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Sensory integration disorders in children

  • What is a sensory integration disorder

    Each day we learn from or react to sensory information such as:

    • touch
    • movement
    • taste
    • sight
    • sound
    • gravity
    • body awareness

    Our ability to understand this information helps us participate in the world around us. That understanding is called sensory integration. It's crucial to our ability to learn about ourselves and our environment. It enables us to succeed in school or work, and interact with others.

    Some children have difficulty interpreting and filtering sensory information. For example, they may be unable to distinguish important sounds from unimportant sounds. They may hear the television and their parent speaking all at the same volume. They are unable to pay attention to what their parent is saying because the television is “too loud.”

    What are the signs of a sensory integration disorder?

    Signs to watch for include:

    • under- or over-sensitivity to touch, tastes, textures, movement, sounds and sights
    • easy distraction
    • physical clumsiness
    • delay in achieving developmental milestones
    • social, behavioral and emotional difficulties
    • poor self-control
    • unusually high or low activity levels
    • difficulty in school

    How Courage Kenny Kids therapists can help

    At Courage Kenny Kids, an occupational therapist can evaluate your child’s ability to process sensory information. The evaluation includes information you provide about your child’s reactions to dressing, eating, grooming, sleeping, touch, movement and social interactions. The therapist will decide how to help your child based on the results of the evaluation.

    FingerpaintingTherapists will plan play activities to help your child gain skills, such as tolerating a variety of sensations,  playing and manipulating toys, following 2-3 step directions, dressing independently, taking turns and sharing, learning to cope with disappointment or failure, and improving ability to pay attention.

    What can I do at home?

    Learn more about sensory integration. Follow through on the evaluation recommended by your doctor. Observe how your child is reacting to different sensations. This important information can be shared with your therapist and will help determine your child’s treatment plan.

    The therapist will recommend other activities you can do at home to help your child after the evaluation is completed.

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  • Source: Courage Kenny Kids
    Reviewed by: Sara Rohde, OTR/L, manager, Courage Kenny Kids
    First published: 03/18/2015
    Last reviewed: 03/16/2015