We all have our unique preferences and dislikes when it comes to the way we perceive the sensory information around us. But for some children, especially those with ASD, these aversions or preferences can become problematic, leading to difficulty participating in daily activities and routines. Seeing your child’s behavior through the sensory lens will allow you to understand them and support their needs. If you notice any of these behaviors in your child, it may be beneficial to seek additional support. Here are some common sensory red flags to be aware of.
Does your child seem to be on the move constantly? Do they love the fastest rides, seem to never sit still, or are they constantly running? This may be a sign that they have unmet vestibular sensory needs. A simple solution could be enjoyable vestibular activities like swinging, obstacle courses, or even a good old-fashioned game of tag.
In contrast, if your child gets scared at climbing playground equipment, roughhousing, or riding a swing, they are likely avoiding vestibular input. Vestibular input is the sixth and seventh senses that give us our sense of balance and body awareness.
Children often walk on their toes because they are sensitive to the feeling of their feet on the floor and prefer as little of their feet to touch the surface as possible. Sometimes children toe-walk because they like the pressure it puts on their ankle, which is more proprioceptive feedback. Or, it can also be the result of a vestibular system that isn’t processing properly.
Constant Biting or Chewing
If your child is constantly chewing on inedible objects, such as clothing, toys, or their fingers, it could indicate unmet oral sensory needs. A simple solution could be chewable jewelry or a water bottle with a specially designed bite valve.
Refuses to Wear Certain Clothing
Many children can be picky about the clothes they wear. However, if your child constantly complains that a piece of clothing is “too scratchy” or “doesn’t feel right,” your child may struggle with tactile sensory issues. They might become distressed over small things such as shoes, socks, or clothing tags. This can make getting ready for school extremely frustrating. Take some time to learn what materials or fabrics aggravate your child’s sensory needs and avoid buying those types of clothing.
The Connections Therapy Center
The Connections Therapy Center serves families of children and adolescents with disabilities and special needs. We are a team of experts in the fields of pediatric speech, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and behavioral sciences. As a team, we offer intensive hands-on therapy for children and adolescents, as well as informative and useful resources for families. If you are interested in learning more about what we can do to help your family, visit us online or give us a call at (301) 577-4333. Want to get more information on how to help your child thrive? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.