As parents it is our duty to be aware of all situations that may affect the development of our children, however sometimes there are factors from which we cannot protect them, but what we can do is help them cope with such situations.
There are situations that we do not know about our children and it is not until a slightly older age that we notice that there are things that we had to pay more attention to. So that this does not happen to you, we want to talk to you about some important issues that have arisen relatively recently in children.
Such is the case of sensory hypersensitivity in children, which is the exaggerated sensation of the environment that surrounds our child, caused by a dysfunction of the factors that interpret the sensations that are received by the senses. We will show you what hypersensitivity is and how to treat children with high sensitivity, in order to help them gradually overcome this disorder.
What is Sensory hypersensitivity disorder in children?
Also known as Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), it refers to the condition that produces an alteration in the way in which children process sensory information.
Taste, touch, sight and smell are part of this sensory part and one or more of these senses may be affected. The sensory disorder in children can make them very sensitive to stimuli and is what is known as sensory hypersensitivity; otherwise the disorder can make them need a more intense stimulus to feel it and this is what we call hyposensitivity.
What is hypersensitivity in children?
Sensory processing disorder is also known as sensory dysfunction or sensory integration problems. It manifests itself in the child, by generating inappropriate behaviors or an interruption in many of the basic activities that she should carry out, such as her school education, her motor skills, her social interaction or other learning processes.
This could happen due to a lack of integration in the processing of the information that comes through the child’s senses. The information received through sight, smell, taste and hearing arrives distorted and often at high levels, which makes some children visually, auditory or taste hypersensitive.
When children have difficulties processing the information they receive, they begin to have a series of reactions that are not expected. For example, they are very bothered by light, when it is not too strong, as well as sounds, which can be too loud or too low for them without really being so. Which is one of the characteristics of very sensitive children.
What are the causes of sensory hypersensitivity?
The specific causes of sensory hypersensitivity in children are still unknown. There are those who think that they are due to a genetic link that makes it hereditary, while others relate it to autism or a neurodevelopmental disorder.
On the other hand, it is thought that it can be treated as a psychological alteration. The truth is that to this day a specific cause is still being sought and it is important to highlight that although it is related to autism, there are people who are autistic and do not suffer from this sensitivity disorder.
What are the symptoms of sensory processing disorder in children?
The symptoms are usually not very marked when the sensory processing disorder is present. It will be noticed depending on the sense that is altered, which can be one or several.
The main and almost unique symptom is the discomfort and overreaction of the child to a very loud sound or a sensation that he does not like, to a bulb that generates according to him a lot of light, this in the case of hypersensitivity.
In the case of hyposensitivity, the child will want to perform actions that stimulate him more. Such as jumping from places higher than normal, swinging harder on swings, listening to music or watching TV with the too-loud sound, etc.
How to treat sensory hypersensitivity in my child?
It is possible to perform certain exercises, which are the keys to strengthening sensitive children, and thus slowly overcome their disorder.
For example, to treat tactile hypersensitivity you can gradually start exposing their touch to different textures. Increasing contact with textures such as non-toxic paint, clay, playdough, shaving foam, fabrics, and some foods. Start with several textures so that the child is free to choose the one that most appeals to him.
On the other hand, to treat auditory hypersensitivity, it is important to become aware of everyday noises. You can invite him to close his eyes and help him identify the sounds around him, making him aware of his surroundings. You can also cause sounds with him, such as the faucet, some musical sounds, gradually expose himself and identify which one is.
Likewise, you can treat taste hypersensitivity, exposing the child to different types of food, and reducing from their diet those that do not make them feel comfortable due to their taste.
Remember that it is important to raise awareness in the process of treating sensory disorders in children. You should gradually include him in these exposures, because overexposing the child could lead to some trauma. You must do the activities with him, with patience, show him that he is safe and that you can even be fun, you can even do crafts with him.