Behavior / Sensory

Sensory Processing Disorder

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Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), exists when sensory signals are either not detected or don’t get organized into appropriate responses.  Pioneering occupational therapist, educational psychologist, and neuroscientist A. Jean Ayres, PhD, likened SPD to a neurological “traffic jam” that prevents certain parts of the brain from receiving the information needed to interpret sensory information correctly.  A person with SPD finds it difficult to process and act upon information received through the senses, which creates challenges in performing countless everyday tasks.  Motor clumsiness, behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, school failure, and many other problems may impact those who do not have effective treatment. (star institute Sensory issues are usually defined as either hypersensitivity (over-responsiveness) or hyposensitivity (under-responsiveness to sensory stimuli.
 (©2017 Brain Balance Achievement Centers)

Questions  and thoughts that may pop up for parents about their child’s behavior may include:
    – What is up with my child?
   – That was weird/unusual.
   – Why can’t he/she concentrate?
   – Why is he/she getting so upset?
   – He/she is being so stubborn.
   – Why is he/she so aggressive?
   – He/she has an intense interest in only a couple of subject areas/things/toys/activities

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Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 10.05.56 AM.png– Fearful of crowds or standing in close proximity to others
– Discomfort with certain textures
– Irrational fear of heights and movements
– Sensitivity to light
– Aversion to certain smells, tastes, and textures
– Frequent startle reactions
– Fearful of climbing or falling
– Poor balance
– Extreme responses to or fear of sudden, high pitched, loud, or metallic noises, i.e. flushing toilets, clanking silverware
– Distracted by background noises others don’t seem to hear
– Fearful of surprise touches, hugs, cuddling even with familiar adults

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 10.05.44 AM.png– Disregard of sudden or loud sounds
– Unaware of painful bumps, bruises, cuts, etc…
– Absence of startled reactions
– Lack of attention to environment, persons, or things
– Delayed responses
– A constant need to touch people or textures, even when it’s inappropriate to do so
– Doesn’t understand personal space even when same-age peers are old enough to understand it
– Clumsy and uncoordinated movements
– An extremely high tolerance for or indifference to pain
– Often harms other children and/or pets when playing, i.e. doesn’t understand his or her own strength
– May be very fidgety and unable to sit still, enjoys movement-based play like spinning, jumping, etc.
– Seems to be a “thrill seeker” and can be dangerous at times

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Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 9.37.49 AM.png– Becomes upset (or not notice) when hands, face, and clothes are messy with paint, food, or glue
– Becomes anxious (or craves) walking barefoot on various surfaces and/or walks on toes
– Fusses or tantrums during dressing activities
– Avoids being touched
– Feels pain more than others
– Strongly dislikes grooming activities such as hair brushing/washing, teeth brushing, cutting nails

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 9.26.45 AM.png– Hand Fidgets
– Squeeze Balls
– Gel Wave Pads
– Play-Doh / Kinesthetic Sand / Theraputty
– Paint / Draw / Color
– Bean Bag Chairs, large pillows, tunnels
– Pressure through weighted vests, blankets,hats,  bear hugs
– Wrap tightly in a blanket
– AromaTherapy Bean Bags
– Sensory Brush / Vibrating Toys
– Pedestal Bands Texture Blocks

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Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 9.38.06 AM.png– Child is awkward and/or clumsy
– Appears to be physically weaker than peers
– Uses too little or too much force on things, i.e. attaching snaps, building with legos
– Avoids (or craves) jumping, crashing, pulling, bouncing, hanging
– Often chews on objects, clothing

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 9.26.45 AM– Soft mats (like those in a gymnasium)
– Gymnastics Activities
– Yoga / Stretching
– Weighted Pressure from vests,blankets, hats, medicine balls
– Rocking Chair
– Availability of various kinds of hand fidgets, balls, and
– Exercise Ball Activities
– Obstacle Course
– Therapy bands for stretching, pulling
– Push-Ups (on the floor or against a wall)
– Throw bean bags into a bucket
– Calisthenic exercises i.e. crabwalk, jumping jacks, skipping, seal crawl
– Jump Rope
– Play-Doh / Kinesthetic Sand / Theraputty
– Carry heavy objects i.e. several books, reams of paper, grocery bag

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Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 9.38.29 AM.png– Can’t sit still
– Dislikes (or craves) activities where feet come off the ground
– Seems overly fearful
– Gets dizzy easily
– Afraid of climbing, heights, stairs, playground equipment
– Becomes carsick easily or falls asleep quickly in the car

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 9.26.45 AM– Enrollment in gymnastics,  martial arts, music & movement classes
– Run on a track, treadmill, in the neighborhood, and on various surfaces such as grass,
– Sand, mats, carpet
– Bounce on an exercise ball
– Have a rocking chair available
– Play with scooters, hula hoops, tricycles, and other ride on toys
– Play catch with various sized balls
– Allow breaks from strenuous activity

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Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 9.38.46 AM.png– Has excessive reactions or virtually no reaction to unusual noises
– Does not speak as well as same age peers
– Seems to ignore when name is called
– May have on going ear infections
– Appears uncomfortable and/or distracted in crowded rooms and spaces
– Often has a high or low voice volume
– Has trouble with phonics when learning to read

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 9.26.45 AM– Noise canceling headphones
– Listening Games
– Rainsticks and other low-noise/calming noise producing instruments
– Nature sound cd’s, radio stations
– Provide a quiet, tent/fort area in the house
– B-Calm MP3 Player
– Provide a tap on the shoulder and a low voice when addressing  the child
– Warn child of potential undesirable noises
– Provide breaks from crowded, noisy environments

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Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 9.39.16 AM.png– Complaints of headaches
– Difficulty paying attention
– Difficulty writing
– Disinterested in items in surrounding environment

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 9.26.45 AM– LED Water Tube / LED Bubble Panel
– Lava Lamps
– LED Carpet
– Use of flashlights for fun, to focus on certain objects, as a substitute for other lights
– Picture schedules for routines and daily activities
– Sand Timers
– Puzzles / Mazes
– Books and games with hidden pictures i.e. Where’s Waldo?
– Removal of fluorescent lighting
– Dim lit room
– Use of a tent or fort to escape lighting and other visual stimuli that may overwhelm

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Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 9.46.22 AM.png– Avoids foods most children enjoy
– Has a limited repertoire of acceptable foods, appears to be a very “picky eater”
– Becomes upset (or craves) certain smells or tastes
– Gags, vomits, becomes nauseated easily  

– AromaTherapy Bean Bags
– Scented stickers
– Scented lotions
– Scented markers
– Scented flavor drink
– Breathing Activities

– Reward bite-sized tries with highly preferred foods
– Refrain from making child try food or finish what is on the dinner plate
– Expose child to food in various, non-threatening ways, i.e. retrieve ingredients at the store and in the kitchen, allow help with preparation, stirring, looking, and simply being near. Praise for all of  these activities.
– Allow child preferred textures to encourage eating
– Introduce non-preferred textures within foods that offer preferred textures and taste, i.e. place one cheerio inside yogurt if your child prefers creamy over crunchy

Screen Shot 2017-05-07 at 3.38.06 PM.png              *  Understanding Sensory Processing Issues
             * Sensory Processing Issues: What You’re Seeing
             * 5 Tough Situations for Kids With Sensory Processing Issues
             * What is SPD? Sensory Smarts

             * Quiz: Test Your Knowledge of Sensory Processing Issues

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