Tips for parents on sensory processing disorders posted on 12-12-12 :)
Sensory processing disorders
Need to run
SPD does not fall under DSM V so pediatricians
are not aware of the problem.
According to SPD foundation
1 in 20 kids have SPD
5-10% of children have no associative diagnosis
40-80% of children have another diagnosed
Kids with SPD are just as intelligent as other kids.
Many are intellectually gifted.
(Their brains are simply wired differently)
Happens in Utero
Premature babies and carrying
Self regulation starts in early childhood
Babies depend on care givers for self regulation
Children engage in self exploration
They have problems with motor skills and other
skills needed for school success and childhood
So, they become socially isolated and suffer from
low self esteem and other social/emotional issues.
At risk for social, emotional and educational
◦ the inability to make friends or being part of a group.
◦ They are labeled as clumsy, uncooperative, out of control
◦ they have poor self concept and
◦ also have academic failure.
Anxiety, depression,aggression or other behavior
problems may follow.
Parents are often blamed for this “hidden
Preliminary research suggests that SPD is
Pre-natal exposure to chemicals, toxins, drugs,
emotional stress, problems with placenta.
Multiple births such as twins, triplets or
Post natal exposure to environmental pollutants,
insufficient stimulation, lengthy hospitalization or
placement in orphanage.
1. Under responsive
2. Over stimulation
3. Sensory seekers/cravers
Baby child adult
take a lot of input to get excited,
don’t seem to be hearing you,
doesn’t respond to name,
don’t want to try new things.
1. Sensory defensive
2. Afraid of movement
3. Auditory sensitive
4. Anxious in general
5. Fight-flight response
6. Very rigid and want to control environment
Heavy weight activities
Put lights off
Noise reducing headphones
Child can be over and under responsive on some
days and times.
Depends on the stress factors
Auditory responsive does not change day to day
but can be more or less
Child can also be over responsive in some
systems and under responsive in some others.
1. Need constant motion
2. Jumping all the time
3. Touching everything all the time
4. Bumping on the wall all the time
5. Constantly mouthing
6. Take excessive risk, no awareness of sense of
7. Difficult to take them to social situations
8. Usually turned away from school
More organizing and calming activities
Need more proprioception
Need both alerting and calming
But mostly depends on their level of activity
Need a lot of regulation
1. Dyspraxia (Motor planning difficulties)
2. Postural disorders
Low muscle tone
Poor postural control(fall off from the
Difficulty in understanding difference between b
Difficulty understanding body in space
Difficulty in knowing where the child is touched
1. Social participation
2. Self regulation (gets too hyper or withdraws from
the situation and cant get themselves to the just
right level of arousal)
3. Self esteem (kids want to participate but they
cant so self esteem goes down)
4. Motor skills (gross or fine motor )
Co-regulation is when a person feeds off of the state of
regulation of those around them. And our children are like
They sense it all and they feel the stress of others.
Even too much excitement and praise can be overwhelming and
create a state of sensory overload...so be aware of this side of
things as well. Most children do NOT do well in a rushed,
intense, loud, multi-sensory environment...even the sensory
seekers. Remember that a child is co-regulating from those
around him minute by minute.
A child with sensory differences often relies on those around
them to help "co-anchor and co-regulate" and to help achieve
and maintain a state of self-regulation.
Clinic based enriched environment
Home based environment
Just right challenge
A - Antecedent
B - Behavior
C - Consequence
Interactive metronome (can be done at 4-5yrs) -
Child listens to a headphone(computer generated
beep) and performs a motor response (whole body
Therapeutic listening (can be done by 2yrs) –Child
listens to a piece of music tailored to his needs which
would either calm him or alert him. Along with this the
child has to perform a task to work on sensory
Integrated listening systems :Visual and balance
activities that go with it while the child listens to the
They can be done on an ongoing basis
Or depends on how the child is reacting to it.
Accelerates the progress in a child with SPD
But all the music has to be individualized.
Vestibular • Fast moving and quick activities
• Rolling, swinging,running, twirling
• Ropes,tyre swings,merry go rounds,slides
• Spin on the office chair
• Sit on movable surfaces like air pillows etc
Tactile • Koosh balls
• Socks with beans,rice and other grains
• Play with shaving cream
• Vibrating toys
• Finger painting
• Visual • Bright stimulating lights
• Computer activities
• I pad activities
• Ball games
• Painting on aluminum foil
Taste and smell • sour, spicy, sweet, foods
• mixed textures
• scents - mint, menthol, citrus,
Vestibular • Slow and low activities
• Slow rocking, swinging and rhythmic walking
• Respect the child’s fear
• For car sickness give chewy tube, try ginger, give
deep pressure to the head
Tactile • Signal the child before you touch
• Give firm pressure to the head, shoulders and
fingers when cutting hair and nails
Visual • Eliminate unnecessary light
• Use natural light
• Eliminate visual distractions
• Use sun glasses
Auditory • Eliminate auditory distractions
• Use noise reducing ear phones
• Use ear plugs
• Speak in soft voice
• Use calming music
• Use ice before eating
• Eat crunchy foods
• Refrain from using air fresheners,
1. Carrying heavy weights
2. Heavy lap pads/weighted blankets
3. Pushing a very heavy trolley
4. Sweeping the floor
6. Deep hugs
7. Deep squeezes
8. Squeeze machine
9. Tug of war
10. Wear compression garments like a tight lycra vest
11. Chewing on chewy toys
Kids learn about arousal levels like how they
understand how engine runs
Kids learn to be aware of their arousal states
Also learn how to keep themselves in the optimal
state of arousal
Also explains how to self regulate by chewing onto
a hard thing, squeeze onto a koosh ball or give
themselves the necessary input.
E.g. your engine is running like Lightening
Macqueen, please make it slow etc.
Child should be able to self regulate
We all have sensory challenges but we self
regulate so it is not important to get rid of all the
sensory issues but learn to SELF REGULATE
1. Take care of joint instability, postural instability,
misaligned joints, painful joints, fragile bones, poor
protective response and diminished sensation.
2. Avoid offending sensory systems
3. Provide sensation if it helps.
4. Offer choices.
5. Avoid getting angry or using pressure.
6. Monitor tone of voice and volume of speech.
7. Catch them being good
8. Be specific and avoid using ambiguous language.
9. Gentle persuasion.
10. Be predicatable.
◦ Use schedules and reinforcers
◦ Non-punitive breaks