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What are Sensory Processing Disorders?
Ever felt a little overwhelmed when multiple people are talking to you at the same time, bright lights are flashing, or there is a strong smell in the room? Kids and adults with sensory processing disorders experience this overwhelmed feeling every day, and it can make it difficult to navigate through daily life. For children, it can lead to behavior issues, poor performance in school, playing extra rough with other kids, or clumsiness. If this sounds like your child, they may be experiencing a sensory processing disorder. Keep reading to learn more about sensory processing disorders, how you can help your child, and the best product that will help them stay calm and focused in the classroom.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorders?
Sensory processing disorder (SPD) is a condition that affects how your brain processes sensory information (stimuli). Sensory information includes things you see, hear, smell, taste, or touch. SPD can affect all of your senses or just one. SPD usually means you’re overly sensitive to stimuli that other people are not. But the disorder can cause the opposite effect, too. In these cases, it takes more stimuli to impact you. ( source)
Sensory seekers and sensory avoiders will have different symptoms from each other. For example, sensory seekers may enjoy seeking thrills, such as jumping off of a tall platform at the playground, while sensory avoiders might not like to go to the playground at all.
Sensory Processing Disorders and Other Co-Occurring Disorders
Sensory processing disorder (SPD) is not autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but the two disorders can look similar. Sensory issues are often a symptom of ASD. However, many kids with SPD do not have ASD (or any other diagnosis). ( source)
Also, Up to 60 percent of children with ADHD suffer from symptoms of SPD. Lucy Jane Miller, Ph.D., director of the Sensory Processing Treatment and Research Center in Denver, Colorado, has found that “more than half of children suspected to have ADHD had SPD or both conditions.” ( source)
Examine their symptoms side by side, and you’ll see some striking parallels and notable disparities. ADHD and SPD share fidgetiness and inattention in common. The big difference: If you remove the sensory overload of an itchy tag or a humming fluorescent bulb, a person with SPD will change her behavior appropriately. The person with ADHD does not. When ADHD and SPD do co-exist, it’s important to distinguish one from the other because their treatments are different.
Sensory Seeking vs Sensory Avoiding
Symptoms of sensory seekers include:
- Difficulty sitting still
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loves to jump, spin, and run fast
- Doesn’t get dizzy easily
- Chews on everything, including their clothes, nails, hands, and more
- Enjoys bright lights, screen time, and other electronics
- Is unaware when they are dirty
- Doesn’t pick up on social cues
Symptoms of sensory avoiders include:
- Picky about clothing textures; often complain that something they are wearing is too scratchy or itchy, do not like tags on their clothes, do not like tight clothes
- Sensitive to light and sound, especially things like fireworks or a lightning storm
- Picky eater when it comes to food textures; so much so that it can make them sick
- Poor balance and clumsiness
- Afraid to play on certain areas of the playground, especially swings
- Gets startled easily and gets very upset when startled
- Gets irritable easily and throws a lot of tantrums
- Does not like to have their hair brushed
How Can I Help My Child with Sensory Processing Disorder?
If your child is suffering from a sensory processing disorder, there are some things you can do to make them more comfortable at home. These include:
- Recognize what your child is seeking or avoiding. If your child is suffering from hyperactivity, poor performance in school, or other behavioral issues related to an SPD, take a step back and see what they might be looking for (or avoiding). Then, start making notes of what calms your child.
- Redirect their energy. If you see that your child is in the midst of sensory seeking, channel their energy into something more purposeful instead of telling them to calm down. This can include giving them a quiet fidget toy, such as the SPIKE Sensory Fidget Balls, or something more active like a jump rope or hula hoop.
- Remember, it is a part of who they are! They can’t help that they need a sensory break, so don’t use one as a reward. Doing things such as, “Finish your homework, then you can go play outside,” isn’t going to make the homework happen any faster. In fact, it will be more beneficial if they played outside and got their energy out first in order to focus better on their studies.
One of the most difficult things for children (and parents of children) suffering from a sensory processing disorder to deal with is poor performance in school. It is difficult to stay focused and pay attention when they have a sensory seeking (or sensory avoiding) moment in the classroom. The best thing you can do for them is to get them a quiet, discreet way to get their sensory fix, such as SPIKE Sensory Fidget Balls!
The newest addition to our fun fidget and sensory toys is here! The SPIKE Silicone Fidget Balls are going to be your child’s new best friend. Made in an adorable pineapple-like shape and three stimulating colors, kids (and adults!) of all ages won’t be able to put them down. Easy to fit in the palm of your hand, these balls have tons of textures and ways to enjoy them. Squish, pop, float, toss, or pull—these balls will help keep focus and fulfill sensory needs. Perfect for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder, anxiety, focusing issues, ADD, ADHD, sensory processing disorders, and other attention conditions.
What’s best is that the SPIKE Silicone Fidget Balls are made of food-grade silicone, which means they are free from dangerous toxins such as BPA, Phthalates, PVC, latex, and lead. All you need to do is pop them in the dishwasher or boil them, then shake them dry, for a nice, deep clean.
Great for ages 3 and up, even the littlest member of your family will love to play with The SPIKE Silicone Fidget Balls! Whether as a bath toy or part of sensory exploration, it’s never too early to get your hands on a SPIKE Ball!
For more sensory fidget toys, parenting tips, and safe products for your whole family, visit us at innobaby.com!