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Is your child a picky eater?
Does your child get irritated by the tags on their clothes?
Does your child cover their ears when they hear loud noises?
Does your child run into objects & people as if they don’t see them?
Does your child walk on their toes?
Does your child appear like they have ‘selective hearing’?
If you answered YES to one or more of these questions then your child most likely has issues with their sensory system. Our brains were made to take in sensory information from multiple systems (visual, tactile, auditory, taste, proprioception, vestibular, and olfactory) and interpret that information to understand the world around them. When a child, or adult, has a dysfunction with multiple sensory systems, they are not able to interpret the information correctly. Difficulty processing sensory information can create difficulties in performance of daily activities, school, and sports.
It is common for each of us to have minor issues with sensory information…..imagine the sound of nails on a chalkboard, or the itchy feeling of tags on a shirt. The general population is able to interpret this information as irritating and adjust their environment in order to fix the problem. Unfortunately, our kiddos with sensory issues first intrepet the information as highly irritating, then do not know how to adjust their environment to compensate. Children with sensory issues may throw a temper tantrum, run away, cover their ears, or may move constantly – never appearing comfortable in their skin. When it affects their learning & everyday lives, it becomes a dysfunction.
Sensory processing disorder (SPD; also known as sensory integration dysfunction) is defined as a condition that exists when multisensory integration is not adequately processed in order to provide appropriate responses to the demands of the environment.
In order for human beings to learn we need to properly interpret information from our environment using the sensory systems. As you can see in the picture above our sensory system is the base of our learning. Next in the developmental stage is Sensory Motor, then Perceptual Motor, and Cognition at the top. Imagine having poor body awareness and sitting in a classroom trying to learn. As you are sitting in your seat you are making constant adjustments to make sure you don’t fall out of your seat and possibly propping yourself up with your elbow. All this time your energy is focused on your posture and you’ve missed half the lecture from the professor. It is highly important to develop our sensory systems fully in order for the brain to function at its highest capacity.
So what type of treatment helps? The SPD Foundation has done research on the topic demonstrating that children with sensory processing disorder, or sensory issues, need lots of repetition and sensory experiences generally performed by an Occupational Therapist. Sensory integration therapy is intended to teach the brain to react more efficiently to sensations. We have also learned that children develop faster through movement-based learning programs incorporating reflex integration and neuro-developmental movements. This is what encompasses the treatment at Brain Connex Therapy.
So what can I do at home? Pictured below are several little things you can do at home to help assist your child in receiving many sensory experiences through their daily activities. The more the better. Movement and opportunity for free play is KEY to learning.
Contact us today if you have questions about how we can help your child.