Sensory Intergration In Premature Babies

January 23, 2009 No Comments »

Ronan was born early at 27 weeks gestation and whilst he has exceeded in his height and weight (he has always been a good eater) he does have one thing setting him back. He was diagnosed with Sensory Intergration Problems about 8 months ago. He attends early intervention weekly and has done so since being diagnosed.

Ronan has always been a very active little boy but when he was 2yrs old i felt that something was up. He was overactive and wanted to touch EVERYTHING and anything he could. He also was behind in speech and he has always been slow reaching all his milestones.  I knew at his age the whole toddler thing comes into it BUT it just frustrated us so much with how he just wouldn’t sit down, he couldn’t even read a book with us for longer than 4 seconds. We thought maybe he was showing signs of ADHD but rather than jump to any conclusions we decided to have him assessed. My local MCHN got us into an appointment with children services in our area and after being in the assessment for 10mins we were advised that Ronan had sensory issues due to his prematurity. It was such a relief to know that we had an answer to what seemed like more than just toddler age.

If you are wondering what sensory intergration problem is and if your premature baby might have it here is a list of what the common signs are: (this is not to scare you but if you see any of these signs in your premmie baby please do have an assessment by a professonal to ease your mind).

Out of proportion reactions: over or undersensitivity to touch, sounds, sights,
movement, tastes, or smells

Problems with vestibular (movement) and proprioceptive senses (body awareness)
• Bothered by particular clothing fabrics, labels, waistbands, etc.
Avoids or excessively craves intense movement — slides, swings, bouncing, jumping
• Resists grooming activities such as brushing teeth and washing hair
• Avoids foods most children enjoy
• Gets dizzy easily-or never at all
Seems clumsy or careless
Often “tunes out” or “acts up”
Poor attention and focus
• Uncomfortable in group settings
Very high or very low pain threshold
• Squints, blinks, or rubs eyes frequently (may have an undiagnosed vision problem)

The ones i have bolded are the common problems Ronan has. He has quite a few and that is why we attend early intervention. Apparently this is a common thing in early premature babies yet i had never heard of it before. I wanted to bring it to your attention in case you feel like your struggling with your toddler if they were born early.

Please let us know if your child has been diagnosed with this sensory issue. It would be good to know that we are not alone!

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