Have you wondered why a child does not want to be hugged, only wants to eat pasta and pizza or won’t get his hands and feet messy during playtime or at home?
These are just some of the symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder also known as Sensory Integration Dysfunction. I met a mum recently who spoke to me about the problems she was facing with her son. Her simple explanation to me on the condition was the signals that are supposed to reach the brain that trigger sensory information are jammed. A child with SPD is not a hundred percent in tune with his senses which creates challenges in performing everyday tasks.
SPD can affect only one of our senses, for example touch or multiple senses. It is more common in children although some have gone through adulthood without it being diagnosed.
Experts aren’t certain what causes SPD in children however it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Most of these children are equally intelligent as their peers but are just wired differently. They can be helped through Occupational Therapy and a Sensory Integration Approach.
At home, parenting can be challenging but ensuring a safe environment is paramount along with tracking your child’s behavior to ease difficult situations. Being consistent and creating routines for difficult situations can be helpful.
The school environment can also be enriched to allow a smoother transition and extra support for these children. It can be a long journey however with professional help and a targeted action plan great results can be achieved. We need to raise awareness of these children in our environment in order to support them and help them integrate in our surroundings.
To parents dealing with a child having SPD, do not despair, there are others in your situation, just remember each child is unique and each child puts a smile on our face.
PS: The picture attached to this blog is for illustrative purposes only and does not in any way indicate that the child shown suffers from SPD.