Helping the child with sensory behaviours

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A common NDIS goal with children (and adolescents) is learning how to manage their sensory behaviours. This is often described as self-regulation. Just as we can learn how to manage “big feelings”, we can also learn to manage our senses, especially when they have the potential to overwhelm us at times.

What are examples of sensory behaviours?

Children who have sensory behaviours may have an aversion to anything that triggers their senses, such as light, sound, touch, taste, or smell. Similarly, they may also seek out more of a sensation which may cause concerns of a different nature. And then there are children who have a mixed profile…a bit of both…

Some examples of sensory aversions which can be challenging:

  • Sensitivity to noise (e.g. distress at certain sounds or volume)
  • Low pain threshold
  • Fussy eater (e.g. won’t eat certain textures)
  • Needing clothing tags cut off as they feel scratchy

Some examples of sensory seeking behaviours which may become challenges:

  • Seeking out water or sand play too often (e.g. think sinks being flooded at home!)
  • Seeking out skin to skin contact with others (when we may not know the person)
  • Chewing on non-food items such as clothing, toys and other objects
  • Becoming overly fascinated with how things look (e.g. spinning fan blades)

Lots of children with developmental disability and delay have sensory behaviours. Parents and teachers will become concerned when sensory behaviours start to impact on learning, socialisation and play.

The link below provides a more detailed explanation about sensory processing difficulties and the links to behaviours:

https://childmind.org/article/sensory-processing-issues-explained/

How do we help children manage their sensory needs?

Occupational Therapists (OT) are typically the therapy folk who can help children here. OTs are able to work directly with children, families and schools to come up with strategies to help children manage their needs better.

How do you find an OT to work with your child? That’s where the team at Kid Connect comes in. We can help you find your OT – whether you are looking for someone to see at their office, in your home or to see your child at school.

For more information about our services please call Miika on 0421 012 956.

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