Sensory Integration

Signs that Behavioral Problems May be Related to Sensory Processing Issues

Sensory processing disorder is a condition in which a person has difficulty processing the information that his senses sends to his brain. The condition is typically identified in children and it can cause a number of challenges. For example, a child with sensory processing disorder may:

  • Retract or pull away when touched.
  • Hide when he hears a loud noise.
  • Have a tantrum when he feels an uncomfortable texture.
  • Refuse to eat certain foods.

If a child is exhibiting behavioral challenges, these are signs that could be a result of a sensory processing disorder.

Why do children with this condition exhibit behavioral challenges? The reason is due to the fact that their brains cannot properly process the information that is sent from the senses. As a result, a child may not appropriately react to certain stimuli.

Behavioral challenges that are commonly associated with sensory processing disorder include:

  • Dramatic mood swings. A child may be extremely happy one moment, and extremely sad, frightened or enraged the next.
  • Tantrums. A child may throw a tantrum when he is exposed to a certain stimuli. For instance, a tantrum may result if a child gets wet, or wears a shirt that is made of fabric that he finds uncomfortable.
  • Recoiling when touched. Children with this condition may not like to be touched because their brain doesn’t understand how to process what they are feeling when they are touched, and recoiling is often the response.
  • Screaming. When a child hears a noise that he doesn’t like, his reaction may be to scream.

Fortunately, children who are experiencing behavioral challenges as a result of sensory processing disorder can learn how to properly handle the stimuli that causes the challenging behavior with the help of a pediatric occupational therapist.

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