How Sensory Processing Disorders May Affect Kids
Taste, Signt, Touch, Smell, and Sound are not our only senses.
Did you know there are two more senses? These two additional senses refer to body awareness (proprioception), and balance/spatial orientation (vestibular sense).
ProprioceptionProprioception is the ability to sense where your body is in space, and the ability to safely maneuver around your physical environment. For example, we can tell when our arm is raised above our head without looking at it because of our sense of proprioception.
Vestibular SenseVestibular Sense helps control balance, eye movement, and spatial orientation. It helps you stay stable and upright.
Sensory Processing Disorder
Children with Sensory Processing Disorders have trouble organizing information received from the senses. That is, they can be oversensitive to input, undersensitive to input, or both.
These issues can make it hard for children to succeed in school. For example, a child who is undersensitive to the sound of a school bell may take longer to transition to the next class simply because they were not alerted by the initial sound of the bell. A child who is oversensitive to the sounds of peers laughing or talking loudly during recess may be observed to cover their ears because they are overwhelmed with the auditory input.
There are many other ways sensory-motor difficulties can be observed. The following examples may be suggestive of difficulty with sensory integration.
Undersensitive ChildrenChildren who are undersensitive to sensory processing input may seek out more sensory stimulation, which may look like:
- Constantly touching people or feeling different textures
- Personal space issues
- High pain tolerance
- Unable to sit still/are fidgety
- Love jumping, bumping and crashing activities
- Enjoy deep pressure
- Crave fast, spinning, and/or intense movement
Some behaviors might look like hyperactivity or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) when many of these behaviors are sensory seeking. It is important to speak with your medical team for more information.
Oversensitive ChildrenChildren who are oversensitive to sensory processing input may avoid sensory stimulation, which may look like:
- Unable to tolerate loud noises
- Refuse to wear clothing/find tags and labels irritating/clothes feel too tight
- Easily distracted by background noises
- Fearful of playground equipment
- Clumsy and bump into people
- Have extreme meltdowns when overwhelmed