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Is It Sensory Processing Disorder? [Pediatric Occupational Therapy]

December 07, 2018 by Kinetic Kids, Inc.
Is It Bad Behavior or Sensory Processing Disorder? [Pediatric Occupational Therapy, Anxiety, Pediatric Speech Therapy, Pediatric Therapy, Sensory Therapy, Sensory Processing Disorder, SPD, Sensory Integration]


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Behaviors that Children With Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) May Demonstrate:

We as parents, educators, and caregivers must understand that the poor behaviors these children demonstrate are not intentional. Most of these behaviors are an effort by these children to regulate their nervous systems, not because they are intentionally trying to be “bad”, mean, non-compliant, or difficult. It is likely that their nervous systems and bodies are on overload. Some behaviors that children with sensory processing disorder (SPD) may demonstrate in the classroom include:

  • Inattentive
  • Distractible
  • Non compliant, Uncooperative
  • “Out of Control”
  • Hyperactive, constant movement
  • Low arousal, tired, disengaged
  • Over-reactive or Under-responsive
  • Squirmy and fidgety
  • Difficulty stabilizing their body when sitting (leaning on others, laying down, moving around)
  • Crashing to the ground, into others, into walls
  • Aggressive
  • Poor impulse control
  • Clumsy
  • Anxious/Nervous
  • Irritable
  • Low self esteem
  • Avoiding or Withdrawing (particularly when feeling challenged)
  • Wandering
  • Scattered/Disorganized
  • Tantrums
  • Inflexible
  • Sensitive to sounds
  • Difficulty making transitions
  • Difficulty making friends
  • Difficulty standing in line
  • Difficulty interacting with peers
  • Inappropriately loud voice

All of us depend on adequate sensory integration to carry out daily tasks in work, play and self-care.  So let's have compassion for those that need a little more help to do so! :)


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Ways to Build Your Child's Social Confidence

The following suggestions are ways to help you enhance your little one's social confidence:

  • Teach socially acceptable values and actions:  Having your child be patient while other kids receive attention, taking turns, and sharing toys.  Children who snatch toys or do not know how to share often have trouble making friends.
  • Be sure your child has a plan to follow during social situations:  Discuss and role-play what to do in a new situation (how to get involved in a game or conversation, how to participate in a project or how to start a conversation). Encourage your child to have a preset plan to strike up a conversation, which can be an effective tool for social success!
  • Have your child use mental rehearsals as a way to prep for social challenges:  Mental rehearsals build self-confidence and self-assurance.  Mental rehearsals can be used when dealing with a bully, coping with an unfair event against your child, handling an embarrassing situation with the opposite sex, communicating with older children who misunderstands him/her, interacting with an authority figure or dealing with a negotiation.

Other Suggestions

  • Get your child involved in age-appropriate team sports or other group activities so that not only can they share their interest, but also effectively function in a team environment.
  • Allow your kids to invite other children to your home so that they can learn positive and healthy social interactions under your supervision.
  • Encourage play opportunities with other children as these experiences will not only develop your child's social confidence, but will also enhance their leadership and cooperation skills.
  • Teach and model healthy friendships and relationships for your child.  You are their primary resource for positive social interactions!  Your kids not only look up to you  but watch you, closely!  Your healthy example will help your little one grow into a positive, happy, socially-conscience adult!

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Topics: Sensory Processing Disorder, SPD, pediatric occupational therapy

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