by Katie Timp, OTR/L
Sensory processing is the ability for someone to take in the sensory input in their environment and process it effectively. If a child has difficulty with sensory processing, there is some kind of disconnect between the sensory input coming into their body and how their body chooses to process it, if at all. Poor sensory processing can often lead to poor sensory regulation, which causes children to be unable to control their behaviors based on the lack or excessiveness of the sensory input in their environments.
The Hidden Senses
There are 3 types of senses that we don’t always think of right away. These are the proprioceptive system, vestibular system, and tactile system. The proprioceptive system is the muscles, tendons and joints in the body that help determine where our bodies are in space. The vestibular system provides information about where are bodies are in space based on movement such as up, down, linear, or circular. The tactile system consists of sensory receptors that identify touch sensation such as pressure, temperature, pain and vibration. If any or all of these systems are not processing sensory input appropriately, you might see specific behaviors from your child that are atypical.
A child with sensory processing difficulties either has a high or low threshold for sensory input. Children with a high threshold for sensory input can take a lot of input into their bodies. These children often have behaviors called sensory seeking behaviors (jumping, spinning, crashing into others and items in environment, climbing). On the other end, children with low thresholds for sensory input cannot take a lot of input and are sensitive to certain types of sensory input. These children will avoid sensory opportunities and appear fearful or timid towards certain movement activities. These children often have gravitational insecurities and do not like to be lifted off the ground or jump from high locations.
What Can I Do If My Child Has Some of These Behaviors?
Not to worry! At Kinetic Kids Inc, your child will receive an evaluation that includes a full sensory questionnaire to determine the types of sensory processing difficulties they might have. Once the evaluation is complete, we will discuss your child receiving occupational therapy if it is warranted to address goals and objectives specific to your child. Occupational therapy will incorporate various types of sensory input strategies that you can take home, to school, and use throughout your child’s day to help them be prepared to cope within their environment effectively!
Have You Noticed These Behaviors?
Consider the following checklist, which will give you some direction if you are concerned that your child has sensory processing difficulties:
We hope this information proves helpful! Thanks for reading our blog post.
Untill next time . . .