How Sensory Processing Issues Affect Kids in School?

Meanwhile, undersensitive kids want to seek out more sensory stimulation. They may:

 

  • Have a constant need to touch people or textures, even when it’s not socially acceptable
  • Not understand personal space even when kids the same age are old enough to understand it
  • Have an extremely high tolerance for pain
  • Not understand their own strength
  • Be very fidgety and unable to sit still
  • Love jumping, bumping and crashing activities
  • Enjoy deep pressure like tight bear hugs
  • Crave fast, spinning and/or intense movement
  • Love being tossed in the air and jumping on furniture and trampolines.

You can see that these behaviors could be confused with the grade-schoolers who are undersensitive may display “negative behaviors” including what looks like hyperactivity, when in fact they’re seeking input. And in fact many of the behaviors of kids with sensory problems overlap with symptoms of ADHD, from trouble sitting still or concentrating to melting down when they are expected to make a transition from one activity (especially one they are enjoying) to another.

This is one reason it’s important that kids not be diagnosed with ADHD after a cursory visit to the pediatrician’s office, without careful use of interviews and rating scales to get a detailed picture of his behavior. Some kids with ADHD also have sensory issues.

2009 study found that 1 in every 6 children has sensory issues that make it hard to learn and function in school. While sensory processing issues are often seen in autistic children, they can also be found in those with ADHD, OCD and other developmental delays—or with no other diagnosis at all.

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