Red Flags for Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)
October is Sensory Processing Disorder Awareness Month. Each Tuesday in October, we will share some of the “red flags” of SPD.
Many parents of children with sensory processing difficulties report feeling that something was “off” with their child, but they were unable to identify the source. The following list includes some of the red flags we as occupational therapists look for when evaluating a child for sensory dysfunction. If you are concerned about your child’s development and ability to process sensory input, speak with your pediatrician, or give us a call at the Center to discuss the potential need for an evaluation.
Signs of Visual Dysfunction
Please note, that as with auditory dysfunction, any issues you observe with your child’s visual functioning should be screened by a pediatrician or eye care professional to rule out visual impairments. A child who is over responsive to visual input may attempt to shield his eyes from lights or become overwhelmed by a visually busy environment. Under responsive children may appear to ignore visual stimuli or have a hard time locating an object in a group of other objects.
Does your child:
- Seem more sensitive to bright or fluorescent lights than other children?
- Become easily distracted by visual stimuli, such as decorations hanging in a room, movement out a window, etc.?
- Rub his eyes or have watery eyes after reading or watching TV?
- Have difficulty finding an object in a group, such as finding a particular toy from a toy box?
- Frequently lose his place when reading or copying written work?
- Write with inconsistent sizing and placement of letters, more than other children in his grade?
Signs of Olfactory Dysfunction
The olfactory system is our sense of smell. This system plays an important role in safety, such as the noticing the smell of spoiled food, and can have a significant impact on a child’s ability to focus and participate in a variety of environments.
Does your child:
- React negatively to smells not noticed by other children?
- Frequently talk about how other people smell?
- Become bothered by household smells, such as cleaning products or cooking smells?
- Fail to notice unpleasant odors?
- Use smell to interact with objects or people?
Last Week: The Auditory System