Depression in Children

Atypical Behavior in Young Children May Be Manifestations of Sensory Processing Disorder

Does your child exhibit behavior that suggests he has additional or special needs?

For parents seeking out help for kids with ADD in Draper, Utah, it is important to understand manifestations of sensory processing and sensory modulation disorders. Unlike autism and ADHD/ADD, sensory processing disorder is not included in the DSM-5, which developmental specialists use as a guide for diagnosis of childhood disorders.

While sensory issues may manifest in children with autism spectrum disorder and ADHD/ADD, some children are misdiagnosed. Instead, atypical behavior may be due to the brain’ experiencing difficulty connecting the dots with sensory information as the foundation.

Understanding sensory processing and regulation disorders

Some children have difficulty detecting, regulating, and analyzing sensations from the environment and from their own bodies. When certain parts of the brain have trouble receiving and interpreting relevant information, various atypical behaviors arise. Sensory processing disorder (SPD) is a complex condition. Your child may be showing the symptoms, but how can you be sure and what type of intervention is helpful?

When a child misinterprets sensory information from the body and environment, he or she may become overwhelmed. Not being able to make sense of sensations, such as touch, movement, and sound, affects concentration and learning. Moreover, a child with a sensory processing issue may have difficulty organizing the information for future use.

If we cannot function in what is referred to as the “optimal band” of regulation, we can withdraw from the experience of daily living or we can come out as impulsive, hyperactive, and difficult to reason with.

Common manifestations of the difficulty to make sense of information

Does your toddler keep crashing into walls and people? Some young children have no problem learning to walk, but when they need to go downstairs, they suddenly freak out. Eating something with an unfamiliar texture might cause an hour-long tantrum. When you place them in another room to play, you need to deal with a complete meltdown.

These are some of the manifestations of sensory processing and modulation disorders reported by parents and observed by early intervention workers. Some children are unaware of the position of their body in space and you label them clumsy because they keep bumping into things. Some children cannot adapt to change as quickly and efficiently as other kids their age, and so adding something new to their daily routine becomes too overwhelming for them.

One cannot imagine how a child with sensory processing disorder feels like, and how he or she sees the world. However, we need to accept that it may be vastly different from our own experience.

When you observe behaviors described above or other manifestations of difficulty processing information from the senses, it is important to look for appropriate help. Good and timely intervention is key to a positive change. However, intervention must be specific and relevant. Treatment is helpful only when it addresses the causes of the behavior. Perhaps, this is a good time to look for a professional in your area and set a needs assessment appointment for your child.