The Signs of Sensory Processing Disorder in Children – and their Solutions!

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), also known as Sensory Integration Dysfunction, is a fairly common disorder, with higher rates in children with ADHD or on the autism spectrum. This disorder makes it difficult for children to properly process input from their different senses. 

As a result, they may have trouble integrating these senses to interact with their environment. While the exact causes of SPD are unknown, research suggests it likely stems from differences in how the brain processes sensory information. 

But there’s no need to worry –  with proper support in place, children with sensory sensitivities can thrive.

Let’s take a look at common signs that a child may have sensory processing issues and highlight helpful products from Stacy’s Sensory Solutions.

Common Signs of Sensory Processing Disorder

Because sensory processing disorder affects the integration of different senses, the signs can vary greatly from child to child depending on which senses are most impacted. Here are some of the most common indicators a child may have sensory processing issues:

Extreme Sensitivities

Overly sensitive to sounds, textures, tastes, or smells that don’t bother others. For example, a child may cover their ears when the vacuum is on or refuse to touch anything slightly messy.

Under-reactive to Sensory Input

They may not respond to loud noises or may need to be touched firmly to feel tactile input. 

Difficulty with Balance and Coordination

They may appear clumsy and have trouble with activities that require balance, like riding a bike.

Easily Distracted

Sensory overload can interfere with the ability to focus, which can make a child have trouble paying attention or seem easily distracted. 

Difficulty Transitioning Between Tasks or Environments

Your child may get upset by changes in routines or transitions in daily activities, such as going from school to home. Many children struggle with transitions and routine changes, but children with sensory issues are prone to getting particularly upset because they can get overwhelmed by unexpected stimuli. 

Unusual Activity Levels

Unusually high or low activity levels are another sign your child may struggle with sensory integration. They may constantly move around or run and crash into things – in children with sensory difficulties, this is typically them seeking proprioceptive input, which is from weight and pressure. Crashing into walls or throwing themselves onto furniture can be a way to get that pressure in their muscles and joints. Or they may seem unusually sedentary, which could be an indication that they are trying to avoid sensory overload by staying within their comfort zone.

Social and Behavioral Challenges

A child’s difficulties processing sensory information can impact their behavior and emotional regulation. All children struggle with behavior and emotional regulation, but for children with sensory sensitivities, these challenges can be invisibly exacerbated by overwhelming sensory stimuli, causing them to break down or throw tantrums that seem sudden or random, but are actually due to a build up of upsetting sensory input.  

An occupational therapy evaluation is recommended if a child regularly exhibits several of these signs. An experienced pediatric occupational therapist can run tests to measure the child’s sensory processing and integration abilities. This can confirm if there are sensory issues that need to be addressed. From there they can work on finding tools and strategies to help with sensory processing and emotional regulation for your child. 

When speaking to your child’s therapist or physician, make sure you provide detailed examples of the behaviors of concern. This will help them better understand the nature of the difficulties the child is having due to poor sensory processing.

Helpful Products from Stacy’s Sensory Solutions  

Once you realize your child has sensory sensitivities, sensory tools and activities tailored to the child’s needs can be very helpful. Occupational therapy often plays a pivotal role. Even without an official SPD diagnosis, you can still use tools to help your child with any level of sensory sensitivity!  

Stacy’s Sensory Solutions offers a variety of tools and equipment to help children with sensory processing challenges. Here are a few sensory support options we have available in our online and brick-and-mortar shop.

  • Weighted blankets, vests, toys, and other items – These weighted items apply gentle pressure that can have a calming effect on many children with sensory issues. Stacy’s Sensory Solutions offers many weighted options from blankets, neck wraps, plush animals, and much more, all with different weights and fittings for children of all ages and sizes.
  • Therapy swings – Swinging motions provide strong sensory input through the vestibular system that can assist with overall integration. Therapy swings like our Heavyweight Lycra Swing provide a great place for children to get compression and vestibular input within a cozy, enclosed safe spot.
  • Chewables – Chewing helps some children focus and self-regulate emotions. Chewables provides a safe way to get pressure in your jaw as well as oral-motor input. Stacy’s Sensory Solutions has various styles, from pendants to bracelets, including our exclusive Cool Cords that are made specifically for those who like to chew on their shirt collars.
  • Visual timers and schedules – Timers and schedules with a visual component can help children manage transitions and activities. While Stacy’s offers a variety of handy interactive Time Management Charts, this solution is one that’s easily applied to your child’s life through modern applications!
  • Fidget tools – Having tools that allow fidgeting and sensory input can help children stay focused and self-regulated. Stacy’s Sensory Solutions has a wide selection that we offer in our sensory bundles that target specific areas of sensory input, plus our popular School Support Kit which is full of things hand-picked for focusing at school.
  • Sound-Reduction ear muffs – For children with sound sensitivity, these ear muffs block out overwhelming noise and let your child seamlessly transition between noisy environments. 

The products from Stacy’s Sensory Solutions are curated or custom-designed specially to provide sensory input. Our products assist with sensory integration and regulation. 

If your child struggles with sensory differences, Stacy’s Sensory Solutions provides products to support their growth and success.

Find Your Sensory Solution

Does your child shy away from certain textures, have trouble sitting still, or often seem not to hear you? Sensory sensitivities may be the reason, and also the first step for finding solutions. 

With the right supports, children with sensory issues can live full, healthy lives. 

Contact us today to learn more about our products and solutions.

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