Thursday, February 9, 2012

Be a Sensory Detective

Do any of these quirks seem familiar? You too can be a Sensory Sleuth!  My SensiGirl has 9 or 10 out of 17. I personally have 4 of these as a grown-up; the Mall of America can make me break out in a cold sweat.   Sensory Processing disorder can get in the way of a lot of learning. It's hard to pay attention in school when your body is sending you a bunch of these signals.
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The above doesn't even take into account things that send normal kids into a funk. Cutting teeth, ear and sinus infections, getting a cold or the "flu" or a growth spurt can sap one's tolerance reserves. Sometimes it's even being overtired. SensiGirl was having the hardest time with our tutor on Tuesdays. Well, our tutor's schedule changed so she couldn't come Tuesdays anymore. SensiGirl isn't as cranky on Tuesdays and Wednesdays are a bit better too. It was just too much to go to school, occupational therapy and work with her tutor all in one day. She hit her limit.

Since I have sensory issues too, it has made it a bit easier for me to figure out what is bothering SensiGirl. I notice when things are loud and echo-y and it can bother me. Smells have been a problem since I was a kid and have gotten worse since I was pregnant for the first time.  Also, I swear, I was starting  to get all jumpy and was itching to take a crack  at the mom at speech therapy who was chomping her gum while we were in the waiting area.

It doesn't take much imagination, for me, when SensiGirl is having a meltdown to figure what the triggers might be. If you don't have sensory issues yourself it can be a bit harder to figure out what your kid's deal is. I make sure to warn both my kids when I turn on the blender or the vacuum.  My husband, the Atomic Punk forgets on a regular basis and much screaming ensues during the running of appliances. I will write more in depth about sensory strategies in another post.  It is a huge subject.

Since SensiGirl has been seeing Occupational Therapist now for a few years in school and additionally outside of school for a year, I am getting better at being a Sensory Detective.  I have professional resources to bounce the incidents around with, recommend remedies and to test out her progress in a safe way. We just started to explore the Veggie Tales mystery.
Look to the environment when you are getting an outrageous behavior, because sometimes it's not a behavior so much as an involuntary reaction to sensory overload. Also check and see if your child is physically okay, an undiagnosed illness can throw anyone for a loop.

1 comment:

  1. I'd like to invite you to Voices of Sensory Processing Disorder. This is a community website where bloggers can share their experiences, victories, tips and everyday sensory challenges with others. And we want you! We’d love to share your writing.

    Please visit us at to learn more. I do hope you'll join us. Happy blogging!
    Regards, Jennifer