Pah that’s nothing new here. We have always had a hard time getting any services for my son and certainly not any covered by insurance. My son suffers from a  sensory processing disorder and sensory integration therapy is almost never covered by insurance. Schools don’t want to do it either because it’s not considered an “educational problem” and it’s also expensive and time-consuming even though sensory symptoms do impeded everyday life and learning.

For example 30 rounds ago my son had a terrible tactile sensitivity to paper. He’s had it since he was about 7 years old but he has always been tactile defensive and had a sensory issue. This applies to toilet paper, paper towels, napkins and cardboard. We won’t even get into the years he ran around the house naked because he could not stand the feel of clothing. Or how he could not wipe himself until we found flushable wet wipes. Yet despite speaking with his doctors about our concerns, no one knew anything about sensory integration therapy in our area. I was told there used to be a therapist on the other side of town who has since re-located some years ago and no one knew of anyone else.  Seriously?

In my disgust and determination to help my son I learned all I could about sensory dysfunction and the therapies that help this. They mentioned expensive therapy sessions in a sensory gym. We did not have a sensory gym anywhere that I could find, and I wasn’t seeing an 8 hour drive one way worth the trek so my son could bounce and jump around.

Our insurance would not touch an occupational therapist for this. My son’s motor delays fell under the school’s jurisdiction.  School claimed he didn’t need the therapy.

I took some cues from my son and from this website: Sensory Processing Disorder

This helped me figure out what my son needed. Was he hypersensitive? A movement seeker or avoider? Did he need pressure on his joints?

Since we didn’t really have money to pay privately for these services I created a sensory gym at home. With this my son could be on a “sensory diet” every day and regulate his needs himself. We purchased or made the following:

  • Mini trampoline (re-bounder) from the sporting goods store for about $30
  • A large mesh laundry sack from anywhere for about $6
  • A swing in the yard or put it up in the basement from the I-beam
  • A skateboard for sitting on and rolling around
  • A balance beam and board-we got instructions from a book and made these ourselves with wood.
  • Play dough or theraputty, squishy balls, clothes pins, rice, beads etc for hands to feel and squish
  • Small fidget toys like transformers
  • Silly putty and beads. (hide the beads in the putty and let them pick it out
  • A backpack that you can put some books in for the weight they crave
  • An inflatable exercise ball for bouncing on or rolling over them
  • You can also purchase hammock swings to hang inside the house
  • A very heavy quilt for using as a weight blanket
  • some cushions for smooshing
  • Office chair with a high back and arm rests for spinning
  • Ride on toys that can be used indoors

The ideas are plenty online so you can design the sensory program that suites you child’s needs.  In the interim I’d find an occupational therapist trained in sensory integration. The sooner you can get this therapy done the better. Integration is actually key to fixing this problem in the long term.

*always supervise your child with these items to be sure they are safe and do not get stuck, fall off etc.