In past years, a child who fussed about how her clothes felt or refused to eat meat because she didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t like the texture was considered fussy or difficult Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and often disciplined. These children learned to hide their feelings and compensate for a condition that is now identified as Sensory Processing Disorder, also known as Sensory Integration Disorder.
I have a personal understanding of SPD because not only do I have it, but so do several of my children. The symptoms can vary from child to child and they often make it difficult to lead a normal life.
Normal preferences are pumped up in children with this condition until they are hypersensitive in one or more areas. They often are accused of over-reacting to things when, in truth, they really are experiencing something more intensely than other people would.
Certain textures can cause the Ã¢â‚¬Å“fingernails on the blackboardÃ¢â‚¬Â effect. For example, the feeling of Styrofoam makes me cringe. I just canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t handle it and so I keep a ceramic coffee cup in the car so that I can get coffee or soda when I want to.
For some children, touch is painful. The softest touch may feel like a slap on a sunburn Ã¢â‚¬â€œ especially if someone is massaging or rubbing. One of my sons wears flip flops summer and winter because shoes really make him feel like he is suffocating. He even wears sandals in the snow.
Music and other rhythmic sounds may cause irritability and make it hard for them to concentrate on what they are doing.
Certain odors and flavors can cause nausea, gagging, and other responses that might make no sense to the person with Ã¢â‚¬Å“normalÃ¢â‚¬Â responses.
A child with SPD will almost certainly be a fussy baby. While car trips might relax and soothe most babies, the child with a sensory condition may be fussier in the car. An automatic swing may produce prolonged screaming and crying in infants. Common symptoms in children of all ages are:
- Certain clothing is irritating or uncomfortable. This is most likely to happen with rough orÃ‚Â man-madeÃ‚Â fabrics.
- Certain types of touch cause restlessness or discomfort.
- The child may be overwhelmed or irritable in crowds.
- She may cover her ears or become cranky when music is playing.
- She may fight wearing shoes or clothing that makes her feel constricted.
- Your child may only want to eat certain foods and she may even gag on textures that bother her.
- Playing with clay, finger painting, or having sticky hands may be difficult and she wants to wash her hands constantly.
There are many symptoms and they can be different in every child. You are the best judge of whether or not your child is being cranky or is really hypersensitive to certain things.
If you suspect Sensory Processing Disorder, it is important to talk to a doctor who is experienced with the condition and can refer you to a specialist. With occupational therapy and understanding, the child with SPD can learn to overcome a lot of the symptoms and be more comfortable.
photo credit:Ã‚Â citril