Sensory processing disorder (SPD) looks different in every child it affects. So, how do you tell if your child has sensory processing disorder? There are several key symptoms to be aware of as your child is progressing in early childhood development.
If you are new to sensory processing disorder, it is important to note that it is a condition that affects the nervous system and impacts how individuals experience sensory input. It is common for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to also have issues with sensory integration or sensory processing disorder. If a child experiences sensory issues, they may be either hyposensitive (decreased sensitivity) or hypersensitive (heightened sensitivity) to sensory input. A child may experience issues with different visuals, smells, tastes, touches/textures, or sound. Sensory processing disorder can also affect one, all, or just some of these senses.
What are signs of sensory processing disorder?
Keep in mind that sensory processing disorder can look different in every child, so not every child will exhibit the same symptoms.
Tactile sensitivity/defensiveness: If a child with SPD has tactile sensitivity, they are extremely sensitive to touch and texture. Even a tag on clothing can be extremely distracting; even painful for a child. This may also mean that they do not enjoy being hugged or touched by others.
Sensory-seeking behaviors: If a child is hyposensitive to sensory input, they may exhibit behaviors to seek out sensory issues, as they are looking for more sensory input. These types of behaviors can vary, from chewing on their clothing to running into walls or other objects.
Lack of coordination: Many children with SPD appear to lack coordination or be more clumsy than the typical child.
Sensitivity to visual input: Children with sensory issues may be highly sensitive to visual input, such as bright lighting. If a child is exposed to a room with extreme sunlight, for example, they may become overstimulated or begin to experience a meltdown.
Sensitivity to food: Some children with sensory processing disorder may fall into the category of a “problem feeder.” This sensitivity to new foods is more than just being a picky eater, as they may gag when exposed to certain foods. They may be sensitive to the look, taste, smell, or texture of certain foods.
If your child experiences sensory issues, a therapeutic preschool program may provide the additional support that they need in their development. A therapeutic preschool program will typically focus on key developmental skills, such as behavior, cognition, speech and language, and more! Contact CST Academy by clicking the purple button below or calling 773-620-7800 to learn more about our wide range of services for kids in Chicago.