Sensory Issues and Sensory Processing Disorders
Sensory sensitivity is the ability to perceive all of a person’s sensory components: taste, touch, sight, hearing, and even pain. All people have differing levels of sensitivity and therefore have different ways of expressing and responding to their individual sensory qualities. What exactly is sensory sensitivity?
Sensory sensitivity is divided into two main categories based on how it manifests itself in the individual. The first category is extremely sensitive or highly sensual. Highly sensitive children tend to be extremely active, and are very self-active and sensitive to their environments. They tend to have extremely strong reactions to loud noises, extreme heat, cold, and many other things that are normally not problematic for most children.
The second category is less sensitive. This is the middle group of sensory sensitivity. These children may have strong reactions to their environment, but not so strong reactions to their individual components such as sight, touch, or taste. They may not be easily affected by outside stimulation, but they still demonstrate very strong reactions to many different things.
So how can you tell if your child has sensory sensitivity? You can ask them about their reaction to certain things, but you can also test them for your own personal observations. When you are testing them, you want to focus on their reactions to specific colors, textures, tastes, smells, and sounds. Here are some ways you can do that.
– Choose similar colored clothing. – Dress your child in the same color or pattern as your family. – Listen to the sounds around your home. If one of your family members has very sensitive sensory qualities, chances are your child will be as well. – Ask them to close their eyes while you hold a bright object in front of them.
– Another way to find out if your child has sensory sensitivity is to ask him or her to complete a task, such as biting an object, without using any distracting techniques to distract them. – Some children tend to be highly sensitive to sounds, whether it is a baby crying or a grownup talking. Adults with highly sensitive sensory qualities have a difficult time trying to avoid the sound of television commercials. Adults with a strong need to be around loud noises also tend to have problems hearing what is being said around them.
Most sensory issues can be remedied through exposure to similar objects, similar colors, and even similar sounds. There are many sensory checklists designed to help people learn more about their own sensory issues. There are many websites devoted to offering sensory awareness checklists, or you can go to your local library and check out some books on sensory awareness. It may take you some time to understand everything that is on your sensory list, and you will probably have to go back and make changes to your lifestyle if you don’t get this information consistently. A good book on the subject should be fairly inexpensive, and it should contain a large amount of information.
If you feel that you are curious but you aren’t sure what your specific sensory issues are, check out your sensitivity rating. People with higher ratings have more issues with specific senses. You can usually find these ratings on various websites online, including websites dedicated to collecting sensory information. Be aware of anything that might make your sensory processing more sensitive, and try to work through this information.
If you have trouble understanding or recognizing your sensory input, keep a journal of what you are doing, when you are doing it, and what you are feeling at the time. This will help you keep track of changes in your life that might be causing you to have more or less sensory input. If you feel like your sensory processing has been changed, talk to your doctor about it. There are medications available for some types of sensory processing disorders, and if you can’t get any relief from prescription medicine, you can try natural supplements or herbs. However, you will probably have to try many different herbs before you find one that you will feel comfortable with.
There are also many support groups for those who have sensory problems, both online and offline. Join a group that specializes in sensory processing and find others who share your particular interest. Keep in mind that people with sensory processing problems have difficulties just like everyone else who is dealing with sensitivities, and they are just as likely to want to talk about their experiences and problems as anyone else. This is one of the best places to get help with your sensory issues.
If you need a diagnosis, check with a doctor first, but see if you can get a referral to someone who can work with you. You may need to go to a therapist to find out what is causing your sensitivities and find ways of coping with them. Many times, a doctor will recommend therapy to help patients with these issues. However, if your issues are causing you great stress and anxiety, and you don’t really want to take that step, there are many things you can do yourself, at home, to deal with these issues. Keeping a journal of your feelings and what you are doing to cope with them will give you a great idea of how to help yourself, and give you the confidence to seek out help if you need it.