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Over two years ago, I wrote this post about one of my students who exhibited signs of sensory-seeking behavior. At the time, I had very little knowledge about Sensory Processing Disorder in kids. Since then, I’ve worked with a number of students that struggle with sensory integration. Additionally, I’ve learned an invaluable amount of information through working with my friend and Occupational Therapist extraordinaire, Larissa Ksar, MS, OTR/L.
What is Sensory Processing Disorder?
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a condition in which the brain has trouble receiving and responding to sensory stimuli. Even though Sensory Processing Disorder affects adults, it is most commonly observed in children. Some children may demonstrate an extreme sensitivity to stimuli (e.g. getting overwhelmed in large crowds). Others may demonstrate a need for more sensory input (e.g. can’t stop moving). Identifying whether your child has an “over-aroused” sensory system or an “under-aroused” sensory system will help you determine the appropriate sensory diet for him/her.
- May be overly sensitive to light touch and messy play activities (e.g. finger paint, digging in the dirt).
- Sensitive to loud noises (e.g. firetruck, school bell, etc.)
- Click here to learn more about calming activities and equipment you can use to support your overstimulated child.
- Difficult to get moving in the morning.
- Described as “daydreamers” by teachers
- Find it difficult to focus during seated activities
- Have a slow reaction time and a low energy level
- Bumping into others; no concept of limbs in space
- Described as “a human tornado” with lack of safety awareness.
- Requires more intense sensory activities to register information through the senses.
- Click here to learn more about the strategies and equipment you can use to support your “under-aroused” child.
You may want to read:
Question of the Day:
- Do you know a child who exhibits sensory-seeking or sensory-avoiding behaviors?