What is Sensory Integration Disorder?

By JustMommies staff

Children with Sensory Integration Disorder have problems interpreting things they hear, see, smell, or touch. Sensory Integration Disorder occurs in the brains of children. The nervous system works by interpretting signals sent from the body through the nerves to the brain. These signals tell the brain to see, hear, smell, or feel. Children with Sensory Integration Disorder do not process these signals correctly. For example, they might process sounds very intensely and therefore startle easily. They may have problems with over sensitivity or under sensitivity to things they taste, feel, smell, see, or hear. Sensory issues are common in children with autism or ADHD. Symptoms of Sensory Integration Disorder Hypersensitivity Hyposensitivity Taste Extremely picky eater (may limit food choices to only two or three foods) May gag on textured foods or may still be eating pureed baby food after he is two years old Has difficulty chewing or swallowing May be extremely picky about what temperature his food or drinks are Refuses to brush teeth or allow parent to brush his teeth Prefers bland foods May try to eat inedible objects Prefers foods with very strong tastes Excessive drooling Chews or sucks on things constantly (such as thumb sucking, chewing on pen caps or shirt collars) Doesn’t distinguish tastes, may act like all foods taste the same Smell Reacts to smells that other people may not even notice May not like the smell of perfume or cleaning supplies May not like certain people because of the way they smell May not notice unpleasant odors Has difficulty distinguishing smells. May not be able to tell what something is based on how it smells. Hearing May get distracted by background noises (such as lawnmower outside, washer and dryers running, etc) Doesn’t like to hear loud talking, music, or people singing Startles or covers ears with loud noises or cries when he hears unexpected sounds May get anxious with certain sounds such as hair dryer, vacuum, engine starting May not respond when name is called Enjoys making lots of noise, such as banging things together Likes to listen to loud music or television Tunes out sounds (for example, may be oblivious to dog barking or crying baby) Can not distinguish where sounds are coming from. (For example, may not be able to find the telephone when ringing) Vision Sensitivity to lights Easily distracted by toys and moving objects Rubs his eyes frequently Avoids eye contact May be vision impaired or have poor vision Has difficulty with learning letters and numbers or may get letters confused Has difficulty distinguishing differences in size and proportion May have problems doing puzzles, cutting, or sorting Bumps into objects or misses steps when walking down stairs or on curbs Touch and Movement Startles or cries when touched or tapped unexpectedly Does not like to be cuddled and held closely Does not like to have diaper changed or clothes changed Complains about brushing hair Picky about what clothes he wears (may complain about tags or textures) May not like water or messy play May wipe hands or wash hands excessively (doesn’t like dirty or sticky hands) May refuse to walk on certain surfaces without shoes Excessively anxious about having fingernails cut or hair cuts Does not like swinging movement (avoids swings, slides, and other moving playground equipment) Fearful of elevators and heights Does not like going up or down stairs Clumsy and loses balance easily May not notice being bumped into Does not respond to falling down or getting hurt, rarely cries when injured May not notice food left on face Likes messy play Likes to spin or rock (may spin around in circles and not get dizzy) Likes to jump on furniture or beds