Therapy for 6 year old with sensory/behavioral issues?

I am hoping someone with a challenging kiddo can point me to a talented OT or therapist that could support my son directly and my husband and I in parenting him. He was born early, is not good at sleeping, and was diagnosed with general sensory processing issues around age 3. What this means for our life is our sometimes sweet wonderful boy often explodes into hours long tantrums of his waffle toppings are in the wrong order or if his sleeve is too tight or other minor issue. He screams and hits and tries to break things in our house on a regular basis. He is not in touch with his bodily needs and will not eat or drink even close to normal amounts without exhaustive efforts on our part. Starting kindergarten has exarcerbated all this and he is losing weight and goes through his 8.5 hour day of school and after care without peeing. We cannot just have a mellow day ever because if we don’t get him outside and running by 9am he gets into a mood and cannot recover, but we have to drag him out of the house to accomplish this because he doesn’t like to leave his legos. I am not sure what we need, but our efforts so far are not working and I am hoping a professional could help. Thank you! 

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My two year old was recently diagnosis with autism, and while his issues are different from your sons, I have learned a lot about the disorder and I'm wondering if you have had your son assessed for autism recently?  We recently started ABA (applied behavioral analysis) and can already see an improvement.  I am by no means a professional, but it might be worth getting him assessed by a professional (again) just to be sure. Good luck.

I highly recommend Lee-Anne Bloom of Oak Bloom OT. She's a Pediatric Occupational Therapist in Oakland who specializes in self-regulation (sensory and emotional). She has been immensely helpful in supporting our child with attention and sensory challenges over the past couple years. With her help, we went from regular calls from school to reports that our child is a pleasure to have in class. She has taught our child, and us, a number of tools and strategies, as well as observed the classroom and met with teachers. We observed sessions to be able to implement and reinforce at home. She's now in private practice - search online for Lee-Anne Oak Bloom OT.



Amazing results for my son.  Very similar situation. They accept insurance too.

That all sounds really really hard!  A lot of what you describe is familiar to me, so I'd like to recommend a few resources that have really helped our family:

1. OT: Kristina Fuller at Full Circle in Oakland.  She is simply amazing!  We have been working with her for a year and a half and our son has grown in so many areas and I have learned so much from observing her working with him.

I believe all the OTs at Full Circle do sensory integration OT. 

I know that Holistic Hope Center in Berkeley is also great for this and I have friends with children with SPD who've worked with the therapists there and have had great benefits.

2. Have you considered a speech therapist (SLP)?  They can also help rigid children to become more flexible.

3. Life-changing class offered in Walnut Creek/Lafayette beginning early 2019 (there are also some free webinars available).  My husband took it last year and the binder/book they give you is worth its weight in gold:

4. Books: The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child

Self-Reg by Stuart Shanker

Differently Wired by Deborah Reber

4. Positive Discipline classes for you and your husband (or at least read the books)

5. Have you considered ABA to help your son to do less-preferred activities as well as to practice "activities of daily living" such as peeing and eating?

I am wishing you all my best!  It's a hard road but tiny steps forward will lead to transformation!

Have you had your son assessed by a professional recently?  If he got an SPD diagnosis at age 3, that was half his lifetime ago!  I wonder if he has an IEP at school or if he is more regulated and flexible at there than he is at home and therefore he doesn't need accommodations or services at school?  From what you describe, he might have SPD but of course sensory processing challenges are also a feature of MANY other things and some of the things you describe sound autism-like and/or ADHD-like and/or OCD-like and/or anxiety-like to me.  Lots of people have all of these things concurrently.  I know it sucks to have a diagnosis, but I think that getting an assessment from a developmental psychologist or physician and then really knowing what all of your son's "issues" are could really help you to figure out what services your son needs to help him (and you!) to live your best lives.  I think the losing-weight part of what you wrote is particularly concerning.  My heart goes out to you.  I also have a 6 year old who is mostly uninterested in food or drink but we have worked long and hard to train him to eat with us 3 times a day (and he has an aide at school who helps, too) and now on those rare occasions when he won't come to the table, we bribe him or even feed him ourselves so that he doesn't become a monster from having low blood sugar!  It's been a long road, though, and there were tantrums/breakdowns in the earlier years but these days it's (thank goodness) mostly smooth sailing.

 Our family highly recommends Rebecah Freeling, the founder of wits end parenting.   We really believe she helped set our family in a new direction and two years later we can happily say things are so much better than when we first reached out to. Just recently we referred her to another family who started seeing immediate results. We reached out when our spirited six-year-old was seemingly getting worse and worse and it was taking a toll on the whole family.  Now we call her our family coach and we tell the kids that Rebecca helps us all treat each other more nicely. Just the other day our five-year-old said she missed Rebecah and wanted to go back! What was most helpful in seeing her was that she took the time to really observe our family and make recommendations targeted to specific behaviors. 

 She has a book called your rules are dumber how to maintain your parental authority without creating a partnership with your spirited child. You can find it on Amazon. Her phone number is  614-769-3563 and her email is rebecah [at]