What is a Sensory Processing Disorder?
Sensory Processing Disorder in Children
Perhaps your child will only wear certain clothing, hates having their hair cut is a very fussy eater or is prone to meltdowns seemingly without reason.
A Sensory Processing Disorder in children (sometimes called SPD) and related sensory issues can ‘display’ in a range of behaviours that can have you struggling as a parent and wondering how you can help your child.
At Baobab we work exclusively with children and can help you in understanding what the underlying issues are as well as
give you the skills to provide a sensory environment for your child that might help them to process sensory input more effectively.
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) - Signs to Look Out For
A Sensory Processing Disorders in children can present differently for each individual but in essence it is your child’s brain misinterpreting, and often being overwhelmed by the sensory information it receives.
There are seven senses and although they are all closely related and affected by each other, each child can experience sensory input in their own unique way. This can result in them perceiving what might seem to be quite ordinary sensations as frightening or painful. This means that a Sensory Processing Disorder presents differently for each person.
If you suspect that your child may have a sensory processing problem, you may have seen them:
- Have issues touching or wearing certain textures, materials and clothing items
- Be averse to grooming including bath time, teeth or hair brushing
- Experience extreme tantrums or ‘meltdowns’ in certain environments
- Bump into people or avoiding lining up
- Be very selective about what they eat, how it is prepared and presented
- Have difficulty transitioning between activities or with changes in routine
If you think that your child does have a Sensory Processing issue then the most important step is to get an OT assessment, as this then enables you to start understanding how your child's sensory system works and start implementing strategies to help your child.
How Can Occupational Therapy Help with SPD?
Occupational Therapy can provide individualised sensory input for children with sensory processing issues to help reduce their sensitivities and to work towards :-
- Enhancing their ability to participate at school, in play and in sport and leisure activities;
- Self-regulating their emotional reactions;
- Modifying their behaviours for improved performance and concentration.