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School Readiness and Signs that Your Child May Have Sensory Issues

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Aiden’s father teared up as he talked about his son’s progress in dealing with Sensory Processing Disorder. At nine years old, Aiden is just beginning to read, but his dad feels he is going to have a breakthrough this year.  See his video.

Children with sensory issues often have developmental delays and sadly, misdiagnosis is common, as healthcare professionals are not trained to recognize sensory issues.

Sensory processing refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into responses. For those with Sensory Processing Disorder, sensory information goes into the brain but does not get organized into appropriate responses.

One person with SPD may over-respond to sensation and find clothing, physical contact, light, sound, food, or other sensory input to be unbearable. Another might under-respond and show little or no reaction to stimulation, even pain or extreme hot and cold. In children whose sensory processing of messages from the muscles and joints is impaired, posture and motor skills can be affected. Still other children exhibit an appetite for sensation that is in perpetual overdrive. These kids often are misdiagnosed – and inappropriately medicated – for ADHD.

starpenSensory issues can cause:

·      poor academic performance

·      fidgety behavior or poor concentration

·      trouble playing with others

·      clumsy, awkward motor skills

·      trouble with handwriting

·      trouble with loud sounds or being touched

·      speech, language and communication issues

·      eating problems at school

·      behavior problems

 Children who are under or over-processing stimuli may appear ADHD or autistic. Perhaps a second opinion should be sought before a child is put on medication when Occupational Therapy may be the answer, especially if you are having doubts about a diagnosis or a child is not improving.

 What occupational therapy does for kids with SPD is to help both the child and the family learn strategies and tools to help the child at home and at school.

The STAR Center provides Occupational Therapy with the goal of fostering appropriate responses to sensation in an active, meaningful and fun way so the child is able to behave in a more functional manner. Over time, the appropriate responses generalize to the environment beyond the clinic including home, school, and the larger community. Effective occupational therapy thus enables children with SPD to take part in the normal activities of childhood, such as playing with friends, enjoying school, eating, dressing, and sleeping.

Ideally, occupational therapy for SPD is family-centered. Parents are involved and work with the therapist to learn more about their child’s sensory challenges and methods for engaging in therapeutic activities (sometimes called a “sensory diet)” at home and elsewhere. The child’s therapist may provide ideas to teachers and others outside the family who interact regularly with the child. Families have the opportunity to communicate their own priorities for treatment.

Treatment for Sensory Processing Disorder helps parents and others who live and work with sensational children to understand that Sensory Processing Disorder is real, even though it is “hidden.” With this assurance, they become better advocates for their child at school and within the community, and their child can be ready for school and academically successful.

STAR Center is pleased to announce that Open Playground time now has extended hours. The STAR Center provides its privately-fenced, 13,000-square-foot playground for the community-at-large to use free of charge. Come experience our wondrous sensory playground on Tuesdays and Thursdays through November, from 12:00pm to 5:00pm.  The World’s Best Sensory playground offers children a chance to play, learn and socialize in a unique setting that is safe and fun. While we use the playground to help kids with sensory processing challenges, it offers unique equipment that all children enjoy including a large sandbox, slides and climbing opportunities. | 303.221.7827 | 5420 S. Quebec St. #103 | Greenwood Village, CO 80111

starctrMile High Mamas is proud to partner with the STAR (Sensory Therapies And Research) Center, which is the premier treatment and research center for children and families impacted by sensory processing and feeding disorders, ADHD, autism and other developmental disorders.

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  • comment avatar Lana September 8, 2014

    Interesting fact. My son couldn’t sit still in class and was disruptive. He was often distracted and didn’t pay attention to what the teacher was saying so they thought he had ADHD.

    Turns out, he had sensory processing issues. Some kids seem to have trouble handling the information their senses take in and it is misdiagnosed.

  • comment avatar Stacey B September 8, 2014

    Is there such thing as being undersenstive. My child constantly needs to touch people or textures, even when it’s not socially acceptable. He really doesn’t get personal space even when kids the same age are old enough to understand it. And he’s has an extremely high tolerance for pain.

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