My boys suffered ongoing ear infections when they were children. When they were young, they didn’t show signs… and things haven’t changed.
The last ear infection my son had, the doctor asked him if he was experiencing any pain. My son replied no. And the doctor, surprised, asked, “Are you sure?”
Today on Voices of SPD we are joined by Johanna of Jojo’s Blog, who admits that she doesn’t know when her own sensory child is sick. How can we when our sensory kids don’t register pain?!?
I Don’t Know When My Sensory Child is Sick
I recently had an eye opening and kind of life-changing thing happen with my sensory kiddo…she was sick. This might not mean much for a child who does not have SPD, but for us, it was, and still is, a LOT to deal with. She was congested for a couple of weeks. I thought it was a cold or maybe allergies, so I was doing the normal home remedies (humidifier, decongestant, etc.). Nothing was working. I could tell the congestion was getting worse so I called the doctor and took her in.
Come to find out…she has STREP! I was like WHAT?!? She did not have a fever, a sore throat, or any other signs of it. When the NP looked, her tonsils were red and swollen and she tested positive for strep. I could not believe it. We were there for a possible sinus infection only to find out she has strep.
This got me thinking about how or if her SPD would effect her being sick and me not knowing it. She is a seeker and her body under-registers. I asked her OT if it is possible that her body was not registering the pain and sore throat from the strep, and she said yes. I had a feeling she was going to say yes, but hearing it still freaked me out.How can we know our kids are sick when our sensory kids don't register pain?!? Click To Tweet
To be honest, I am still kind of freaked out. How am I going to know if she is really sick? Strep left untreated can be very dangerous. I’m going to be that Mom that takes her daughter to the doctor at the first sign of a sniffle…okay not really, but probably close 🙂 . I am still processing what this means for us. I know for sure I am going to have to be very diligent if she shows any signs of a cold or anything.
I am still new to all of this sensory stuff. I am learning that it effects everything. When a lot of kids get sick, they may be grumpy for a few days, but my sensory kiddo had more than a week of issues, both at school and aftercare. Before I realized just how sick she was, I was worried that she was regressing and needed more therapy and different interventions.
After talking with her OT, I felt better about things, behavior-wise, because she let me know that when a sensory kiddo is sick, their body is even more effected and can cause a lot of issues. My daughter’s self-regulation is almost non-existent, due to her sensory difficulties, so I know that probably has a lot to do with this as well.
So what is a Mom of a sensory kiddo to do??? Laugh and Pray. Laugh so I don’t go crazy and pray so I have hope. 🙂
This post originally appeared on Jojo’s Blog. You can read more from Jojo there.
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Wow. This is not something I have even considered. Thank you for sharing this, it is something I will need to keep in mind.
We are in the same boat this week. My little guys had what seemed to be a cold for a week or so, and then he developed a chesty cough. So I asked him all the does this hurt questions and everything was no. I took him to the Dr anyways because he has had bronchitis in the past and that took forever to get rid of. So, natually, I was conserned. And the Dr said he had strep! I was also shocked. And now he has been SUPER off and overly emotional and whiney for the last week since his Dr appt. I just feel so awful for waiting a week before I brought him in. I thought it was just a cold!
This is soooo true!!! My son is a seeker, among many other things. I have often wondered if we were the only ones. We now have coined the term “ear infection behavior” around our house.
So glad to hear others deal with this. When our 8 year old was young we only knew he was sick because he was more clingy than normal. When he was months old we flew from FL to TX not know he had a double ear infection! His behavior on the plane was fine. The only way we know he is sick now is from the physical symptoms that we can see, when he has them (stuffy/runny nose, red and puffy eyes, vomit or fever)
This just happened to us. My five year old son had symptoms of what I thought was a cold. Then he developed fevers at night. He told me, after pulling his hand from behind his bent knee that the “hot feels good.” Boy was that an eye opener for me. I was immediately overwhelmed and thought about that time at the playground when another kid was sitting on top of him, hitting him, and he was laughing. He also tested positive for strep but replied “no” when asked if anything hurt, no matter who asked.
Oh yes! My son suffered double ear infections when he was little. The doctor would look at me like I was crazy when I would bring him in even though my kiddo wasn’t complaining. And yet, it turns out I was always right. Pay attention to minor changes — they can be big indicators for our children who don’t register pain like others.
Same here! My almost 4 year old has had 25 ear infections. When we show up at the doctors, she’s bouncing around and having fun looking at the aquarium. The receptionists and doctors always joke around saying something like “she sure doesn’t act like a kid with an ear infection…” only to find out she has yet another.
My high functioning, autistic daughter rarely feels pain. Its been a real challenge all her life to know when there is something physically wrong with her because she didn’t recognize the palin.
Now she is pregnant. There is little information out there about adult women with SPD and how they experience pregnancy. My daughter is very concerned (almost obsessively) that she will not recognize signs of pregnancy problems and also that she will not feel her labor (right? Wish I was that lucky).
These are very valid concerns and it would be of great comfort for her to connect with other pregnant women with SPD or be able to read about some of there experiences. Her doctors don’t have these resources to share with her. Can you point her in the direction of finding such resources and information specific to pregnancy?
There’s a group dedicated to adults with SPD… this is the best resource I can think of. I hope your daughter has a safe pregnancy.
Last year, my 7yo had what seemed like the sniffles for 2 weeks and none of the home remedies were working. She had behavior issues in school and at home that were progressively getting worse. Her only complaint during this whole time was that her belly hurt. Then the seal cough emerged. I took her to the doctor that same day. It was pneumonia. She never had a fever or any other complaints. I felt like the worst mom in the world.
Oh my goodness… don’t feel like a bad mom! It’s happened to us all. My son (who was 8 at the time) had a raging ear infection, burst his ear drum and never felt any pain. I only caught it because he kept pulling on his ear. It happens to us all.
I find the opposite challenge with my 8 year old, he is SOOOO sensitive that he almost always has a sore throat & he feels everything super amplified. So then I’m not sure when he is truly hurt or sick, as I’m so accustomed to hearing complaints daily
Whale 19821 says
Our 2 yr old broke a bowl this morning while ‘helping’ set the table. It wasn’t until I had cleaned up all the glass that I noticed the blood pouring from her foot… Rookie mistake here as we’ve faced these issues with our other 3 kids in the past too. Our eldest ripped her tendons and ligaments in her wrist at school last year and we had no idea until she was unable to pick up a cup of water at dinner time. It’s so frustrating not being able to quickly assess and treat falls, bumps and biffs and always second guessing yourself.
Our 8 yr old bear hugged our sleeping dog the other night and was bit on the face. She has a laceration under her eye and abrasions on her nose and cheek. She kept telling us she was okay, even as the laceration was bleeding. She’s always downplaying injuries, so I’m not sure if she doesn’t feel the pain like we do or if she is just embarrassed to be hurt. I worry I’m going to miss a major injury if it’s not visible.
Bethan Grimshaw says
My son recently had appendicitis – he only registered it as mild discomfort and thought it was trapped wind – scares me so much that we could have missed this – he needed emergency surgery!