If you have noticed changes in your child’s ability to process information, this might be a sign that they are struggling with sensory processing symptoms. While this is certainly a challenge for people of any age, children typically encounter this disorder early on in their lives and must find ways to navigate and overcome these difficulties.
Sensory processing difficulties can be a hidden symptom of a greater diagnosis — such as autism, ADHD, or anxiety, meaning it is hard for even professional psychiatrists to spot. As a parent, you know your child best! If you notice them having sensory processing struggles, trust your gut and dial in.
Sensory Processing Symptoms Explained
What exactly are sensory processing symptoms? Sensory processing difficulties often result in trouble processing senses such as touch, light, and sound. Frustration and frequent mood swings are also common in those that struggle, which can result in even more discomfort. If your child reacts abruptly to a change in sense or environment, they might be suffering from sensory processing symptoms.
Our bodies process information in two main internal ways. In addition to the five senses we all know and love, there are also hyposensetive and hypersensitive individuals. Hyposensetive individuals are not bothered by changes in the environment and can easily process abrupt disruption. Loud noises, exercise, sweating, changes in the environment, and temperature differences leave them unbothered. They also enjoy running and jumping with friends and family and don’t need to sit still in order to be calm. (1)
Hypersensitive individuals, on the other hand, are very influenced by changes in their environment. Sensory stimulation can be extremely disruptive to their well-being and it might be difficult to come back down from excitement. These individuals thrive in quiet, well-kept, calm, environments.
Common Signs Your Child May Have Sensory Processing Symptoms
There are a few typical signs you can look out for when evaluating whether or not your child has trouble with sensory processing. For example, you might notice your child reacting poorly to bright lights, scratchy clothing, loud noises, food textures, being touched, or changes in weather. If your child also avoids physical touch such as hugs, handshakes, or fist-bumps, this can also be a sign of sensory processing symptoms. (2)
Do Children With Sensory Processing Symptoms Always Have Autism?
Children can have sensory processing symptoms without having autism. However, the two conditions often go hand-in-hand, which is why they get confused with one another sometimes! Typically, autistic individuals will experience sensory processing issues and become easily upset by a sudden change. Others still struggle with feeling agitated by changes but do not fall on the autism spectrum.
Will My Child Outgrow Their Sensory Processing Symptoms?
The good news is, children often grow out of sensory processing symptoms. As they grow older, it will become easier to navigate changes in feeling and environment. Even if these symptoms do not disappear completely, they are often much milder and lessen year over year. Working with your child on coping mechanisms can be a great way to help support them as a parent! (3)
Contacting a Professional
If you are looking for more resources to help support your child through disorders of any kind, know that you are not alone. Contact Neurobehavioral Associates today and get the support your family needs.
- Sensory Processing Issues Explained – Child Mind Institute
- What Is Sensory Processing Disorder – STAR Institute
- Understanding Sensory Processing Issues – Understood