Neurodiversity is a relatively new word in the mental health field. It crystallizes an awareness of diversity among the many spheres of perception and functioning that exist in the central nervous system. For example, everyone possesses unique strengths and weaknesses when it comes to their senses. Our senses exist to take in information from the world around us and make sense of it. Sensory integration and sensory processing are labels to describe how we receive and perceive sensory input through sight, sound, touch, taste, smell, movement and balance, body position and muscle control.
Parents often notice subtle excesses or sensitivities in their child; while they are often difficult to describe and can fly under the radar, they often manifest in relation to peers. When there is a problem with developmental milestones, one should take notice. Early intervention is key. The sooner a child can begin to learn and solidify sensory skills, the better adjusted they will be in social and academic settings; this can persist through adulthood.
If ignored, the consequences can become problematic. Interactions with peers and family can devolve, daily functioning can become challenging if not overwhelming, behavioral challenges can become burdensome, and the child’s ability to perceive and regulating emotions can become puzzling and distressing. This can ultimately result in a poor sense of self and huge complications when it comes to learning, particularly in a classroom environment.
It is easy to forget what it was like when you were a kid. Kids can be very mean and can do a lot of damage if gone unnoticed for a long time. Because one’s peers can be a tough crowd, it is important to validate your child’s concerns and feelings. Encourage your child to disclose to you when they feel a concern – especially if the concern is with themselves.
Occupational Therapy is widely use to help assess and treat individuals suffering from Sensory Integration Dysfunction and Sensory Processing Disorders. The main targets of therapy are helping a child regulate sensory input much more effectively, maintaining strong levels of functioning, and establishing any accommodations necessary for insufficiencies experienced.
Park Ridge Psychological Services welcomes Laura O’Brien as our new occupational therapist. She is certified in sensory integration and yoga for children with special needs. If you feel that your child may be struggling with a sensory processing disorder, feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or to make an appointment for a consultation.
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