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Finding Preschools, Part 31 - Sensory Integration Disorder

A question from Anne, another urbanMama reader.  By chance, does anyone have any advice or recommendations?

I'd like to ask for some information about childcare:  I have twin boys, almost three, that I really want to get into preschool next fall.  One has recently been diagnosed with a sensory integration disorder, which makes it extremely difficult for him to transition/adjust to new situations.  A brief preschool experience last fall (before we knew about his SID) makes me question whether a preschool setting is the best thing for him, at least as a first time away from home.  So I'm starting to look around for childcare in a private home.  I drive by Alameda Beaumont Childcare almost daily and wonder if anyone has any experience with it, or any other suggestions in N/NE.  I have to find something - and would like to get both boys started on the journey of not being home and only in each others company all day.


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My only experience is with Growing Seeds, in Hollywood, where my daughter goes. I know they have an autistic child in the preschool and he seems to do really well. They're very sensitive to his needs and the kids are too. So it seems like they might know how to handle SID. You can call and ask (503) 288-1171.

Alameda Beaumont Childcare is a great program...Julie and Shannon are the teachers; as warm and nurturing as they come. Sounds like it's close to you too. You might want to look for a school that has a pretty small group size for your boys. (I have a couple ideas if you want to e-mail me.) Things are already starting to fill up for fall...sad but true. But there's so many good schools; you'll find something.

My daughter, who will be 4 in April, also has Sensory Integration Disorder. She started in the Toddler room at NCCDC in NE Portland when she was 18 months old. She is now in the Preschool there. While she still has some sensory issues, and still struggles with transistions, getting her into school has made all the difference in the world! The student to teacher ratios at NCCDC are better than some other centers, which helps. Plus, it's a parent coop, which makes the actual ratios even better.

Teachers having some knowledge of Sensory Integration and working with you on known issues is the primary concern, regardless of which school you end up using. Kids with this disorder have to learn to live with it and adjust, and school, in our experience, was a wonderful tool for doing this. The teachers at NCCDC are so helpful, and more than willing to do what it takes to help their kids. In my daughters case, we took advice from her Occupational Therapist, and applied it at school. Also, you might want to check out Early Intervention if you haven't done so already. It's a federally funded program that is free if your son qualifies, and he probably would. It would provide Occupational Therapy, which, combined with school, might help your kiddo make big strides!

I have a friend in Nashville, TN whose daughter also has SID and she attends an Easter Seals daycare that is mixed with children with and without disabilities. It has been such a help to her. I couldn't find anything like that on the Easter Seals Oregon website, but their Portland headquarters phone is 503-228-5108 and they may be able to advise of other resources.

Thanks for all the great ideas! I think we'll find something that works; although it's crazy how many places are already full for fall. I'm interested in hearing from anyone who's having the experience of raising a child with SID - so much makes sense now, but there are a lot of new challenges.

Thanks again!

Are your boys in OT now? If your OT has a sensory packet or any info for you to bring to the school - that would be very helpful. In a Child's Path on NE 66th is a nice small environment. Cindy is the director.

Have you taken a look at the Montessori of Alameda ?

This message is for Anne or anyone else who has a child with Sensory Integration Disorder.
I just found out my son, who is 4 now, has SID. Fortunately, before we found out exactly what is was, I enrolled him at a parent coop. They hired a teacher who has a daughter who has many disabilities, one of which is SID. She knows so much and has dealt with it so long. She integrates some therapy at the school with my son and is so full of useful knowledge. The parent coop school is called Southwest Parent Child Cooperative (SWPCC). I hope this helps anyone who may be looking for a great pre-school.
I also have a question. Does anyone know of any parent support groups for SID? Or a kindergarten option for a school which would be good for kids with SID? We are new to Portland, from Wisonsin, and are not very familiar with any elementary schools.

Thanks ahead of time for your help....


Looking for recommendations. Our son, who is now eight, was evaluated for SID at six, but the OTs we took him to for six weeks couldn't see much of the problem. His challenges occur mostly in large groups with lots of activity and noise going on. But one on one, as was the case with the OT, he does really well. We are interested in recommendations of OTs or other practitioners for another evaluation for SID.

Our son who is 5 but pre-K aged will be starting school next September. He also has SID. We plan to have him attend public schools and are having him evaluated currently through the EIP program, but would love any advice on how to approach this transition. Has anyone else out there had their child with SID in the public schools? How has it worked out?

My suggestion to Anne is to start out slow with some visits prior to starting in whichever preschool you choose. And plan for a rocky start. Communicating with the teacher helps the area of difficulty to go smoother (depending on the teacher).

Thanks for the suggestions - we actually put him in Growing Seeds North early this fall and he is doing very well. His smooth transition was aided by having started in therapeutic preschool through MESD last March three days per week. He's still doing that, in addition to full-time care at GSN.

I am expecting the care he receives through MESD will assist in the transition to kindergarten.

His PT through MESD has recommended Mary Williams on Barbur for OT - we haven't seen her yet, but she is apparently quite experienced with SID.

Kristin - I'll email you directly, but two other parents and I have arranged to meet up as something of an ad hoc support group. My son is going to be 4 in February, and the others are about the same age I think. You're very welcome to join us. Alternatively, MESD maintains a pamphlet of parent contacts.

I'm glad to hear from so many other parents having similar experiences with SID. What a strange thing it is!

This has been an epiphany finding this link. My wife and I (can I be an UrbanPapa?) have a 5 year old with SID, and are trying to navigate the process. Throughout, it can be very intense and we worry about getting the right supports for our son, we fret over the intensity of what we have to manage . . . we just want to get it right, and help him be happy.

He is in a Montessori school that has been a good fit for him, and since his referral from the ESD he is in program at Grout for kids with special needs. They're serving him for adaptive and social/emotional delays there.

We're doing OT at Therapy Solutions now for his SID. We have been happy there and are looking forward to working with Barbara Avila who does RDI (Relationship Development Intervention) training for parents. Challenge is that it's not covered by our insurance, and costly.

1. Who is doing the best OT work for SID locally? Is there anyone who is an expert, as opposed to "Yeah, we do 'some of that'"?

2. Does anyone have any strategies to manage uber-tantrums. We feel our son's tantrums are anxiety driven, and when he goes there, he screams uncontrollably, kicks, hits, etc. Very little seems to work, short of restraining him, and just re-assuring him that we love him, we're there for him, etc. It's emotionally exhausting for all of us (including, we suspect, his 3 year old brother). Help. Any ideas?

3. Has anyone done any RDI work and found it helpful for SID?

4. Is there any support group going out there? We live in SE, Mt Tabor area.

Thanks for any thoughts anyone might offer.

I am a single mother of a delightful 2 year old with bizzare behavior. After reading the out of sync child and another book, I am convinced she has a sensory seeking sid. She climbs to the top of every room. I can't take my eyes off of her for a second because of her unsafe behavior. She has no resect for boundries and other kids are always telling her not to shout. She bounces off of things and has inappropriate touching(hitting,biting). I spend my whole day trying to wear her out so she can manage her behavior and have recently tried the tactile activities such as play doh, finger paints, vibrating massage. I am in the middle of figuring out the oregon health plan and whether ot will be covered. If anyone has any info that would be helpful or a child with similair experiences who wants to get together please let me know.


Feel free to contact me, I have a 2 year old son with SID. The first thing that I would recommend is that you have your daughter evaluated by your pediatrician. Your pediatrician can give you a referral to your local early intervention office. Early intervention will do an initial eval and then they will set up therapy services in your house (all at no charge) until they age of three. At three they will re-eval your daughter for pre-school.

Another route is again having your physician send a referral to the Child Development and Rehabilitation Center at OHSU. I am fairly sure they take OHP. They can also to an eval there and set you up with services.

Our son attends 2-3 mornings a week a sensory immersion preschool in north porland. I think that they have an opening right now for a 2 year old in their Mon. and wed. session. They are very reasonably priced. Check out their web page schoolofautism.com. Autism and SID have a lot of similarities, so even though your daughter does not have autism they therapies are pretty much the same.

Last thing, last year my husband attended a Sat. conference through the Down Syndrome Group (see posting on Urban Mamas) where they discuss getting the help you need for special needs. I highly recommend it, it was very helpful to us.

Keith and Kristin -

We talked about getting together (several times, if I recall) and it never happened. I've lost your contact information and would kind of like to try again - that goes for anyone else who was interested in a SID support network. Hope to hear from you!


The HowdaHUG seat is recommended by Carol Kranowitz, author of "Out-of -Sync Child" as a wonderful tool for children with sensory issues

I am so happy that you posted! I, too, have lost the group's contact info and would like to try again. I think that a support group would be so useful for all of us working through SID with our children. Please contact me - I'm happy to help facilitate getting our first meeting together.

HI all,

This looks like an old conversation revisited, but I had thought reading over the posts. The Northwest Down Syndrome Association is hosting its 3rd annual cross-disability inclusion conference in April. It is a great chance to get together with other families, as well as teachers, therapists and caregivers, to strategize how to get our kiddos into thier schools in a fully integrated, inclusive way.

As I said, this is cross-disability, so all families are welcome. It is still a few months away, but keep your eyes open for the All Born IN conference at PSU. It will be a day well spent, I think.

This is an issue that affects more families than I could have imagined before my daughter was born with Down syndrome, and the more we can get together on the subject, the beter chance we have of reforming the schools to make them a place where our kids can get the educations that they are legally entitled to.

I am wondering if anyone can share their experiences with Montessori Alameda? I am considering it for my son who has Sensory integration issues. I'm also considering Creative Sciences School, Emerson, Faubion and other (esp. tuition free) ideas.

We have a SID son now almost 2 who is getting services through Early Intervention right now...he still doesn't speak but is a "seeker" in every sense of the word...I would love to join a parent group, support or just talk to others going through the process. We have OT at the Providence Neurodevlopmental Center on the eastside and we LOVE out OT - she is VERY skilled in SID related issues and he is starting speech there as well in addition to his EI. My older is at a WONDERFUL Montessori now where another child with SID is already and the teacher is FANTASTIC - we are pretty sure she would be a great fit when our little SID guy is ready for preschool....
Anyway I am quite interested in finding a parent's group and any info/resources out there in PDX for us...I do have to say EI has been wonderful as well and they are really supportive of the SID diagnosis we have....

How can I get in touch w you Sophia to get on the list for the group? I'd love to brainstorm w other parents in the same situation

Hi Anne and others:
Please contact me via e-mail at jeffandsophia(at)msn.com. I look forward to hearing from you and getting a group together.

Just now reading these posts and would love to know if there is a group for parents of SID. We live in the SE/Sellwood area and would love to come to a meeting if this group is still active. We have a 4 year old that we are having a hard time finding the right for preschool for now and are now looking into OT and early intervention but don't really know anything about it.




I am so glad that I found this conversation. I think that my son who is 3 is dealing with some sensory integration problems and I've been looking for someone to talk to about it. I'm having him evaluated by a pediatrician. I would love to find out about any groups or speak with some other parents that are dealing with similar challenges.

Hi All,

I, too, am very glad I found this conversation. My son recently tunred 5 and has been diagnosed with SPD. I would love to meet other parents to talk about therapies, schools, MESD, etc.
Has a support group formed?

Thanks so much for any info!

Hi All,

(I think my last post did not come through -sorry of this is a repeat)

I too, have a child recently diagnosed with SPD.
He just turned 5 and we are dealing with issues surrounding OT, schools, MESD. I would love to find out if any support group has formed.

Thanks very much.

SPD Parent Support Group

first THURSDAY of the month meetings 7:00—8:30 pm
Feb. 5
March 5
April 2
May 7
June 4

all meetings held at:
Advanced Pediatric Therapies
4444 SW Multnomah Blvd., Portland, 97219
corner of SW Multnomah Blvd & 45th, near Multnomah Village


Come find out:
why our kids need a sensory gym and where to find or make one
how food allergies can affect our kids and how to get them tested
great SPD resources in the Portland area
non-traditional methods with amazing re-sults (Interactive Metronome, Brain Gym, Listening Pro-grams, neurotransmitter testing, and more!)
topics important to you

Contact Jennifer at eandjmatson@comcast.net if you have any questions.

SPD Portland Area Support Group Meeting (SPD = sensory processing disorder, kids with sensory challenges)

A newly formed support group for families with sensory challenges. Our second meeting is coming up (March 5th). If you are in the Portland metro area and know of a child with sensory challenges - please pass this information along.

Meeting Information:

Mark your calendars! Everyone's been talking about it - nutrition, enzymes, probiotics, neurotransmitters, food intolerances, gluten free, dairy free.... HELP! What do we do? How do we know what will work for MY child? How do we use these things to help our kids? What do we buy? How much do we give? Where do we start? Where do we get this stuff? What do we do!

Well, come find out. Dr. Sarah McAllister's here! A Pediatric Naturopath in Portland who can answer our questions - and more importantly, help our kids. Come find out all the practical information that can help your family daily.

March 5th, Thursday

7-8:30 pm

Advanced Pediatric Therapies

4444 SW Multnomah Blvd, Portland

fine print:

be prepared to stay later than 8:30 - Dr. Sarah has agreed to stay later to answer questions (Thanks Dr. Sarah!)
Dr. Sarah can answer a lot of practical questions - she lives the life and is a great cook!
Remember, no kids at meetings
If you haven't been to a meeting, yet - No Worries! Low key, great time for sharing & learning, & hanging out with others who understand sensory challenges. And, Advanced Pediatric Therapies has a great sensory gym - if you haven't seen it, it's worth checking out.
Special thanks to Advanced Pediatric Therapies for donating meeting space and for Lynette Burke's time for opening/closing APT for us!
See you March 5th!

Teresa Denney (spdportlandoregon, tdenney24@verizon.net)

P.S. Help spread the word - send folks the link to the yahoo messageboard site, post on other messageboards. Let's help our kids, by starting the conversation.

Does anyone know if the SID support group is going on?

Samantha - yes the SPD support group is still going on. Check out this website: http://spdconnect.com/

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