Posts tagged ‘toddlers’

SPD Month Series, Part 5 of 5: Visual Processing and Olfactory Processing

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.?girl with sunglasses
  • 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

 

SPD Month Series, Part 4 of 5: Auditory Processing

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 Auditory Dysfunction:

Please note that auditory problems should be screened by a pediatrician or hearing specialist, to rule out any hearing impairments. A child who is over responsive to auditory input may find typical household sounds to be overwhelming or painful. Other children are under responsive to this input and may have difficulty filtering out pertinent auditory input from background noises or appear to not hear well even though there is nothing physically impairing their hearing.

Does your child:too loud

  • Become distracted or bothered by background noise other children do not notice?
  • Show fear of typical household and community sounds, such as toilets flushing, an automatic hand dryer, vacuum or hair dryer?
  • Frequently ask people to stop talking or singing because of the noise?
  • Seem oblivious to certain sounds that other children notice?
  • Need directions repeated or frequently ask “What?”

Last Week: The Proprioceptive System

Next Week: The Visual System and Olfactory System

SPD Month Series, Part 3 of 5: Proprioceptive Processing

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 Proprioceptive Dysfunction

The proprioceptive system uses receptors in the joints and muscles throughout the body to provide information regarding body position without having to actually look at our body parts. This system also helps to grade the amount of force that is needed to pick up an egg vs. pick up a full gallon of milk. Proprioceptive input is gained during activities such as pushing, pulling, dragging, lifting, crashing, jumping, chewing and squeezing.

Does your child:

  • Have a strong internal drive for activities such as pushing, pulling, dragging, crashing, etc.?
  • Kick his feet against the floor or chair legs when seated at a table?
  • Fall to the floor intentionally?wrestle dad
  • Frequently bump into people?
  • Fail to notice when he has fallen?
  • Tend to grasp objects so tightly or loosely that it is difficult to use them?
  • Press extremely hard or very lightly on a pencil when writing?
  • Unintentionally use excessive force when playing with animals or peers, such as petting a cat too hard, or giving a hug that is painful to the other person?
  • Break toys or writing tools by pressing too hard?
  • Have a history of difficulty learning bowel and bladder control?

Last Week: The Vestibular System

Next Week: The Auditory System

SPD Month Series, Part 2 of 5: Vestibular Processing

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 Vestibular Dysfunction:

The vestibular system provides us with information regarding our head position in relation to gravity, and gives information about speed and directionality of movement. It also plays a key role in the development of hand dominance, balance, bilateral coordination, and maintaining a steady visual field. Children who are over responsive to vestibular input may be extremely fearful of movement activities and appear overly cautious during play. Children who are under responsive may be in constant movement and take excessive risks during play.

Does your child:

  • Avoid playground equipment or only use swings by lying on his stomach and pushing off the ground with his feet?
  • Dislike elevators or escalators?
  • Avoid walking on uneven surfaces, or need to watch the placement of his feet when walking on uneven ground?
  • Show fear of his head being tipped away from vertical, such as tipping his head back during hair washing?
  • Have difficulty with balance activities such as bike riding or hopping on one foot?swing jump
  • Fail to catch himself when falling?
  • Rock or constantly change position when sitting?
  • Tend to be in constant movement, more than other children his age?
  • Seem to be a “thrill seeker” and take excessive risks during play?
  • Constantly jump from furniture, spin excessively on swings or place his body in inverted positions?

Last Week: The Tactile System

Next Week: The Proprioceptive System

SPD Month Series, Part 1 of 5: Tactile Processing

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 Tactile Dysfunction

The tactile system allows us to identify what we are touching, where we are being touched and if the item is safe to touch. Some children with SPD are over responsive to tactile input. Over responsive children will notice and become bothered by tactile input long before their peers. Other children are under responsive, and will lack a typical awareness of tactile input or seek out excessive amounts of touch experiences.

Does your child:

  • Become fearful or aggressive with light or unexpected touch?
  • Avoid standing in close proximity to peers to avoid being touched?
  • Show excessive distress, compared to other children his age, to hair brushing, cutting or washing? Tooth brushing, nail trimming or other routine hygiene tasks?messy hands
  • Dislike kisses and tend to “wipe off” a kiss?
  • Refuse to wear clothing with rough textures, such as jeans, avoid belts, turtlenecks or hats, or become distressed by the seams in socks?
  • Avoid “messy play” activities, such as glue, paint, glitter, mud, etc. or frequently request to wash his hands?
  • Have difficulty adjusting clothing at a change of seasons?
  • Typically prefer to touch rather than be touched?
  • Refuse to walk barefoot on grass or sand?
  • Seem to crave touch, and needs to touch everything and everyone?
  • Not notice that his hands are dirty or his nose is running?
  • Leave clothing articles twisted and not notice?
  • Mouth objects excessively after the age of 2?
  • Have a hard time locating an object in a backpack by touch alone?

Next Week: The Vestibular System

Sleep

sleepingHow much sleep does my child need? Here are some general guidelines for the amount of sleep children should be getting.

3-6 Years Old: 10 – 12 hours per day

7-12 Years Old: 10 – 11 hours per day

12-18 Years Old: 8 – 9 hours per day

What are some signs my child is not getting enough sleep?

  • Difficulty waking in the morning.
  • Awakening in an irritable mood
  • Decreased attentiveness and alertness during the day.
  • Frequently falling asleep during the day outside of normal napping hours, or frequently falling asleep during the day after naps are no longer part of the daily routine.
  • Taking more than 30 minutes to fall asleep at night.

How can I help my child improve their sleep patterns?

  • Studies have shown that children (and adults) who watch TV, play video games or use other electronics before bed took a longer time to fall asleep than those who avoided screen time.  It’s always easier said than done, but try to avoid screen time 1-2 hours before bedtime.
  • Dim the lights.  Turn off some of the lights or use table lamps in the 30 minutes before bed.
  • Create a bedtime routine that can be completed in 30 minutes or less.  Give your child some control over the routine, such as choosing a book to read or what PJs to wear.
  • Provide calming and organizing sensory input.  Taking a bath, getting a lotion massage, or providing deep pressure via “pillow squishes” can help a child with a high arousal level transition to sleep.  To safely do pillow squishes, have your child lay on a solid but comfortable surface on their belly.  With a couch cushion, large body pillow or several smaller pillows, provide firm pressure to their back, arms and legs for the duration your child desires.  Always be sure his face is not covered and his breathing is not impeded.
  • Some children benefit from a supplement called Melatonin.  If your child is still having sleep difficulties after trying bedtime routines and sensory strategies, you may wish to discuss potential use of Melatonin with your pediatrician.