Sensory Processing Disorder is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects the way the brain processes and responds to sensory information.
Sensory experiences are a fundamental part of our daily lives, encompassing everything from the taste of food to the feel of clothing against our skin and the sounds of the environment.
However, for children with Sensory Processing Disorder, these sensory inputs can become overwhelming or distorted, leading to stress, frustration, and meltdowns in their daily lives.
The Impact of Sensory Processing Disorder
Sensory Processing Disorder can manifest in various ways, including:
1 – Sensory Overresponsivity:
Your child may be hypersensitive to sensory stimuli, reacting strongly even to mild sensations like certain textures, bright lights, or loud noises. This can make new environments and situations challenging and anxiety-inducing.
2 – Sensory Underresponsivity:
In contrast, your child may be hyporesponsive, having reduced awareness of sensory stimuli, temperature changes, or their surroundings. This can lead to safety concerns, as they may not notice potential dangers.
3 – Sensory Seeking:
Children with Sensory Processing Disorder may seek out sensory experiences more actively than others, leading to fidgeting or restlessness. Unfortunately, their natural instincts for stimulation can sometimes be misunderstood.
4 – Sensory Discrimination Challenges:
Difficulty in distinguishing between different textures, tastes, or sounds can impact their eating habits, causing them to stick to familiar, safe foods.
Supporting Your Child’s Sensory Needs
Living with Sensory Processing Disorder can be emotionally challenging for both your child and your family. It’s vital to recognize that your child’s emotions are valid responses to their unique sensory experiences.
By having your child work with an occupational therapist experienced in sensory integration, you can help them cope and thrive throughout their life with the right support.
Effective Strategies for Helping Children with Sensory Processing Disorder
1 – Seek Guidance from Experts:
Start by consulting with a pediatrician or occupational therapist who specializes in sensory processing issues. Pediatric Physical & Occupational Therapy can evaluate your child to identify behaviors consistent with a Sensory Processing Disorder and provide a personalized support program to meet your child’s needs.
2 – Create a Sensory-Friendly Environment:
Adjust your child’s surroundings to reduce sensory triggers. Consider soft lighting, noise-canceling headphones, or sensory-friendly tools like fidget toys.
3 – Celebrate Small Victories:
Children with special needs often face challenges that others may not understand. Celebrate their achievements, no matter how small, to boost their self-esteem and confidence.
4 – Establish a Sensory Diet:
Develop a sensory diet in collaboration with a therapist. Incorporate sensory activities into their daily routine to build confidence and regulate sensory experiences without causing stress.
5 – Advocate for Your Child:
Advocate for your child at school and in social settings. Work closely with educators and therapists to ensure they receive appropriate accommodations and support.
6 – Empathy and Patience:
Understand that your child’s reactions are not intentional. Be patient, empathetic, and validate their feelings. Provide a safe space for them to express themselves during tantrums.
Education and Awareness
Educate yourself, your child’s teachers, and caregivers about your child’s Sensory Processing Disorder. The more people understand your child’s needs, the better they can provide support. With the right support, your child can start to regulate their response to sensations that used to trigger them much better, or have plans in place to reduce the impact.
If you recognize these behaviors in your child, even to a small degree that hasn’t led to an official diagnosis, we can help you get a deeper understanding of the condition and the best ways to support your child moving forward.
We understand your concerns for your child’s well-being, education, and future. To begin alleviating your anxiety, we invite you to learn more. Speaking to our experts at Pediatric Physical & Occupational Therapy can provide you with invaluable insights, answers, and proven ways to support your child, arrange an appointment today, you will not regret it!
Right now, we have a fantastic resource you to educate yourself on Sensory Processing challenges, click to download Discover Sensory Red Flags: Your Essential Toolkit for Parents, Teachers & ChildCare Providers Report from our website.
Call us now at 845.362.7787 or click HERE to start your journey toward helping your child thrive.
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