Dr. Suzanne Quigley of Red Bank Orthodontics realizes firsthand that every child’s needs are different, and is passionate about addressing the individual needs of every patient when developing a personalized treatment plan catering to the whole person, not just their orthodontic needs. Read on as Dr. Quigley discusses her own experience having a daughter with sensory issues, and how she’s implemented a sensory friendly practice for her patients.
I didn’t know it at the time but in the minutes after each of my daughters were born, they revealed themselves. The first one came out lungs blazing and continued to intermittently do so for the better part of the following few months. I was told by both the internet and the pediatrician that she had colic. I was literally exhausted with trying to comfort her and finally hit the proverbial wall when she
was five months old. Finally, one night we did the bedtime routine, placed her in her rage cage (AKA her crib) and with baby monitor in hand went outside and let her cry it out. It was a very long 59 minutes and the most delicious bottle of wine my husband and I could remember splitting to date.
While this didn’t cure her colic it definitely reduced the wailing for seemingly no reason at bedtime. Less than two years later our second daughter was born. It was so quiet in the delivery room that I asked if something was wrong with her. A moment later she made a couple of fussing sounds then once she was clean and swaddled, she fell asleep. Thankfully, the rest of her infancy followed suit as we were spending a lot of our energy managing what we figured out to be our toddler’s sensory issues.
While my older daughter is considered neurotypical, her sensory issues peppered much of the first few years of her life. We learned that she seemed to like a straight-jacket tight swaddle and that she didn’t care for bright light and loud noise. She wasn’t a fan of being in her car seat but if we were on a long enough car ride she would fall asleep. My husband and I would panic if we saw red brake lights on a highway because we knew that just like in the movie “Speed” if we slowed down too much we would have a problem. Upon singing happy birthday to her for the first time she let out a blood curdling scream and cried. At the age of three when she won something at the boardwalk and we cheered for her she again screamed and then launched her rubber duckie hitting my dad’s head. To this day, as a tween, she only tolerates the same brand socks and jeans as when she was a preschooler, wears sunglasses when she’s outside, even on cloudy or rainy days, and keeps that noise machine on 24/7.
My experiences with her sensory issues made me more aware of and more sympathetic to my patients who have sensitivities and the parents who care for them. It is important for me to know what a child’s sensory triggers are so that I can make modifications if possible. Sometimes small adjustments like having a patient wear a pair of sunglasses, a weighted blanket, or ear plugs during a visit can make all the difference. Oral sensory issues greatly impact a patient’s their ability to tolerate one orthodontic treatment plan over another or if they will tolerate orthodontic treatment at all. If your child has sensory issues, please share them with me. The right orthodontist for your child
will take their sensory issues into consideration when recommending treatment and will help to minimize sensory triggers during the process.
130 Maple Ave.
Red Bank, NJ 07701