We all know about the five external senses: taste, touch, sight, smell, and hearing. Children with sensory senstivities can struggle with one or many of these things.
- Noise – even at a normal level noise can be intolerable and painful
- Tastes and smells can be overwhelming
- Touch (although they may also like pressure from heavy clothing or blankets)
Sensory processing sensitivties may affect one sense or it may affect multiple senses. And people can be over or under-responsive to the things they have difficulties with.
Many children with issues start out as fussy babies who become anxious as they grow older. These kids often don't handle change well. They may frequently throw tantrums or have meltdowns. Many children have symptoms like these from time to time. But therapists consider a diagnosis of sensory processing disorder when the symptoms become severe enough to affect normal functioning and disrupt everyday life.
Getting dressed in the morning can often pose problems. They may find clothes:
- Difficult to put on
- Too tight
- Too loose
- Too stinky
- Too rough
- Too smooth
While they are distracted by these feelings they will find it very difficult to enjoy social situations or to learn at school.
Reducing a child’s sensory overload through the creation of special products can contribute to their quality of life by creating a calm space in which he can concentrate on his social skills or education.
There is some debate among doctors about whether SPD is a real disorder. Some doctors Say that SPD is merely a symptom of other disorders (autism , hyperactivity, ADHD, anxiety, etc.) and not a disorder itself. Other believe that you may suffer from SPD only. Regardless, it is clear to see that some children have trouble handling regular sensory information.
Occupational therapy with a Sensory Integration approach is the primary treatment. The wonderful thing about OT is that it is play-based and fun. Depending on your child’s sensory needs, they might incorporate games that have tactile input, or games that focus on fine motor skills like cutting and colouring. By providing opportunities to experience sensory input at a level that is challenging but not over stimulating.