How can I help a child with a sensory disorder?

Sensory processing impairment is a condition in which it is difficult for a person to process incoming streams of information. A child with this disorder responds excessively or insufficiently to sensory stimuli.

The world is becoming an uncomfortable place for children who experience atypical reactions to external stimuli. The disorder affects daily life: the sweater is itchy, the sounds seem louder, and the toothpaste smells more mint than usual – in the case of increased susceptibility. Hearing, smell, touch, tactile dysfunction, and gustatory disorientation are observed in children if there are sensory impairments.

It is difficult for parents to understand where to start helping a child whose sensitivity and impressionability are excessive or, conversely, insufficient. What can adults do to make the child feel comfortable and safe? How to establish its social adaptation? Answers in this article. 

Sensory Disorder in Children: Causes and Signs

Sensory disorders are caused by disorders of the nervous system. Mental retardation, speech underdevelopment, back or head injuries, infectious, viral diseases of the mother during pregnancy, suffered by the child during labor or after birth – features and events that can provoke CNS disorders. How can parents understand that a child’s sensory integration is impaired? He demonstrates the following manifestations:

  • confuses right-left and top-bottom;
  • cannot perform tasks in which you need to use both hands;
  • uses alternately, then the right, then the left hand while writing, drawing, lunch;
  • sways on a chair for a long time;
  • has difficulty concentrating on a moving object;
  • unable to hold attention;
  • often covers ears – from loud sounds and not only;
  • avoids touching;
  • prefers the loneliness of the company of children;
  • doesn’t like it when someone gets too close to him.

Parents should be aware that children with sensory disorders have difficulty developing writing, counting, and reading skills. Therefore, the sooner they visit specialists – a neuropsychologist, speech therapist, neuropathologist – the more chances that a child with impaired feelings will be helped.

Types of disorder in a child

The first step in helping your child overcome problems is to identify their dislikes and triggers. In order to do this, you need to find out – who is the child?

There are two types of children with disabilities, some are sensory seekers and others are avoidants. The difference is that the former have a higher threshold of information perception. They need more facts to decipher the messages to process. Such children feel bad external stimuli, may have visual impairments, hearing, smell, touch. They should not be rushed, they should not be treated rudely.

The second type has lower sensory thresholds, a small number of signals elicits a large response. They avoid additional stimulation as it overwhelms them.

Avoidant children are sensitive to sounds, light and odors, so they can be treated with medication that has a calming effect. They react violently to intense forms of sensory stimulation, are constantly in motion, jumping, fighting, falling and pushing others.

“Seekers”, on the other hand, really need parents to constantly supplement the information they are trying to process, therefore, in order for a child to receive full-fledged upbringing and communication, you need to constantly be with him – to teach, help, explain, prompt.

It is important to remember that children with disabilities differ from each other, although the symptoms may be similar. They may like one activity, and another – cause negativity. A child’s reaction to familiar things can change daily, depending on the circumstances.

Ultimately, the process of choosing options will help determine what makes him feel comfortable and safe. Once the parents have developed an understanding of what the child needs, daily activities and home procedures can be adapted for him.  

How can parents help their child

How to introduce a child with sensory disorder into everyday life?

  • It is worth experimenting with changing clothes, clothes, or toys. Choose different fabrics and wool to enhance tactile contact with the skin and carefully observe the baby’s reaction.
  • Ask your child more often for help with household chores – not only in the room, but also outside the house. For example, rearrange furniture or vacuum, as well as mow the lawn or weed a flower bed.
  • Play sandwich. The essence of the game is to put the child between two pillows and press on them with different strengths. A prerequisite is to be interested in what he likes best, when the pressure is harder or softer, what does he feel?
  • Offer products with different tastes and textures to stimulate receptors. Typically, the taste should be pronounced, such as sour, salty, or bitter.
  • Cover the child’s limbs with your hands, experimenting with the degree of compression. Also, observe the reaction to understand how he is feeling.
  • Massage the head, whole body.
  • Choose tight-fitting clothing.
  • Take the child to nature, where he could climb trees or descend a hill.
  • Offer to play with rice or sand. First, you can hide a coin or button in them, and then ask the kid to find them.
  • Listen to slow and melodic music, reward the child for moving to the beat of the melody.

Recommendations for parents

It is important to learn to recognize the signs of the disorder, having noticed that the child becomes overly active, his skin color has changed, hiccups , belching or yawning appear , as well as strange behavior, you need to quickly take action. You can calm the baby down in simple ways, such as wrapping it in a blanket, holding it, and rocking it until the condition returns to normal.   

It is difficult for parents to cope with the manifestation of symptoms on their own, so it is worth contacting qualified specialists who will give advice and help to cope with the symptoms.

event_note March 1, 2021

account_box Winona Tse MD

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