Oversensitivity or under sensitivity to any of the senses makes life extremely difficult for all family members dealing with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). One little sensitive child can disrupt the activities of the whole household: meals, dressing up times, bed times, car travels, family visits …
Parents of children with Sensory Processing Disorder ( SPD) know very well that besides sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell there are other senses many forget. There are 8 different senses when these last three are added:
- vestibular – sense of balance
- proprioception – the ability to know how your body parts are oriented
- interoception – internal sense of body function that tells you of pain, hunger, need to use the bathroom
We all learn through our senses. Sensory processing is how we transform sensory information from within our own bodies and the external environment into messages we can act on. Devastating consequences occur when something goes wrong with this processing. Children (and adults) can be hypo or hyper sensitive.
Red Flags for Sensory Processing Disorder
Some behaviours of children which could signal red flags for Sensory Processing Disorder:
- Misjudges spatial relationships so bumps into things
- Irritable when being dressed; uncomfortable in clothes, socks, shoes, boots, etc.
- Over-sensitive to touch, noise, smells, lights, other people
- Touches everything in sight
- Easily distracted, fidgety, craves movement
- Gags if made to eat food he/she doesn’t like
- May say “you stink” to person wearing perfume
Sensory Processing Disorder was called Sensory Integration Disorder or Sensory Integration Dysfunction. A universal term was sought enabling parents to receive insurance reimbursement for the diagnoses and the treatment. So the term now accepted is Sensory Processing Disorder.
What To Do
If You Think Your Child Has Sensory Processing Disorder
So that your sensitive child receives adequate treatments/accommodations/ therapy as soon as possible, arrange to have him seen by professionals. Start with your family doctor who will make arrangements for you to see others who deal with sensory issues in children. When strategies to help your child cope with his surroundings are already established, the transition into the school setting will be smoother.
Your child with SPD might be schedule to receive treatment from some of the following: Occupational therapist, Listening therapist, Physical therapists, Speech/language therapists and others trained to use a sensory integration therapy approach to help with your child’s treatment. Parents will often be referred to private clinics and practices or hospital outpatient departments to find treatment for SPD or for sensory issues.
If your child has pronounced sensivities, do not attempt to deal with these overwhelming distressing problems alone. Speak to other parents, read about it, join support groups, get professional help and when he goes to school inform his teachers.
What is the most useful suggestion you have received from a professional to help your sensitive child cope with his environment? Share by leaving us a comment.
Excellent site for all things about Sensory Processing Disorder: SPD Foundation
- THE SENSORY CHILD GETS ORGANIZED: Proven Systems for Rigid, Anxious, or Distracted Kids by Carolyn Dalgliesh
- Sensory Parenting: The Elementary Years: School Years Are Easier when Your Child’s Senses Are Happy! by Britt Collins MS, OTR and Jackie Linder Olson