Sensory Processing Difficulties
Sensory processing is a neurological process that enables a person to accurately perceive, interpret and respond to sensation from the body and environment. It is the process whereby the brain receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate motor or behavioural responses. It is a sign of neurological maturity and is necessary to support a child's development of higher level skills as the demands of the environment increase.
The neurological system is immature in children with sensory processing difficulties. Depending on the severity, a child's responses to environmental demands may remain at a survival level of development, i.e. hypervigilance or fight or flight responses. This is often seen in children with auditory or tactile sensitivites. If sensory integration fails to develop, children will remain tethered to earlier states of development, under the influence of primitive reflexes rather than developing more mature responses. Children may experience:
- Poor attention and listening skills
- Pooly developed postural control, ocular skills and balance
- Poor coordination affecting fine and gross motor skills
- Disruptive behaviour
- Difficulty achieving academic success
How can I help?
I can offer a variety of different approaches, depending on your child's assessed needs. This includes:
- Parent education- teaching you about sensory processing difficulties and neurologicl development to help you better understand your child's difficulties.
- Movement based therapies that help develop the senses and the areas of the brain responsible for sensory integration. This includes rhythmic movement therapy and sensory integration therapy
- Working with you to develop an individualised sensory diet to help manage issues like meltdowns, sleep problems, poor attention skills, difficulty sitting still etc.
- Advising you about equipment to purchase that will help your child manage their sensory difficulties at home and school.
- Working with your child 1:1 to teach them self-regulation strategies to manage their anxiety, emotions and behaviour.
- Advice about how to manage a child's environment, routines and ability to cope with transitions and change. This includes use of social stories, visual aids etc
These are some of the common difficulties but the list isn’t exhaustive. Please get in touch below if your child demonstrates difficulty and you’re unsure if it could be a sensory processing problem.