Sensory Processing

Our brain is our central computer.  It takes in information through our various senses, [our eyes, ears, mouth, tongue, nose, skin, and other body receptors,] and processes and interprets the “data.”  We know that often this “data” can be misinterpreted.  Many children with learning and attention deficits struggle with sensory processing issues. We have provided a couple of links to websites that explain.

Here are the more common forms of sensory processing difficulties and a few suggestions on how you might help your child adjust and cope with their particular sensitivity:

 Noise Sensitivity: 

Give a warning.  Tell your child what they should anticipate ahead of time, taking new experiences slowly.  Providing them earplugs might help.  You might consider white noise or comforting music to sooth and lessen the impact of concerning sounds.

Taste Sensitivity:

Monitor and log reactions to food.  Taste sensitivity can change over time and can be influenced by outside issues.  Understand the taste and smell connection.  Smell goes beyond the basics of tasting sweet, sour, salty and bitter. For a sensitive kid, texture and taste often go together.  Present a sensitive food in a different way and in different forms.  Perhaps a banana smoothie instead of a banana.

Tactile Sensitivity:

Warn your child in advance that you are going to touch them and why.  For example, if you are intending to wash their hair, discuss it upfront perhaps even reminding them of the prior times they had their hair washed.

Find new ways if necessary to demonstrate your affection.  If your kid is not a hugger, ask your child what they might suggest will work for them when you wish to show them that you love them.  Perhaps you can help your child establish and be able to verbalize their need for boundaries to friends and relatives.

Discover what might reduce their sensitivity.  Consider adding blankets, or different/softer bedding, lotion or other comforting aids. Dressing in layers and larger wearing larger sizes can help, as well.

Let your child participate in selecting clothes, towels, bedding, art supplies, and other items that they will handle or touch..

Visual Sensitivity:

Change the lighting.  Different bulbs, dimmers, and shades or glasses that can reduce glare.

Here some additional resources that may help you identify if your child may have sensory processing difficulties: