxiety. I am considering homeschooling. The district goes by their assesment and since she does well in school she does not qualify. I would love for them to come over afterschool and evaluate her.

Heidi - posted on 04/03/2010

3

1

0

I have a 5 yr. old and we had an awful OT place. You should be able to go to another OT and allow them to use the same eval so another one is not needed. The second OT was amazing. My son struggles but he no longer freaks out about tags and less distractable. I really think early intervention was key for his development. He actually acts worse at school than home. I wish it was the other way. We have worked with his OT and had him on a sensory diet for some time and our home is very sensory friendly. Really after a few months with a great OT I had a very different little boy. I think he will always struggle at school but he is a small private school and he is learning and making friends. He was held back this year but will be in K next year. He is thriving and happy. We have some bad days but nothing like it use to be. The OT changed our lives for the better and even though he has been discharged for completing sensory intergration therapy, I know I can always call her if needed.

Melissa - posted on 04/01/2010

1

34

0

I can totally relate! My son does the same thing in his preschool. And to top it off, at occupational therapy, he is totally different than he is at home! He is a dare devil at home and isn't at therapy! It drives me crazy! He has food issues too. He is so difficult to get to eat anything at home and at therapy, he eats fine. It is very frustrating, but I just wanted to let you know, you are not alone.

Betsy - posted on 03/19/2010

1

0

0

My five year old son is the same way. I just had him evaluated and he has more issues than I thought. They try harder to cover it up in public places. Also, she may be reacting in ways you don't THINK are a reaction, Example: when over stimulated one reaction may increased activity such as running, throwing themselves on the ground or even uncontrollable giggling. This is their amateur attempt at "organizing" themselves. It could be too that she holds it together at preschool because it's a short time and then takes time afterwards to calm down. Today my audiroty over sensitive son went to a play with tons of noise. He insisted that he didn't need a break and that it wasn't too loud but afterwards he started whining that he wanted to go home. That was the let down from his brave face. Hope that helps. Don't give up on O. Therapists. I'm sure there are better ones out there. -Betsy

Laura - posted on 03/11/2010

3

13

0

my son does the same thing. I think it's because there is alot of structure and stimulation,routines. I think the key to it is the constant stimulation,he may not always particapate but it definitly motivates him.

Ave - posted on 02/16/2010

12

7

0

Thank you -it is so reassuring to know that I am not alone. My 4 year started kindy (finally) at the end of January and while at home has been diagnosed as a SPD kid. I was all prepared for the fallout to start when he started kindy -yet we have not had an sign and I think the teachers are thinking that I make it up. Take today for instance the kindy bus had to pick him up due to transport issues and he just took his favourite toy and that was it -he was a happy everyday boy. Then at lunchtime the kindy rung and suggested due to the rain that they drop him off as well. He was not phased by any change to his routine...until I found this conversation I was second guessing myself!
It is nice to know that I am not alone -Thanks!

Katy - posted on 02/15/2010

6

13

0

Kids are funny, and schools are funny too. My 6 year old with aspergers only has mild SPD symptoms, but if you asked any of his teachers for the last 3 years they wouldn't even believe that he has aspergers. He acts a lot different at school then home. It's just a ciompletely different enviroment, more children, more structure, more choices to make and rules to follow. Jake would never dream of acting up in school and is a mess at home no matter what. Don't let it drive you crazy!

Chelsea - posted on 12/14/2009

12

21

1

Many children act differently at home as well as school. She may feel more open at school and lets her guard down for some reason. My son was in an ESD or special ed preschool room his 3 yr old year last year. He had horriable fits ant home and in class then once he acclimated to his classroom 6 months later he was doing things for his teachers at school that he wouldnt do for me at home. What was a fight at home wasnt anylonger at school. All children seem to know who will let what slide and when they can push buttons and what buttons to push. Dont give up on OT maybe find another? Or try acessing your school districts early intervention services they generally offer free OT to kids who qualify. That is how my son first got his OT.

Kim - posted on 12/12/2009

6

15

1

Our son has recently been diagnosed. He's 7 yrs. old and in first grade. They are in the process of doing an evaluation at school and are telling me that they don't really see any sensory issues. He seems to hold it "together" at school and then we get everything once he's home in a "safe" environment. When we took him to the OT specialist they tested, etc. and diagnosed him. So I totally understand how you feel! I think some of them can hold themselves together until they are home where they are safe and know they are alright. We're worried the school isn't going to give him an IEP because of this, guess we'll see soon! Good Luck and don't give up on finding a good OT. They are out there and are really helpful.

Angela - posted on 11/25/2009

5

5

2

my son is 8 yrs and just about to finish grade 2.
I purchased some sensory tools from ebay. A chew tube and a spikey glove. Also a weighted snake.
The teacher is fantastic and allows him to bring anything in that helps. He does get teased sometimes, however the tools he has, have a big impact on how his day may go. I let him chew on this chew tube on the way to school. Releases some of that anxiety. Not as many chewed collars on the school uniforms since.
My best advice is to get your diagnosis and the teachers to do an Individual Education Plan for your child. Whatever works is what you go with!!!
My son also does not have to participate in school assembly anymore ( too loud) so he goes to the library for that session.
He also doesn't do his homework at home. They factor that in at school, so he can fully relax at home in the afternoon.

Alexandria - posted on 11/11/2009

4

17

0

Ask the school district to do an evaluation, its free and she may get services. My 4 year old was the same. He wasn't complete opposite but there were differences, except in school he was having a hard time. Since the therapies they have provided in his preschool are consistent, class size is small he is doing better all around. He is in school full time - rides the bus - and attends school from Sept to July. Last year's session I plenty of complaints about him, but with a year of therapy, we all see changes and they believe he may out grow some of his issues. I can understand how frustrating it is for you. I hope they can help her soon

Velma - posted on 11/06/2009

2

20

1

I too can empathize. My 8 yr. old soon to be 9 yr. old has anxiety attacks almost everyday before school, I mean Thows up @ least 3x's and has loose bowels. Homework time is (most times) a huge struggle andf challenge for the both of us. she has dyspraxia, writing apraxia, ocd and some SI issues, but looking @ her & speaking to her teacher one would never know. She does have an occasional melt down of crying @ the beginning of the school day but, thats the extent of it. I too get looked @ like I'm crazy or don't know what I'm talking about.

Ericka - posted on 10/13/2009

34

12

0

My son 11 and in the 6th grade CI program has SPD. A lot in the same way can have the melt downs over that stuff but not really at school. some years ago I was told by his OT at school that when children are in school whether medicated or not try really hard to hold it together at school and as soon as they are in the safe zone (Home) they let loose and the smallest things really get to them. The most my son will do in school is just out of the blue begin to cry for no reason that we know of. But thinking that was his venting to what ever triggered it. Not much help but know what your going through.

Good Luck!

Courtney - posted on 06/12/2009

11

15

2

My son will be "trying" half-day kindergarten soon and I am told my 4 yr.old who is at-risk for autism and has adhd and sensory issues will not be getting "OT" thru the school because he thrived so well in his special needs pre- school this year. I am convinced this is because the room had all the sensory stuff in there. But they are incorporating "sensory breaks" into my sons IEP as reccommended by all of his doctors. I hope that will be enough! I can't imagine how he will be without this much needed therapy. Any suggestions on how to help my lil guy for this huge transition? Any thing I can tell his teacher about what works well with kids with sensory needs,I would love to know. Still trying to understand his sensory needs, still new to this! Thanks,Courtney

Karin - posted on 06/01/2009

3

7

0

My SPD kiddo is similar to yours, Kristina. While isn't in school yet, he will start kindergarten in the summer because he isn't 'developmentally ready' (after a year of fighting to put him in pre0k--and fyi--our pre-k is based on as needed sp-ed kids only), when he goes somewhere with a family member or friend, he is a super kid. when he's with us or at home...he can be a holy terror with meltdowns that send me to my room. lol. I had never heard of SPD until his sunday school teacher, who happens to be a OT, mentioned it to me. Now he's being tested on June 8th. he had been dxed iwth ADHD and drugged up. I have used some of the therapy tools she mentioned to me (weighted blanket, ball, etc.) and theyh work like a charm!

Susan - posted on 05/31/2009

3

9

0

my oldest daughter has and appointment with a pyschologist in July to get tested for sensory disorder, which me and her teacher have discovered on our own this school year. We have tried many things with her at home and at school. sometimes these work sometimes they don't. But after much research on my part I have narrowed it down to two sensory catagories that she fits under. She is alittle calmer at home then she is at school. At school she is where she needs to sit still which she can't do. And at home I give her much movement oppertunities so it is not too bad here.

April - posted on 05/30/2009

3

1

0

My daughter who just turned 5 is the same way. But one of the things that we discovered in Occupational Therapy is that she thrives in structure. And school is typically structured, while I will admit my routine is pretty much a fly by the seat of my pants routine. We also discussed the possibility that the kids can "control themselves" in this environment and by the time they get home they are are able to let go and be themselves, which means overstimulation, temper tantrums, etc for us. Make sense?

Bobbie - posted on 04/06/2009

5

10

0

Hi Kristina, I will let you know what happens when the re-eval is over what they have to say. He currently sees an Occupational Therapist 2x per week. My husband and I have seen vast improvements so maybe it is true that they can out grow it. In the areas that were a concern before, he has gotten better...however, other symptoms have risen. I'll let you know.

Kristina - posted on 04/06/2009

24

2

2

I would love to hear what advice you get from professionals upon re-evaluation. To some extent, I hear that kids grow out of SPD some times, and maybe the fact that they can control the symptoms in different settings is an indication that they CAN grow out of it.



 



Jessica, what kind of issues cropped up in full day KG? My daughter will start KG in Sep, but with a November birthday, she will be one of the youngest kids there. She is in full day preschool - from 9am-5:30pm, so I can't imagine it can get much worse in KG, which goes til 2:30pm.

Bobbie - posted on 04/04/2009

5

10

0

Thank goodness I am not alone. My son is 5 years old and in prek and he was evaluated a little over a year ago. Yep he has SPD, however, the teachers think I am crazy because they don't see the same things at school. I am having a full reevaluation done soon to determine what the next step is for full day kindergarten.

Jessica - posted on 04/01/2009

3

0

0

Ahh I have the same thing going on with my 6 yr old. Her school thought I was crazy thinking she had any problems up until this year. Now that she is going all day issues are definitely starting to be seen still not as much as at home. I honestly think they learn to cope on some level so they don't feel so out of place.



I definitely empathize with you also.

Barbara - posted on 03/27/2009

35

4

10

My SPD kiddos were entirely different at school.  In first grade, when school became all day, we started seeing some issues.  Call your school district and request a complete eval on your child.  You are entitled to one.  It's free, and may result in services for your child.

Phoebe - posted on 03/25/2009

52

5

4

My son does have similar differnces between school and home. Not as opposite as you mentioned but willing to do more, try more at school. I would assume because his friends are doing "x" he is more willing to try. But I have noticed on days that school is really full, loud, busy, ect.. he has more meltdowns at home later. Even if he holds himself together at school all day, he lets it out when he gets home.



I can't really give you any help, but I can empathize.

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms