11 Answers

My 8 yr old is afraid of the dark, going to the toilet on his own, also loud noises like hand dryers. I thought he’d grow out of it but it still continues. Do I need to worry?

Posted by mom111362, 28th August 2020

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  • Get an appointment to see a paediatric OT who has experience with sensory things with kids

  • Not sure but can you chat to the school or a doctor?

  • I don’t think you need to worry at this age. It is normal to be scared of the dark, noises etc. Some children are just more sensitive to different types of noises.. If it continues after a few years then perhaps look into it. It may settle down on its own.

  • See your GP for a referral. Eight years of age they should be ‘growing out’ of these issues. Best of luck and hopefully they can help.

  • I’d suggest seeing an occupational therapist and doing some reading about Sensory Processing Disorder. The things your describe are not uncommon, but mean your son may need a little more support with the things that make him anxious. SPD can be stand alone, or it can be linked to other neurological diversities. My daughter doesn’t like the dark, so we have nightlights she’s can touch to turn back on, that turn themselves off after around 20 minutes. We bought an LED toilet light off wish, that lights up the bowl if she gets up overnight or early in the morning. We avoid hand dryers. They’re probably the hardest because people still use them over when she has her hands clamped over her ears and a pained look on her face, or I’m talking her through it through the toilet door as she screams. ???? But things are getting better slowly. We’ve seen a psychologist for all the anxieties that go along with my daughters sensory issues. So I recommend finding a good OT, and maybe a psychologist, to help. There are also FB groups available to chat with other parents for support.


  • OT is definately helpful in the younger years. Our child went to the OT for about 3yrs(6-9yrs) and she taught him how to deal with his little quirks. A few years on and he is much better, more so at accepting that he is a bit different and changing how he does things so that he will be comfortable in a situation. He didn’t have an issue with dark but his was sound and texture. Both my kids hate hand dryers and when we went to get a hearing test they said the kids hearing is very acute, they can hear at a much higher pitch than normal. Maybe that could be something to look into.

  • A handy torch might help curb that. Otherwise an Occupational Therapist or child psychologist can help with the fear of the unknown, but nothing too out of the ordinary.

  • My 6yr old has also fear of the dark and loud noises and some other sensory issues. She has Down Syndrome and that’s not uncommon. Does your boy have other symptoms ? Your child may have sensory processing issues which may or may not be concerning. But we all want for our kids to be happy and balanced. This is quite an interesting article https://www.understood.org/en/learning-thinking-differences/child-learning-disabilities/sensory-processing-issues/understanding-sensory-processing-issues. I agree to get help when you feel he finds too much hinder from it in every day life.

  • Best to take him to a specialist for answers.

  • I think it would be worth getting a mental health plan done with your gp and attending some psychologist sessions. They can then advise on whether you need an assessment for sensory processing disorder or something else. It may be something he can grow out of or it may need some ongoing support.

  • They may benefit from seeing an OT or maybe a child psyche if it is impacting on their life. Remember all people are different and its OK to have strong likes and dislikes. But the toilet issue is probably going to become a problem for your child later on so it would be a good idea to sort out now what you can do to support your child.

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