Sensory Processing Disorders have been often misdiagnosed as clumsy, ADD, troubled, or ADHD. Finally, after many years of educating practitioners, parents, and educators, children are properly diagnosed with sensory processing disorders.
There are various types of Sensory Processing Disorders.
Type One is a Sensory Defensive Child
When a child receives too much information from their environment, it causes an overwhelming response. Their brain is unable to process this information and therefore cannot make an appropriate response. This child will appear to be sensitive toward movements, smells, light noises, and touch. They do not like to be startled. When they do get overwhelmed they appear to have a meltdown. They do not like the feel of certain clothing, getting messy playing on playground equipment, and are usually picky eaters.
For these children, it is important to work on desensitization techniques to help them improve their tolerance to textures. Through physical exercise, games, and play children are able to improve their tolerance to various textures. As they improve their tolerance to textures, they are then able to try other areas such as obstacle courses that will eventually build up their balance and coordination to allow them to play with others on the playground.
The Second Child is the Sensory Seeker:
This child will be constantly moving and fidgeting. They lack impulse control and will often be disruptive in class. When walking down the hallway, this child will be bumping into the wall, touch everything, and will stand too close to the child in front of them.
When working with a child who is a sensory seeker, the key is heavy work. We have them complete various exercises to help connect their body and brain. I will have a child push a heavy ball through a tunnel, frog jump, wheelbarrow walk, then use a scooter board and repeat this 4 times. Once they have completed this routine, I will then complete a visual and fine motor activity. This helps their brain and body connect.
For parents and educators who have a difficult time understanding this, I try to give an example of if you ever had your foot fall asleep and you tried to walk on it. Imagine if I asked you to learn a complicated dance?
Children with Sensory Processing Disorders are walking around with misinformation from their brain and body connection that makes simple tasks quite difficult. By using sensory tools we are able to help make that brain-body connection work allowing them to better understand their environment making it easier for them to learn.