Sensory processing disorders are extremely common among children with ASD. It’s more common than you might expect among children without other developmental conditions as well. For this reason, we believe that every current or prospective parent should familiarize themselves with the symptoms of a sensory processing disorder in children. Today, we’ll break these signs up into two basic categories, and give examples of each!
Let’s start with sensory avoidance (sometimes referred to simply as ‘sensory avoiding’). When it comes to the signs and symptoms of a sensory processing disorder, this category is typically the first that comes to mind. You can probably guess what this is from the name of it: the tendency of children with sensory processing disorders to avoid their sensory triggers.
Your child’s sensory triggers can take many forms. But they will almost all involve one of the five senses: sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch. Here are some examples of sensory avoidance in practice:
- Retreating from loud environments to quiet places
- Outright refusal to wear clothes of a certain material
- Strong adverse reactions to certain foods, or reluctance to try new foods
- Avoiding or sheltering eyes from sunlight
These are only a few of the endless ways in which children with sensory processing disorders may exhibit sensory avoidance. You should keep in mind that they may have triggers that affect other senses, such as proprioception or the vestibular sense.
The other category of behaviors we’d like to address today is known as ‘sensory seeking.’ You can think of this as the opposite of sensory avoidance. Rather than fleeing from their sensory triggers, children who partake in sensory seeking will actively engage in sensations that give them pleasure or calm them down.
While it’s true that we all seek sensations that we enjoy, there’s a big difference between that and sensory seeking in a technical sense. Children with sensory processing disorders seek specific sensations either out of an intense need for stimulation, or to prevent sensory overload.
Here are some typical examples of sensory seeking in practice:
- Frequent fidgeting
- Tendency to play roughly with other children
- Ceaseless touching of objects
- Chewing on non-food items
If your child exhibits either sensory seeking or sensory avoidance, there is a good chance that they have a sensory processing disorder. The expert behavioral and occupational therapists at the Connections Therapy Center can give your child the help they need!
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.