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Sensory processing disorder in children is becoming more recognized among health professionals and educators. These children are often misunderstood and may be incorrectly labeled as ADD, learning disabled, slow, clumsy or naughty.
On this page, I describe some of the ways that children with sensory processing disorder may struggle at school.
Identifying their areas of difficulty is a vital first step towards helping children achieve their potential.
First make sure you have understand what sensory processing is, and what the 3 main subtypes of Sensory Processing Disorder in children are.
Then come back to read this information!
Children whose brains are not processing sensory information adequately, may experience delays in motor skills. The brain may be sending incomplete or inaccurate messages to the body and may result in various delays.
Balance and coordination skills may be poor, and this child may slump at the desk or on the floor owing to poor postural control.
Gross and fine motor skills may be below their peers, and they may take a long time to learn to use eating utensils, cut with scissors and dress themselves.
They may be clumsy and struggle to play games and interact appropriately with other children.
Sensory Processing disorder in children may manifest in poor sensory discrimination. This may lead to delays in
In the absence of a diagnosed hearing loss, auditory perception delays may result in (among other things) a child struggling to remember what was said, confusing similar-sounding words, and struggling to hear the teacher’s voice over the background noise in the classroom.
In the absence of a diagnosed loss of vision, visual perception delays may result in (among other things) a child struggling to copy words from the blackboard, losing his place when reading, confusing similar looking words and letters (eg b, p, d) and battling to do jigsaw puzzles.
This child may also find it hard to do regular classroom worksheets such as mazes, wordsearches and spot-the-differences.
Poor tactile perception can cause a child to be clumsy with the use of his hands, perhaps breaking things owing to squeezing too hard, or dropping things because of not holding them firmly enough.
Tactile perception delays can make fine motor tasks such as fine craft work and handwriting more difficult, and the child may not be able to identify an object by feel instead of by sight.
Remember, we all have bad days and meltdowns, and clumsy moments, but when a pattern of poor responses is present, and a child's daily functioning is affected, then it is time to seek help.
Occupational Therapy is recommended as the first line of diagnosis and intervention. Ask your therapist for activities you can do at home with your child - this is often called a Sensory Diet and can help your child to learn to process sensory information more adequately in order to get a more functional response. Your OT will design a sensory diet that is specific to your child's unique needs.
I really recommend that parents and teachers read at least one of the fantastic books on sensory processing disorder in children that are available.
You can also check out my Sensory Integration Activities that are particularly helpful for sensory modulation, as well as the pages on my site that deal with bilateral coordination, gross motor and fine motor skills.
I review a variety of books on sensory processing on this page of my site.
There are books for preteens as well as for parents, teachers and therapists!
Weighted blankets, sensory toys, and lots more to help kids with SPD!
View the full range of products at PFOT. (Honesty point: I receive a small commission to support my site when you buy items through this link!)
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